The Digital Nurse Network has supported nurses working in general practice and other care settings to use and promote digital services. The network recognises nurses’ ability to influence patient behaviour – and so engages them in the digital transformation process and empowers them to drive use of digital services at a local level.
With the support of colleagues in NHSX’s Digital Primary Care team, Ann Gregory and Helen Crowther launched the Digital Nurse Network in March 2019. With 40 years of primary care nursing experience behind them, Helen and Ann wanted to support nurses to increase their awareness, confidence and competence in using and recommending online services.
An online community was set up providing webinars, social media and a workspace hosted by FutureNHS. Since the emergence of COVID-19, membership has more than doubled, and the network is now almost 1,100 nurses strong.
Helen explained: “Little did we realise the impact that a global pandemic would have on the network. Almost overnight, nursing life changed and there was inevitably fear – but the nurse ethic to step up and make change at pace remained.
“We made plans for how to continue to upskill the nurse force, running our webinars more frequently and sharing resources on our FutureNHS platform. We made sure these sessions covered key topics, such as remote working, online triage, proxy access and virtual check-ins. We also demonstrated how to set up webinars and provided local forums to enable nurses to link remotely with colleagues from social and secondary care.
“Our members have shared how the network has inspired them in their roles and provided an informative and inspirational space to learn and develop into digital ambassadors.”
The Digital Nurse Network has helped create a connected and informed profession. It is also a safe space for nurses to ask questions, offer advice, and engage in peer-to-peer conversations, wherever they are on their digital journey. Those who have completed digital projects are also encouraged to share their learning, so others can use that knowledge base to kick start digital projects in their own area – with a clear evidence base to support them.”