Using technology to develop a digitally ready nursing workforce

My Topol fellowship problem / project:

A key finding of the Topol review was to create a digitally ready workforce, one which is engaged, skilled and confident to use and develop digital technology. As the largest workforce in healthcare, it is vital that nursing meets this challenge to make digital a fundamental part of nursing practice and so I aim to explore and apply the principles of achieving this.

Within our Trust we have deployed many digital projects that impact the nursing process and as we continue forward with our digital journey, I would like to examine how digital has changed nursing within our Trust. The project will use both our established projects and those delivered most recently to draw comparisons and identify how successful these have been in achieving the intended outcomes, have we achieved the desired result of helping nurses do their jobs through improved patient safety, standards and released nursing time?

I plan to use my time to investigate current user experiences on what digital has done locally for nursing, explore the challenges for the future and establish a better understanding of the elements required to successfully embed digital nursing as a normal part of nursing practice. I hope that my findings will inform how we move forward to successfully articulate what nursing needs from digital healthcare technologies and what digital healthcare technologies need from nursing.

My move to digital nursing was just over 6 years ago, prior to this I had 20 years’ experience in critical care, 12 of these were as an ICU manager. My initial move was to a seconded role, funded to assist implement the comprehensive nursing digital record project, this project aimed to digitise the nursing record and re-introduce care planning with the aim of creating an individualised record that better met local and national standards. The secondment became a substantive post and since this time I have been involved in many digital projects, the largest of which was the implementation of an electronic prescribing and medications administration system. In 2020 I completed a dissertation related to a digital ward project and am a registered clinical safety officer.

I work within a fantastic and very experienced informatics team which includes other clinicians, two of whom are my nursing colleagues and most recently our newly appointed CNIO. As a team we are committed to finding and creating better solutions for our patients and colleagues, I believe the opportunities that the Topol fellowship offers will allow me to contribute in a greater way to these objectives.