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NHS body gives support to college's campaign to improve nurses' digital skills


A campaign to improve digital skills among nurses has received the backing of the NHS body responsible for data and information in England.

NHS Digital has pledged to support the “Every nurse an e-nurse” campaign, run by the Royal College of Nursing, in its ambition of ensuring every UK nurse has the tools, skills and resources to make the best use of technology by 2020.

The college launched is first publication on e-nursing with Health Education England last month, stating that nurses could no longer think of using technology at work as something “other people do”.

“Digital technology has a key role in improving delivery of care, health outcomes and efficiency”

Jane Cummings

NHS Digital’s support for the campaign comes as it launches its own “e-nurses” week of online events and discussions about how the nursing profession’s use of technology and digital information is changing patient care.

The body said estimates suggested that in many settings nurses provided 80% of patient care and that they were often the clinicians leading the way in utilising new technology and digital tools.

“The RCN is absolutely right to be placing such a priority on ensuring nurses have the tools, skills and resources they need to make the best use of technology”

Anne Cooper

Technology such as electronic observations and electronic patient records can play a major part in achieving better outcomes, experiences and use of resources, it noted.

NHS Digital highlighted how its new system for exchanging child safeguarding data between local authorities and NHS trusts in England – known as the Child Protection Information Sharing project – was an example of how technology was being used to improve patient care.

“Nurses are the bedrock of health and care – so much is asked of them and yet they consistently deliver world class care for their patients,” said NHS Digital chief nurse Anne Cooper.

“The RCN is absolutely right to be placing such a priority on ensuring nurses across the NHS have the tools, skills and resources they need to make the best use of technology and act as effective e-nurses,” she said.

“We are pleased to endorse that campaign, and commit to working alongside them and other partners to play our role in delivering their ambition of making every nurse an e-nurse by 2020,” said Ms Cooper.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said it was “vital” nurses were equipped to deal with changes in technology.

“The RCN is pleased to be working with NHS Digital for the benefit of the whole nursing workforce, and their patients,” she said.

Directors' Congress 2016

Nurses must build evidence for beneficial technology

Source: Andy Paraskos

Anne Cooper

“Technology and data are transforming healthcare, presenting huge opportunities to improve treatment, patient safety and wellbeing. It’s vital that nurses have the skills they need to make the most of these opportunities, and that’s what this project is all about,” she added.

NHS Digital highlighted that the RCN campaign was aligned to the chief nursing officer for England’s framework for the profession, which includes a commitment to “championing the use of technology and informatics to improve practice, address unwarranted variations and enhance outcomes”.

CNO for England Professor Jane Cummings said: “I’m delighted that organisations across England are endorsing the ‘every nurse an e-nurse campaign’.

“Digital technology has a key role in improving delivery of care, health outcomes and efficiency and there is a real opportunity for all nursing, midwifery and care staff to take a lead on its development and use wherever they work,” she said.


Readers' comments (2)

  • We need to make sure that all the equipment is put in place and not just where there is space. I have experience of PCs being put in on cupboard tops etc, not getting the correct chairs. Invest in all the training, hardware, software and the correct DSE placements.

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  • It would also be helpful if clinical staff were involved in purchasing/design/set up of computerised notes systems rather than just managers (even if the managers at one time had a clinical background), as this might prevent such systems, like the one my old trust used, becoming useful for managers while having huge flaws for use by clinicians.

    And then we get round to the issue of trusts providing training for staff which can be easily available to all...Records so far are not good.

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