Lynne explains: “I’ve been a Marie Curie nurse for 22 years and my job didn’t always involve using technology and the internet. I’m 60 and I haven’t grown up with computers like the youngsters these days have. I find them really difficult and stressful!”
Marie Curie provide free nursing care in partnership with the NHS to people with terminal illnesses across the UK, and it’s of the utmost importance that their staff undertake regular training. Lynne explains: “We frequently have to do learning to make sure we’re up-to-date on what our job involves. Every year they update the courses and different things come out.
“Before technology you had to do the training in-person with an invigilator there. They’d ask you questions and tick them off as you were going along. Eventually, they decided to go all digital, and that’s when they brought in the computers and iPad’s. Now we have to do all the reading and answer all the questions online by ourselves.
“When it first came about, I just thought: ‘I can’t understand that!’ It all seemed so technical and I just didn’t know what they were on about. It had me in quite a panic.”
Luckily, Lynne discovered the computer classes at Stourbridge Library - part of Dudley Library Service - thanks to a friend. She explains: “I go to a cycling club and I told my friends there about my digital predicament. They suggested I go along to our local library, where the team there could help me out.
“I decided to pop down and enquire about classes. That’s when I met my lovely tutor Emma. She’s got all the time in the world for me and makes me feel really comfortable. There are no silly questions where she’s concerned. And that’s a good job where I’m concerned!”
Lynne decided to start small by asking Emma how to send an email and answer messages on her iPad, so she could respond to colleagues and patients.
Lynne says: “Emma showed me how to do some of the basics, like emailing. I also needed hard copies of my rotas and timesheets, so she showed me how to print them - just little things like that that I needed to do for work. I had no idea how to do any of it, but thanks to Emma, it’s so simple for me now. I can even add my signature to the bottom of emails!”
Once she’d mastered the basics, Lynne decided to ask Emma about the new online learning she had to do. Emma put together some courses for Lynne to help her better develop the skills that she’d need to take part in the Marie Curie online learning programme.
“Emma helped me understand how to do the online training for work,” explains Lynne. “She set up an icon on the homepage of my iPad, so that I can easily access the training wherever and whenever I need to. It’s so much more convenient than navigating around different websites and portals.
“She’s also showed me how to use online maps, like Google Maps, so that when I’m visiting new patients I can plan the route I’m going to take beforehand. I think this is so useful and, thanks to Emma’s teaching skills, I even feel confident and happy doing this on my own.”
Lynne’s continuing her learning journey with the team at Stourbridge Library, popping down whenever she has time. She says: “I’m still going to the library for lessons - when they can fit me in! It’s very busy down there, which just goes to show how many people are in the same boat as me.
“Before I went along to Stourbridge Library, my digital skills were non-existent. I’d used the laptop a little, but I didn’t really understand it. I would certainly say that my skills are better now than they were back then! Emma’s even been showing me how to set my iPad up with a printer, so I can do all my printing by myself at home.
“It’s hard for me to pinpoint one useful thing that I’ve learned because I’ve found everything useful. I’m glad I’m not left behind anymore, or burying my head in the sand about all this technology. You need it for everything these days, and it’s honestly not as hard as you might think.
“Having said that, there’s still so much more for me to learn! I want to know everything, and I won’t stop until I do. What’s more, I’d recommend anyone else to do the same.”