Nurses are often the clinicians leading the way on embracing new technology at work, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), in a week-long campaign to make the NHS a digital-ready workplace.
Estimates from NHS England indicate that 80% of patient care is provided by nurses and they are the main members of staff creating ‘innovative ways of improving care using new digital tools’. In 2016, the RCN agreed at its annual conference to make ‘every nurse an e-nurse’ by 2020.
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NHS England and NHS Digital have announced their backing of the RCN’s campaign with a weeklong drive – committing the NHS to a new technologically-led framework for operations. It is aligned with the Leading Change, Adding Value (LCAV) framework.
‘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,’ said chief nursing officer Professor Jane Cummings, who launched the LCAV last year.
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‘The significance of technology runs through LCAV – the national framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff – and the campaign will help make the commitments in the framework a reality.’
The framework includes a commitment to ‘championing the use of technology and informatics to improve practice, address unwarranted variations and enhance outcomes’.
According to NHS England, 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’. Electronic patient records have allowed nurses, midwives and care staff to begin mobile working and enabled safe sharing of data.
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‘Technology and data are transforming healthcare, presenting huge opportunities to improve treatment, patient safety and wellbeing,’ said RCN chief executive Janet Davies.
‘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.’