Our Chief Nursing and Operating Officer, Creenagh Williamson discusses the importance of E-Nursing and how Health Navigator’s healthcare and data science teams work collaboratively to shape the digital solutions that are delivered to patients and NHS providers.
Traditionally, the word ‘nurse’ conjures up a vision of somebody wearing a uniform delivering hands on care at a hospital bedside. Whilst this remains true for many, the role of today’s nurse has evolved far beyond this stereotype and can now offer more stimulating and inspiring career opportunities than ever before. From Primary Care to Custody Nurses, Nurse Endoscopists, Health Visitors, Advance Nurse Practitioners, Transplant cocoordinators the list goes on, incorporating the wider healthcare landscape across a range of disciplines. Whilst the role of the nurse is never without its frustrations and challenges, as the Pandemic has demonstrated, it remains one of the most rewarding occupations for so many of us.
I remember as a student nurse nearly 30 years ago, being told that Nursing was a commitment to lifelong learning, which has certainly been true for me. Professional and personal growth and development is essential to all nurses if they are going to deliver the very best of care to their patients. Ensuring that their practice is up-to-date and relevant, is fundamental to the nurse’s role. Whilst for most of us this means staying current and making sure we understand and embrace new initiatives and developments that are occurring within our areas of practice; over the past few years, this has also meant ensuring that we understand the way in which technology and digitalisation is impacting on healthcare.
During my first few years as a qualified nurse, computers started appearing in wards and departments, but these were usually the remit of a few ‘specially’ trained individuals. Slowly however, records and information started to be retained electronically, and we all attended IT courses in order that we could access this information. Over time, technology became more common place, and I remember some 15 or so years ago reading about a hospital in Madrid with a ‘tablet’ at every bedside, where patient observations and details could be recorded, sent to the relevant doctor and as if by magic, a prescription or treatment change could be communicated immediately to the nurse standing by the bedside; I clearly recall thinking – this is the future.
At that time we were just introducing an Electronic Patient Record System into the hospital where I was working and it was not without great trepidation that I agreed to dispense with the Emergency Department’s ‘white board’ that was used to record and track patients to rely solely on this digitalised version. This new system, despite offering so many benefits and advantages, still represented a huge culture change to practice at that time.
Time has moved on however and now nurses, whatever their area of specialism, rely heavily on digitalised solutions in their everyday practice. In many cases they have become the experts in designing these solutions and implementing them across a range of settings. Nowhere is this more evident than within HN, where our nurses and allied health professionals have regular input into the design and optimisation of systems across the organisation. From helping to create the criteria for the predictive model, working with our data scientists to analyse data and performance, to providing guidance in the creation of the hn-company.co.uk 3 next generation of Navigator (our patient management platform), we have all embraced technology.
By ensuring that we are reaching out to the right patients, at the right time and delivering the right level of support and intervention, combined with the ability to confidently analyse the impact that we are having, our healthcare teams are helping to inform the nursing practice of the future.
I believe that it is the role of every nurse to embrace new technologies and implement them with confidence and enthusiasm. Every nurse should continue to challenge the status quo and always strive for better solutions. Interestingly, this aligns with the thoughts of Florence Nightingale who said “Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better” and whilst I certainly do not consider myself to be in the same league as the highly acclaimed Miss Nightingale, it’s nice to know that she and I are on the same page.
The RCN has developed a range of case studies showcasing the contributions that nurses and midwives are making to technology enabled care services in health and social care settings.
Digital Innovations features interviews with nurses and midwives who are digital innovators or who have been involved in projects that are introducing digital working practices.
Creenagh was interviewed to discuss the HN Clincial Coaching CARE service as a digital contribution to public heath.