Bespoke, Ecommerce, WooCommerce

Interactive online training programme for NHS nurses and doctors

PDI have been a client of Daneswood for a long time and Mary White*, their Director, first approached us 7 years ago to develop a bespoke interactive education and training programme for health professionals. Mary ran several training courses for nurses and doctors, and in doing so, recognised the difficulties and costs involved in leaving the workplace to attend the update course required for cervical sample takers. Continuous professional development, in all fields of health care, is a necessity, yet fitting it into a busy working day can be challenging. In 2009, we helped PDI produce its online cervical sample taker update module for doctors and nurses, which has been taken up across the country. We are delighted that this online update course has received accreditation by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in recognition of its credibility and the high standard expected by the college.

In 2015 Mary asked us to modernise the look and feel of the website and also to take the emphasis of the site away from her. Mary was very much the face of PDI, however the business has grown and now she wanted to present her series of offline courses and online programme as the established and successful team business that it is.

Offline Course Development

We created new landing pages to the website in WordPress that present the dates and types of offline courses that Mary and her team run. Users can browse to find the course they want, and then click to access all the info and book online by completing a simple form, which then takes payment via PayPal without the need for a cart system. Calls to action also encourage users to contact Mary if they would like to discuss a bespoke course to be set up in their area.

A News module allows Mary to post up the latest news about screening programmes, public health and documents of interest. There is also a simple team page and testimonials page. Due to the high level of nurses within the NHS with English as their second language, we integrated the Google translation widget so the site is available in 6 language versions.

Online Course Development

The ‘online course’ link presents a page about their training programme that allows NHS nurses to update online the latest training on taking cervical smears. Mary invested in a video (see below) about this online course and its benefits many years ago, which is still powerful and so we included it on this section of the site. Users can then click on ‘shop’ and buy the online course of their course by clicking the ‘Add to Basket’ button. This then links through to the WooCommerce platform, that integrates into WordPress, which can then take payment via BACS, cheque or PayPal.

We then built an access key authentication bridge between the website and the separate private URL that the online course actually nests on (www.pdinow.co.uk). Once a nurse purchases a course, they automatically receive an email with their access key, which they then click on to open up the online course, and they can begin.

Technical Challenge

In order for the online training course to be successful and engaging it must include strong interactive elements with the user. From a technical point of view, the 154 page course is completely bespoke on a PHP platform, that integrates with voice overs, video, slideshow and audio. The system is completely web based and has been tested on all browsers successfully, including IE6 which is still deployed in the NHS, and on all major operating systems. Daneswood also provide ongoing technical support for Mary and all users of the course.

Bespoke Development

The content of the programme needed to follow the national standards (2006) and be the equivalent of a half day update or approximately two and a half to three hour course. When applicants login with their key authentication they then have to confirm that they have completed their required audit, in order to proceed. This is in accordance with NHSCSP national standards. They also supply the name of their educational lead (e.g. PCT Lead) as a database of registered sample takers is a national requirement.

The voucher then lasts indefinitely, and applicants may leave the programme an unlimited number of times and will return to the point at which they left by bookmarking that place. The course needed to be designed so applicants could not go back through the course at any point, only forwards.

Course Content

Mary worked with us closely to ensure that the course content delivered professional development in an engaging and interactive way. There is a video introduction by Mary and a pre-course knowledge quiz that is scored. A background to cervical screening and some statistics from Cancer Research UK are provided, along with numerous useful web links to reference. A reminder of patho-physiology is specified, and a video clip of either Sure Path or Thin prep (dependent on which system is used in the applicant’s area). Mary also included a 40 minute presentation assisted by a consultant cyto pathologist with short pre-presentation quiz, followed by a post-presentation quiz. The course also includes examples of good practice and a 40 minute presentation by a consultant in genito urinary medicine. Once the course is completed, a certificate is generated that the applicant can then print off.

Finally an electronic message is sent back to the CCGEducation lead that they named at the beginning to confirm that they have completed the course. This information can be used to add to the local database of sample takers.


“Thank you, I have now successfully completed the course. I am so grateful to be able to do it online, and it was very comprehensive and informative. I really wish I had done it sooner – looking forward to the next online update.”

Heidi, a Practice Nurse following the online smear update

Since its inception in 2009 the NHS have taken up over 512 online courses and PDI has won several awards including the UK National Training Awards 2009 for ‘outstanding achievement in education and training’. PDI has also been shortlisted for the UK Trade and Investment supported Born Global award 2011.

The course has been successful as it saves time and money. Users do not need to leave the workplace to attend a course update and Primary Care Trusts benefit, as they do not need to organise and fund training events, venues and refreshment costs.

“Moving to Daneswood has given me peace of mind, complete confidence in their abilities and a more successful business. They have provided me with exactly what I needed, with all of us able to discuss any changes over a cup of coffee.   In addition, my website has been completely transformed with the front page viewable in several languages. This has been due to the professionalism shown by all the team at Daneswood. I can now sit down with the team and discuss the changes required, which are often done immediately as we talk. I feel that they really understand my programme. The Daneswood support line provides immediate reassuring assistance, remote access if necessary and it is always done in a calm and patient manner. The NHS has purchased many places from me and since moving to Daneswood I have sold over 220 places of the online programme.”

Mary White, Director, PDI

*Mary is also a major supplier of doughnuts to the Daneswood office staff when she visits, so we are always attentive to her project.