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Commission logs on to new ideas

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Nurses can spread new ideas by creating their own social networking sites, according to the innovation lead for the Prime Minister’s Commission on the future of nursing and midwifery.

Imperial College Healthcare Trust nursing director Professor Janice Sigsworth spoke to Nursing Times ahead of the Commission’s latest meeting on Friday.

Prof Sigsworth, who chairs the quality and innovation workstream, was hoping to discuss the potential for purpose-built social networking sites to allow nurses to post ideas and discuss new findings.

She said: “There’s a lot of talk about…innovation. It has the potential to get frontline staff involved in doing things that can make a difference rather than taking a top-down approach.

But she added: “I’m not sure we know what to do to feed it down to frontline staff.”

Not all staff would be able to attend group meetings to discuss ideas to improve patient care, so internet sites were more accessible, she said.

Organisations could build their own internet sites where employees could create personal profiles and start discussion groups, just like on well-known websites such as Facebook.

It would be better to try this locally to start with, she said, before any attempt was made to roll out a national site.

Also speaking to Nursing Times ahead of the meeting, Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said it was likely that healthcare support workers would feature heavily in the commission’s discussions.

She said: “There are some areas where there isn’t quite a consensus, where there’s a degree of debate. We’ll road test these to see whether they’re the right ones {to take forward}.”

This would take place at a series of engagement events, she said.

Nursing Times understands the commission signed off an “ambitious” draft vision, setting out a shortlist of “hot topics” seen as priorities for future discussions.

One commission member said agreement was reached following “quite challenging” debate.

The commission has also travelled to Australia this month to share ideas and experiences.

Global research group Worldwide Universities Network funded a trip to Sydney, where commissioner Anne Marie Rafferty and support office joint lead Jane Salvage spoke at an international policy and research round table.

The group concluded that nurses and midwives needed to build closer alliances with patient and community groups and should influence health policy to create higher quality services.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Philip Darbyshire

    The potential of social networking sites and collaborative online approaches is there for nursing to exploit, but we we will need infinitely more creativity and foresight than many health services and employers have shown to date.

    If the limit of an organisation's imagination is to 'Ban Facebook', staff will still find themselves light years behind the average 14 year old.

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