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Introduction to Prehabilitation

Welcome to the Introduction to Prehabilitation bitesize online learning.

This course is for members only. You can access it by clicking the button below using your existing membership details (and bookmark this page for future use).

'Introduction to Prehabilitation' looks at how we, as nurses and health care professionals, can support patients to be as healthy and fit as possible before they go into planned surgery or for cancer treatments.

This includes lifestyle interventions that are well known to and used by nurses, such as smoking cessation, healthy lifestyles and psychological support strategies.

Often we feel helpless to support our patients when they are awaiting surgery or have just had a devastating cancer diagnosis.

Prehabilitation is designed to overcome this and gives the clinician practical tools to help the patient be as mentally and as physically healthy as they can be before they start any treatment.

Free online learning 

The aim of this course is to outline what prehabilitation is and what the benefits are.

When navigating the Introduction to Prehabilitation course, please use Google Chrome and not Internet Explorer.

Please note, due to the time taken for the Learning Management System to refresh its userbase, it may take up to 20 minutes after your first login to access the course.

This course is intended for clinicians and health care support workers, specifically those in the nursing workforce.

It is short and flexible, you can do the activities all at once or work your way through them in short manageable chunks that fit in around your busy working day.

If you are an RCN member you will be able to download a certificate to show that you have completed the course.

This course was designed in partnership with Dr Pawan Pandev, a practising GP with an interest in prehabilitation and its impact on the patient journey, and Janet Duffin, a Senior Quality Improvement Manager in the NHS.

The RCN values your feedback on our courses and an evaluation form is available at the end of the course which for you to complete. We use your feedback to improve our educational resources.

The aims of the course are that on completion, the participant will be able to:

  1. Recognise the value of prehabilitation, when prehabilitation services are required for their patients and identify what services are appropriate.
  2. Identify and use prehabilitation strategies in your own role and to support prehabilitation pathways for any elective surgery.

Participants will achieve the following learning outcomes at the end of the course:

Aim 1: Recognise the value of prehabilitation, when prehabilitation services are required for their patients and Identify what services are appropriate.

  1. Define the meaning of prehabilitation
  2. Outline what prehabilitation is
  3. Define when prehabilitation is required along a patient’s journey
  4. Define what conditions benefit from prehabilitation
  5. Outline the components of prehabilitation
  6. Communicate to patients and their families the significance of prehabilitation
  7. Recognise that everyone starts off with a different set of circumstances/co-morbidities and be able to personalise the advice and proactive support, for physical, emotional and mental health.
  8. Be able to personalise the advice and proactive support, consistent with the NHS Long Term Plan for personalised care.

Aim 2: Identify and use prehab strategies in your own role and to support prehab pathways for any elective treatment

  1. Reflect on what you do now in terms of prehabilitation components
  2. Define the three elements of prehabilitation (Dietetics, Lifestyle, Psychosocial)
  3. Identify tools that can support with lifestyle, dietetics, psychosocial and alchohol:
  4. Apply the relevant tools to identify what matters to the patient and family.
  5. Recognise and support patients and their families
  6. Assess your ability to deliver this and recognise when you need to signpost to other services.
  7. Know where to find best practice and examples of prehabilitation models
  8. Identify appropriate prehabilitation support and apply this knowledge to offer appropriate prehabilitation support.
  9. Apply the principles of sensitive communication styles and effective interpersonal interaction.


Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, Room 207, London, W1G 0RN