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NHS Digital makes e-nursing commitment

NHS Digital kicks off first ever e-nursing week by pledging support for the Royal College of Nursing’s digital nurse campaign

NHS Digital has launched its e-nursing week, highlighting the importance of equipping nurses with the skills and tools needed to take advantage of digital technologies.

As part of the launch, NHS Digital has also pledged support to the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) digital nursing campaign, aiming to make every nurse in the UK an “e-nurse” by 2020.

Last year, the RCN congress launched its e-nurse target, aiming to grasp the opportunities digital can bring through involving nurses and midwives in the design and implementation of technology, the use of data, and better access to skills training and education.

Janet Davies, CEO and general secretary of the RCN, said digital skills are key to harnessing the benefits of technology.

“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,” she said.

“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.” 

NHS Digital’s e-nursing week will focus on the centre’s role in realising the RCN’s 2020 target and “shining the spotlight” on the use of technology at the bedside, data-sharing, apps and wearables, and digital security.

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NHS Digital’s chief nurse, Anne Cooper, said the organisation commits to working alongside the RCN to help deliver their ambition.

“Nurses are the bedrock of health and care,” she said. “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.”

In 2016, the University of Manchester started training its student nurses to record patient observations digitally, using a system called Patientrack to prepare them for using the system, which is deployed at several Manchester hospitals. 

The training, which the university claimed was the first of its kind in the world, teaches students to take patients’ vital signs at the bedside and enter them straight into a tablet device. 

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