Three digital nurses took over NHS Digital’s Twitter page to answer questions about their profession.
International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on 12 May each year to mark the contributions that nurses make to people's lives.
The star-studded Twitter line-up was made up of:
- Jo Dickson, chief nurse, NHS Digital. Jo has over 25 years of experience in her career which includes a variety of clinical and digital leadership roles.
- Sascha Mullen, clinical informatics specialist, NHS Digital. Over the last 22 years, Sascha has worked in a variety of nursing roles. He joined us this year in his new position, where he uses data to help improve the delivery of clinical care.
- Tracy Andrew, clinical informatics specialist, NHS Digital. After qualifying as a midwife in 2016, Tracy spent the next six years consolidating her skills in all areas of the maternity service. She soon developed a passion for digital transformation in the NHS and how it can benefit both patients and colleagues.
Here is an insight into some of the questions and answers:
What kind of stuff does a nurse do at NHS Digital and why is it important we have nurses in such organisations?
Tracy: In the areas I work in, we are looking at data and systems that are going to be directly improving patient care. I use my clinical knowledge to assess what clinical impact these are going to have. We are working towards improving health outcomes in our various programmes. For instance, I am involved with the Covid workstreams ensuring the population is protected to the best of our ability through vaccinations and medications etc.
Sascha: As a Nurse in the NHS App programme, I offer specialist advice to ensure that the NHS App is safe, effective and of value to all its users. By ensuring that there is a clinical voice, the NHS App can meet the needs of those using it. Working collaboratively with all members of the App team, we can offer something that truly enables users to be in control of their healthcare, in the palm of their hands and comfort of their home.
Jo: Firstly - I think it’s important that we have representation from all clinical professions in the NHS Digital team. Nurses play a key role in care pathways across all sectors and are often the people who co-ordinate care too. Therefore, nurses have key transferable skills into the digital world. We are often natural communicators and 'translators' and use these skills a lot in championing good technology for our patients, along with other colleagues.
It's great to see a midwife taking part today. What would you say was the main digital barrier you had to deal with as a midwife?
Tracy: The biggest digital barrier when I was working clinically was having so many systems to log into to that all had a different function. There was no interoperability, and the systems didn't talk to each other. So much of a clinician’s time is spent with dual entry and logging in and out to get the simplest of jobs done... let alone not being able to find a free pc!
How do you guys think we get more nurses interested in Clinical Informatics? How do we aid wider recognition of the legitimacy of our specialty?
Tracy: We used preceptor days at my Trust for all newly qualified midwives where they would spend a day with me watching what the job entailed and learning the wider impact of what they were inputting into systems. On a wider scale having a national network of Digital Midwives that act as a collective voice has been ground-breaking. It meant that for the first time I realised that my specialism was a worthwhile one and made a real difference.
Sascha: Being part of professional networks will help nurses spread the word of the work that is being undertaken in Clinical Informatics with nurses and midwives. I would encourage anyone with a slight interest to join forums and networks out of their own specialities to join in some of the conversations that are happening out there.
Jo: think we get more people interested by telling people how great our roles are! On a daily basis I really feel that I make a difference for patients and citizens - which is why I became a nurse in the first place. Working with fabulous colleagues is an extra bonus!
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