I had the privilege of meeting with a group of 40 district nursing students recently. Just starting on their year-long programme, they were bright, articulate, keen to learn and totally committed to best practice and future leadership of the district nursing team.
It was a joy to spend the afternoon with them.
As part of our discussion, I asked about their experience of mobile working to support caseload management and the maintenance of patient records. I was shocked to find that just 25% of the group were using mobile devices to support their work.
The other 75% without iPads, tablets, or laptops, are heavily reliant on a paper-based system and for many, this also involves entering data to patient records more than once when back in the office.
In an era where mobile working is well established in the community and has been proven to increase productivity by releasing capacity in the team, I was disheartened to hear that so many nurses are still required to enter data more than once and do not have access to the systems and equipment that are commonly available in other provider organisations.
When shown a photograph of nurses using mobile devices and a patient at home engaging with remote monitoring using telehealth equipment, one student said this was so far away from their experience of practice that it felt like science fiction.
In 2012, the QNI published Smart New World. The publication describes the potential and the reality of technology to support practice, to the benefit of individuals, families and carers in their homes and communities.
It was well received and has been a catalyst for sharing good practice and recognising the cultural changes required when introducing new ways of working.
Technology has developed significantly over the last four years and the QNI is keen to provide a picture of that progress. There are, despite my recent experience described above, some fabulously innovative examples of technology-supported practice which have been evaluated very positively. We are therefore asking practitioners to tell their stories about the use of digital technology in the workplace today – to share their challenges and achievements – and most importantly, the difference this has made to their patients, families and carers.
Please do complete the survey to help us p identify and share best practice, the challenges and solutions – and speed up the pace of change:https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/FS7VC95.
Crystal Oldman, chief executive, Queen’s Nursing Institute