How to use the RCN Learn glossary
RCN Learn is available to RCN members, RCNi Plus subscribers, individuals (without a membership or subscription) and organisations.
- Anyone with a free account can access a selection of learning resources and save their favourites. You only need an email and password to register.
- RCN members can access free and member-only learning resources and save their favourites. This includes 100+ quality-assured clinical guidance pieces.
- RCNi Plus subscribers can access free and subscriber-only learning resources and save their favourites. Only RCNi Plus subscribers can access RCNi peer-reviewed CPD articles, learning modules, and bitesize learning.
- Individuals and organisations can find, buy, and access information about our courses via RCN Learn (with no need to be an RCN member). These include leadership programmes, accredited courses, masterclasses, webinars, and more. Explore our organisational products.
Accreditation is a mark of quality and the RCN seal of approval for health care training. All accredited events and courses have passed a rigorous quality assessment. They meet the RCN standards of excellence, promote best practice, and lead to improved patient care. Explore RCN Accreditation.
Bitesize courses offer short and simple sections in a range of formats to fit around your schedule. They introduce key principles and concepts. Examples include: End of Life Care and Nursing Wellbeing, Introduction to Prehabilitation and Introducing Critical Care. Certificates are available upon completion for a selection of courses.
Our case studies offer you an insight into the perspective of the patient or health care professional. These may be fictional to help you develop your understanding of a situation or based on real-life experiences.
Clinical guidance resources, which offer advice and information across a wide range of subject areas, are regularly updated and reviewed by RCN and RCNi subject experts and resource leads. Examples include: Diabetes Essentials, Skin Health Toolkit, and the Career Pathway and Education Framework for Cancer Nursing.
At a conference, people gather to learn about a specific topic, from one hour to a few days. This can happen on location, online, or via a mixture of both. For example, the RCN Congress is held at a location in the UK.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is learning that helps you stay up to date, enhance and improve your professional practice. Every three years, registered nurses, midwives and nursing associates are required to revalidate with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). During this process, you must prove that you remain fit to practice and provide evidence of your CPD. You can record and save your CPD in your free RCNi revalidation portfolio if you are an RCN member or RCNi Plus subscriber. CPD evidence can include the time you spend on RCN learning resources and events. Additionally, you can complete study for 20 academic credits from Coventry University for a selection of RCN programmes at either Level 6 (Bachelor's degree) or Level 7 (Master’s degree). Learn more about the RCNi Revalidation Portfolio.
In cases where you see the words ‘on location’, the venue may not be confirmed yet or there may be several to choose from.
Online and/or on location
Online resources can include filmed webinars, either shown as live or on-demand (pre-recorded from live events or recorded as if they were live).
Online, on-demand and live session (courses)
RCN programmes are made up of a mixture of online, on-demand, and live online sessions.
Online, on-demand (courses)
These courses can be found online, with pre-recorded videos/podcasts that be accessed at a time that is convenient to you.
Individuals and organisations can find, buy, and access information about our courses via RCN Learn (with no need to be an RCN member). These include leadership programmes, accredited courses, masterclasses, webinars, and more. Explore our organisational products.
PDF (Portable Document Format)
A PDF is a file you can open in a browser—similar to a webpage—download and save to your mobile phone, computer, or print out. It can include a single page or many pages. Most pages will have text, images and links to further information.
Quality Assurance Framework (QAF)
The RCN’s Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) ensures that the RCN’s Nine Quality Standards are met in all RCN Learn resources. We develop and manage RCN Learn resources following the agreed quality lifecycle—from production to implementation, evaluation and review, re-issue or withdrawal.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the largest professional body providing educational, wellbeing, workplace, and trade union support to over half a million nurses, midwives, healthcare support workers, nurse students, and others, working together to advance their profession. The RCN Group includes:
- RCN Learn: Hundreds of quality-assured learning resources, many which are exclusive and free for members.
- RCN Library: Europe’s largest clinical library that is free to use for members.
- RCNi: Subscribe to RCNi Plus, or NS Student, to access 10 nursing journals and their archives, including evidence-based, peer-reviewed clinical and CPD articles, as well as learning modules, CPD quizzes, and news and information to help further your career.
- RCN Foundation: A charity which offers education grants to members and non-members.