Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Digital expert warns district nurses not to ignore technology skills

  • 18 Comments

Technology skills are such an essential requirement for nurses in 2015 that a lack of them should be considered a fitness to practise concern, a nurse expert on digital information has claimed.

Anne Cooper, NHS England’s clinical informatics advisor for nursing, said the use of technology – such as mobile devices, online resources and electronic record systems – by nurses was essential for improving care.

Speaking earlier this week at a conference on district nursing and digital technology, Ms Cooper said she took “a very hard position” on the issue.

“In 2015, nursing requires you to have some technology skills. That’s it – the bottom line. If you can’t, then I would question whether or not you are fit for practise,” she told delegates at the Queen’s Nursing Institute event.

Ms Cooper warned that nurses needed to “catch up” with the way that patients used technology and “stop pretending” that some – such as the elderly – did not have access to it.

She said technology and informatics – how information is collected, stored and shared – was now a component of a nurse’s daily duties.

“Most senior nursing leaders see a future where technology plays a strong role in nursing practice,” she said. “Informatics has the potential to be a key part of what we do in the future and the way we deliver care from undergraduate education in basic practice, right through to senior leadership positions.”

“In 2015, nursing requires you to have some technology skills. That’s it – the bottom line”

Anne Cooper

She highlighted mobile devices – such as smart phones and tablets – as being “critical” for community practitioners, in particular, highlighting how the ability to input patient records in “real time” meant nurses could spend less of their day travelling back to base in order to use a desktop computer.

Ms Cooper urged district nurses to gather evidence about how technology helped them carry out their duties and to use this to apply for funding to develop new ways of sharing information.

She said NHS England’s £65m Nursing Technology Fund for 2013-15 had been “dominated” by applicants from acute trusts, and she was “slightly disconcerted” that fewer community groups had applied than expected.

However, Ms Cooper acknowledged there were challenges around new technologies such as isolated working – though she said social media could help counteract this – how to standardise electronic record keeping, and ensuring new systems included the most beneficial clinical content.

“We’ve got to engage across professions, we’ve got to engage with our clinical partners and with patients. We’ve got things such as the emerging role of the chief nursing informatics officer, we’ve got to think about how we develop electronic systems that have the content we want in them,” she added.

Queen's Nursing Institute

Anne Cooper speaking at the District Nursing in the Digital Age conference

  • 18 Comments

Readers' comments (18)

  • how insulting

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Absolutely insulting. That is as insulting as it would be for me to expect Cooper to be possessing some basic nursing skills.
    That's what is wrong with the profession - technology experts telling another profession what they should be doing. Get a real job.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 'mobile devices – such as smart phones and tablets – as being “critical” for community practitioners, in particular, highlighting how the ability to input patient records in “real time” meant nurses could spend less of their day travelling back to base in order to use a desktop computer' - This would indeed be a great asset however in practice the software on tablets currently does not match what is available on the desktop PCs!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The problem is that NHS computing is generally 10 years out of date (still using Word 2003?). When a new system is bought the cheapest version is thought to be sufficient.

    Of course the tablets don't match the main computers - there is often no-one to sort it out. It's been like this for 30 years!

    Interesting that this report says community staff were largely excluded when a bit of money was given out. Their IT needs should be properly addressed. Speak up! Instead of just saying it is insulting!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • it never ceases to amaze me how non nurses want to tell nurses how to do their jobs, I wouldn't tewll a mechanic or electrician how to do their jobs, cooper is IT trained that is all

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think this is far from insulting and I suggest that Anne has not gone far enough in her comments. Many nurses are familiar with basic to intermediate IT skills, but in order to undertake practice development and clinical audit in the future a far more detailed knowledge of clinical informatics will be required. In many countries informatics is studied alongside direct clinical degrees, this is long overdue here.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • She IS a nurse apparently...http://www.ehealthawards.com/judges
    However I'm one of the (30% in our team) community staff who are over 50. IT was never a subject when I was at school, or nurse training, or on my CURRENT university course.
    I've picked up what skills I have ad hoc. NHS need to provide some training if they want us to cope as well as the 'digital natives' - and work til we're 67 !

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Maybe she WAS a nurse.
    If she doesn't keep up her nursing skills, her data entry skills won't benefit her OR the patient.
    Anyways, all audit data entry etc. should be carried out by clerical staff - allowing nurses to be with the patient.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Maybe she WAS a nurse.
    If she doesn't keep up her nursing skills, her data entry knowledge won't save her OR her patients.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nursing needs to move into the 21st Century, we need to embrace new technologies and work with it to improve patient care. If nurses don't get involved we will end up with systems that are not fit for our needs. The people who create the systems are IT specialists we need to work with them to get the best after all nurses are specialists in what they do. Don't let non nurses build systems for our profession, get involved and we might get something fit for purpose.
    OK we may have to do some things differently, but it should be nursing that shapes it's own future, IT is not going away!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 1020results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.