Digital badges for UK nurses: how to get yours

As the world moves closer to integrating technology into all facets of everyday life, some technologies undoubtedly make our working lives easier. This is where digital badges for nurses in the UK come in – offering a snapshot of the programmes, skills or credentials you’ve acquired as part of your continuing professional development (CDP) as a nurse. But what are digital nurse badges, why do you need them and how do you get them in the UK? Read on for the answers to all of these questions.

What are digital badges and why do UK nurses need them?

Digital badges contain a link to your online field-specific credentials to validate your skills and competencies. For instance, the National Health Service (NHS) stated that practitioners can get ‘advanced digital badges’ for their professional development. Like practitioners, being a nurse with a digital badge allows you to verify your educational achievements, skills, competencies and professional development across any digital platform. This is known as your metadata.

By clicking on the digital badge, a potential employer, coworker or educational organisation may view:

  • The badge image (each institution has a unique design).
  • Details of the organisation that issued the badge.
  • The issue and expiration dates of the badge.
  • The criteria needed to receive the badge.
  • A URL for academic evidence of your completed work to have received the badge (a grade, an academic record or a statement of achievement).

The metadata depends on the issuing organisation and the depths of your specific studies. However, digital badges do not confirm your scope of practice. You must provide evidence of experience, studies and continuous career development.

The benefits of digital badges for UK nurses.

While digital badges in the UK are officially recognised, they do not override other forms of certifications or experience in the nursing field. However, they help you easily ‘pitch’ yourself and carry their weight in demonstrating the advancement of your skills. A digital nurse badge also allows aspiring nurses access to more inclusive, cost-effective and diverse opportunities for further studies.

Digital badges can streamline your nursing development in many ways, including:

  1. The provision of extra credibility and employability in a competitive job market. In addition to your personal statement, digital badges can speak for you.
  2. Digital badges broaden your professional nursing horizons. By allowing yourself to venture out of the box in your skillset, you will have more chances to advance in your current role or explore new jobs in nursing.
  3. Like many intensely demanding and ever-changing fields, nursing does not shy away from being at the forefront of medical, service and system developments. Attaining a digital badge as a nurse will help you keep up with the rapid pace of the UK healthcare sector.
  4. Digital badges enhance your CV, making the nursing application process much more accessible, detailed and transparent. Any potential recruiter or employer can easily access an in-depth overview of your nursing skills.
  5. Research published in the Journal of Nurse Education in Practice suggests that having digital badges available to student nurses increases motivation and attendance. It acts as a simple yet effective reward system that both employers and candidates can enjoy.

Seeing what other people have earned can also give you an idea of what you want your next nursing digital badge to be. Whether you are looking for a change in your nursing career or if you are a student nurse, digital badges are an accredited and feasible way to give your career advancement a boost. This is especially true in remote work and online learning spaces, where digital badges and micro-credentials showcase your skills in digital literacy, remote collaboration and adaptability.

Digital badges may come with unique benefits, such as opening doors to the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) for UK nurses. The NHS Health Education England (HEE) supports this scheme with financial support for primary care networks and general practitioners (GP) practices to hire more healthcare professionals. Nurses can become top candidates for these funded roles by earning advanced digital badges.

How can nurses get their digital badges in the UK?

The NHS previously stated that medical professionals who complete the Centre for Advancing Practice accredited programme or the ePortfolio (supported) route are awarded an advanced digital badge. For UK nurses, the NHS also provides a list of recognised institutions that provide digital badges, all of which are brimming with opportunities for the continued development of nurses in the UK.

While the digital aspect of the badge may make the process sound difficult or intimidating, acquiring a digital badge as a nurse in the UK is quite simple. Here are 3 ways you can get your next digital badge:

1. Continued Professional Development programmes

Think about the areas in which you want to expand your skills, which can be anything from wound care to infection control or leadership in nursing. Once enrolled, you will be on the path to getting your digital badge.

You can start by signing up with a reputable online platform like The CPD Certification Service, which has courses specifically designed for nurses in the UK. Open University also offers free digital badges in career development.

2. Professional certifications

Choose certifications that align with your nursing career goals, from becoming a nurse prescriber or specialist practitioner to a nurse consultant. These certifications are usually rewarded in the form of a digital badge after completing examinations.At the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), you can acquire a vast range of certifications in the form of a digital badge.

3. Employer-sponsored training

Take advantage of training opportunities provided by your healthcare employer, such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. You can also participate in internal training programs covering patient safety, clinical procedures or electronic health records. However, be sure to check if your employer will award you with a digital badge at the end of your training - do not assume that digital badges are the standard for any training or certification.

Digital badges for nursing job applications and CVs

The most notable benefit of a digital badge for nurses is the ease of job applications. The nursing industry is continuously evolving and so is the hiring process. With thousands of candidates sometimes applying for a handful of roles, it is clear nursing is an in-demand industry. This is why perfecting your CV is the best way to get the highest chance of securing a nursing position.

Digital badges are a clear and detailed way to communicate your nursing skills and competencies to your recruiter or possible employer. Your digital badge will accurately represent your talent and allow for a smooth application, interview and hiring process.

Having clickable images of your digital badges in your CV, under the education or CPD section, can be a great addition to the drab bullet points recruiters are used to. It will help your CV stand out from the crowd and allow your attained skills and competencies to speak for themselves.

MCG Healthcare: take the next step in your nursing career

Digital badge or not, if you want to give yourself the best chance at getting a nursing job that suits your talents, the MCG Healthcare team is ready to help you land your dream role.

Register with us today!

About the author
Sam Gavin Branch Manager

Looking for a new job? We’ll help you find the perfect one!