National Deputy Digital Nursing Information Officer for England
In 2020 the role of the digital nurse and midwife took a big leap forward in England. Dr Natasha Phillips, a renowned nurse and academic with over 25 years of service, was appointed the first Chief Nursing Information Officer and Director for patient safety at NHSx.
Technology is now recognised, more than ever, as a key tool and enabler for nursing teams, in all areas of practice. The ability to support patients remotely, collaborate with colleagues and use technology to enhance care has all been realised as part of the pandemic response. This has helped us learn lessons which will be needed to influence our future relationships with technology.
Upskilling nurses and midwives
It used to be that technology was the realm of the technologist and IT teams in the NHS, who were not a part of the direct care team. This was changing before the pandemic, as is evident by the appointment of the Chief Nursing Information Officer, but the speed of learning has changed dramatically over the last year. Nurses and midwives are now more skilled and confident to advise on functionality, digital literacy and the impact of technology on patients. Nursing leaders are emerging at all levels of organisations across the country and indeed the world.
Digital health has become part of our everyday life and patients have the right to expect it to be part of our everyday health and social care.
Using technology to help deliver care
The priority themes for the National Chief Nursing Information Officers team are education, practice, research and leadership. It is necessary to support those nurses who are now leaders in digital health and equip those who wish to become more involved, but we cannot work alone. We need to work with other clinical and technical colleagues to be able to understand and deliver great care enabled by technology and articulate what the future state of digital healthcare looks. The role of nurses and midwives will be central to that success.
Digital health has become part of our everyday life and patients have the right to expect it to be part of our everyday health and social care. We are working to ensure that point of care nurses and midwives are given the tools to help them develop enhanced practices in 2021 and beyond.