Associate feature: Positioning nursing leadership in the development and implementation of digital technologies
One thing that the pandemic has taught us is that the world is irretrievably changing.
Nursing as a profession has been integral to the COVID-19 response and has had to respond and work differently, but with a continued focus on ensuring that care is the best that can possibly be delivered in circumstances never experienced before.
In the health and care sector, having the right technology in the right place has always been recognised as having enormous potential for service users and staff.
During the last year, technologies have been fully recognised as key tools and enablers for nursing teams, in all areas of practice.
Enabling nurses to access information, support the provision of care, stay in contact with colleagues and others; and be used in innovative compassionate practice such as linking isolated and distraught family members during end of life care.
Using such information and technology was often seen as the province of specialists.
One of the consequences of the new ways of working is that many nurses are now adept in highlighting and advising on areas such as interoperability, functionality, digital and data literacy; and modernisation of information governance rules.
The need to ensure nursing and care staff are always involved from an early stage in ensuring that digital applications support the relevant pathways of care for areas of practice is now a must.
This will also help address issues raised by our members at the Royal College of Nursing such as the need to access appropriate equipment, improve the sharing of records, receive appropriate training, strengthen infrastructures, and tackle the challenges of poor connectivity – which is a particular issue for those working in rural areas.
Roll-out of digital technologies has successfully progressed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to continue, on the ground investment must remain a priority.
Susan Aitkenhead is the director of RCN Scotland. This article was sponsored by RCN Scotland.