I had in mind to start blogging for a long time now but was feeling that it would need an event or series of events that should trigger it and I believe that 2017 as a whole was that trigger.
Having always an interest on innovation and innovating developments in health care and specifically in surgery where I spent most of my clinical years as a nurse, in combination with my preference on new technologies and gadgets, it wasn’t by chance that my interest was directed to digital health where both the above where combined!
The story of Digital Nursing starts back in 2015, when I started thinking about the challenges that nurses would face due to the implementation of new digital technologies in their everyday practice. Reflecting on my own experience and practice and looking around at the already ‘overstretched’ nursing colleagues, I was terrified on the thought that we would be asked to work with remote monitoring devices, telehealth/ telemedicine/ telecare, wearables, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented reality, mobile apps, Electronic Health Records, Big Data, and all these under the pressure of cybersecurity!
How much prepared were we back in 2015, or even now to meet these challenges? Being an academic teacher and reflecting on what we were doing to prepare our nursing students for this future I came to realise that it was almost nothing! Of course, we need to highlight the importance of the role of Nursing Informatics at this stage, acknowledging their contribution to guiding the staff but not preparing the workforce for what its yet to come and not delivering everyday bedside care.
As a result, I envisioned a future nursing workforce that would be educated and trained to possess specific skills that would respond to the challenges of digital health.
I named this workforce #DigitalNursing reflecting on the wide aspect of Digital Health that encompasses not only Informatics and Electronic Health Records (EHR) but also telehealth/ telemedicine/ telecare, wearables, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, mobile apps and Big Data.
At a glance:
First intorduction of the concept was at the Annual conference of the British Anaesthetic and Recovery Nurses (BARNA) on 19th of June 2015.
The concept gained wide interest, resulting in many invitations where I had the opportunity to share it nationally and internationally.
On November 2016 I presented the concept of #DigitalNursing during a seminar at fellow academics of The School of Nursing/ Polytechnic University, in Hong Kong where I hold the post of Honorary Visiting Lecturer.
During the presentation I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the specific skills that Digital Nurses should have, inspired by the excellent work of the DQInstitute https://www.dqinstitute.org
On January the 24, 2017 I submitted a poster for the West Midlands Health Informatics Network (WIN) Annual conference with the title ‘Digital Nursing: enhancing the human touch through technology’, where I shared my main argument: that of the enhancement of the Human Touch by Nurses through the use of technology rather the abolition of it. Well educated Nurses that would develop the necessary digital skills, they could utilise these to enhance the human touch and spend more time with their patients.
This argument is also very well presented in a Clinical Services Journal report, on one of my conference presentations, by Louise Frampton, titled Digital Nursing and the ‘human touch’ published earlier on November 2016.
The journey continues with more exciting developments underway! Stay tune.