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NHS Digital has today launched its first ever e-nursing week in support of the campaign for a digital-ready workforce.
It comes as it also endorses the Royal College of Nursing’s campaign “Every nurse an e-nurse”, and pledges to play a supporting role in realising its ambition.
It is estimated that in many settings nurses provide 80 per cent of patient care and they are often the clinicians leading the way in utilising new technology, and creating innovative ways of improving care using new digital tools.
NHS Digital exists to improve health and social care in England by making better use of technology, data and information.
The RCN’s congress in 2016 passed a motion that by 2020 every UK nurse should be an e-nurse.
They cited that the effective use of information and digital technologies is a key enabler in delivering better health and social care, now and in the future.
NHS Digital’s commitment to realising the ambition of ‘making every nurse an e-nurse’, is also closely aligned to Leading Change, Adding Value (LCAV); a framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff launched by Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England last year.
The framework includes a commitment to ‘championing the use of technology and informatics to improve practice, address unwarranted variations and enhance outcomes.’
Technology such as e-medicines, electronic observations and electronic patient records can play a major part in achieving better outcomes, experiences and use of resources.
Professor 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.
“The significance of technology runs through Leading Change, Adding Value – the national framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff – and the campaign will help make the commitments in the framework a reality.”
Anne Cooper, Chief Nurse at NHS Digital, added: “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.
“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.
“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.
“NHS Digital’s products and services are helping to transform many of the facets of nursing, midwifery and care across the country.
“From electronic patient records, which have allowed nurses, midwives and care staff to utilise mobile working, to enabling safe sharing of data, such as through our Child Protection Information Sharing project, we are delivering 21st century solutions to enabling improved patient care in the digital age.”
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, explained: “Digital skills are key to harnessing these chances and the RCN is pleased to be working with NHS Digital for the benefit of the whole nursing workforce, and their patients.
“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.
“Nursing and midwifery make up the largest part of the healthcare workforce and provide a crucial link between patients and services. It is vital they are equipped to thrive in this rapidly changing world.”