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Diary of a digital nurse fellowship

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In 2017 I applied for a 12-month digital nurse fellowship in NHS Improvement to investigate what nurses and allied health professionals were doing to drive the technology agenda forward for patients. I quickly realised that my digital journey had started many years earlier.

As a chemotherapy nurse I remember having the first high-tech pumps to deliver infusions to patients that calculated the drip rate. I also introduced the new biphasic defibrillators into clinical practice over 20 years ago. This technology is now the mainstay of everyday practice.

I had never been particularly techy, but if I saw a value in technology I always embraced it for the benefit of patients. This passion for safety and better care had grown throughout my career. I just had not given it the attention it needed.

I know that implementing technological change in healthcare can be frustrating.

Over the years, we have all probably been part of digital system roll-outs that have taken an age and cost loads of money. And finally, just when you think you have cracked it and have got everyone using it, the tech company either goes bust or the procurement process changes and the company you have been using is consigned to the scrap heap.

So you breathe a huge sigh and think, “Oh my goodness. I now have to do that whole thing all over again”.

In an attempt to help us learn from these digital roll-out situations, this series of blogs will outline the insights I have gained from my fellowship that will hopefully help nurses who may not consider themselves digitally savvy. 

On my journey as a digital fellow I have never been scared to ask the daft questions. I have often been a bit slow on the uptake, but you can be sure that once I understand something, I want to share it with others, especially when the benefit is clear. 

You can read the first blog here.

Lesley Jones is nurse fellow (digital) at NHS Improvement.

This series of blogs has been co-produced with help from trust staff looking at and introducing systems: Arran Rogers, Royal Berkshire NHS FT; Jane Benfield Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust; Sam Neville, Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust; and Dr Natasha Phillips, University College London.

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