National Health Service IT organisation backs e-nurse campaign with the launch of its first e-nursing week. The RCN’s campaign launched in 2016 following previous calls from the RCN to increase nursing input into IT and provide more IT training.
Anne Cooper, chief nurse at NHS Digital, said: “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.”
NHS Digital has pledged to play a supporting role in realising the campaign’s ambition. It will now highlight various elements of e-nursing, to promote effective use of information and digital technologies, including use of technology at bedsides, data-sharing, digital security and the role of apps and wearables in changing care.
In July 2013, a RCN survey of 1000 members found the majority of nurses had no influence on the way technology was used in their workplace. The campaign aims to equip nurses with the skills and tools needed to take advantage of digital technologies.
Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary at the RCN, said: “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.”
One University that have been paying attention to technology in healthcare is the University of Manchester. They began training student nurses to record patient observations digitally in 2016. Using a system called Patientrack, allows students to patients’ vital signs at the bedside, and enter them straight into a tablet device.
The RCN congress passed a motion last year that by 2020 every nurse in the UK should have the appropriate digital skills. The areas from the joint report with Health Education England that need to be improved are:
- Digital identity, wellbeing, safety & security
- Communication, collaboration and participation
- Teaching, learning and professional development
- Technical proficiency
- Information, data and media literacies
- Creation, innovation and scholarship
The recent ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack in May 2017 was a wake-up call to the NHS, highlighting that serious attention is given to cyber security from now on. The RCN and NHS Digital spearheading this campaign could potentially bridge the digital skills gap within healthcare, and ensure the NHS is as secure and innovative as it can be.