The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) is seeing soaring demand for its Asthma and COPD Fundamentals eLearning course for health professionals. Registrations for the course have risen by over 100% between 2020 and 2021.

The Fundamentals course provides up-to-date education for all registered health professionals including nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and GPs. Updated in February 2021 to align with the new NZ Asthma and COPD best practice guidelines, the course incorporates the latest research with specific information for the New Zealand context, such as recently funded medications, treating Māori and Pacific peoples, and best practice health literacy.

"There’s a huge demand for online education among health professionals, especially in this time of COVID-19," says Joanna Turner, ARFNZ’s Research and Education Manager. "Not only is an up-to-date knowledge of respiratory health issues like COPD and asthma more important than ever in the time of the pandemic - having the option to learn online and at your own pace rather than in person is also really beneficial. We noticed a surge in registrations during the last lockdown, for example."

"With Omicron now on our shores and in our communities, there’s never been a more important time for health professionals to get up to speed on common, chronic respiratory conditions," adds ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding. "There are 700,000 Kiwis living with respiratory diseases, and it’s vital that they get the best possible treatment and advice. The Fundamentals course gives health practitioners the tools and knowledge to offer this. It’s really proving its worth."

The course consists of four online modules, in which a ‘flipped classroom’ provides a contemporary approach to professional development. Feedback from participants has been excellent, with one paediatric community nurse saying, "This was a well-structured update very relevant to my work... The COPD information and learning is important too, when talking with parents about smoking and reasons to quit."

"I think an excellent job has been done here as everything is clearly explained in a range of ways that make it interesting to complete," said another participant.

ARFNZ is currently offering a summer special, with the course costing only $135. To find out more and sign up, visit


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