RCN Digital ready

Round table on digital future of nursing

Round table event

The RCN hosted a round table event in July to review the findings of the consultation on the digital future of nursing.

The invited audience consisted of leaders from the nursing informatics community including Chief Nursing Informatics Officers, Council of Deans of Health, and representatives from the technology industry representatives, and think-tanks.

The invitees shared their views on how to address the issues raised by the consultation. Six presentations from the day are presented below. We also interviewed six of the invitees. A full list of the invitees can be found at the foot of the page.

Vox pops

Anne Cooper, until recently Chief Nurse at NHS Digital, reflects on the progress she’s seen in 15 years working as a nursing professional in informatics – and sees signs for optimism in the future.

Crystal Oldman, Chief Executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, argues that that digital technology can be uniquely beneficial to community nurses, as the job frequently involves working away from base in patients’ homes – but warns that its huge potential to help patients and staff isn’t yet being realised. 

Natasha Phillips, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at University College London Hospital, outlines the Trust’s ambitious project to move all its patient records from paper notes and a variety of different computer programmes to a single unified IT system – and explains how nurses are actually helping to build the system.

Rob Blay, chairman of the Health and Social Care Council of the IT industry umbrella group TechUK, explains how nurses can best help healthcare IT contracts to succeed – by becoming involved in every stage of the project from procurement onwards.

David Maguire, Senior Analyst in the Policy team at the King’s Fund health think-tank, counsels against expecting an immediate productivity dividend from the use of digital technology in healthcare.

Nick Hardiker, Professor and Associate Dean (Research & Enterprise) at the University of Huddersfield, who chaired the round table, says it feels as if nursing informatics is on the edge of a cliff – but that now is the time for the profession to take the plunge, jump off and embrace digital technology.


Anne Cooper, former Chief Nurse, NHS Digital – A Journey Together to Understand the Digital Future of Nursing in the UK. Anne provides insight into the findings from the Every Nurse an E-nurse consultation, which took place at the beginning of 2018.

Crystal Oldman, Chief Executive, The Queen’s Nursing Institute – Nursing in the Digital Age. Crystal examines the QNI’s Nursing in the Digital Age report, which was based on a survey of over 500 nurses working in the community.

Natasha Phillips, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer, UCLH – Enabling Professionalism, the UCLH Approach to ‘Going Digital’. Natasha discusses how utilising digital technology lies at the heart of UCLH’s work.

Rob Blay, Chairman Health and Social Care Council, TechUK – Supporting the Digitisation of Health and Social Care. Rob highlights the importance of involving clinicians in digital technology in order to advance the digital agenda.

David Maguire, Senior Analyst, Policy Department, The King’s Fund - Managing Digital Change Successfully in Health and Social Care. David discusses the findings from the King’s Fund’s recent Digital Change in Health and Social Care report, which looks at the key elements of implementing large-scale change involving digital technology in the NHS.

Candace Imison, Director of Policy, Nuffield Trust - How Do We Deliver the Benefits to Patients and Professionals? Candace provides an overview of the Nuffield Trust’s 2016 Delivering the Benefits of Digital Health Care report, which draws on extensive literature review and interviews with leaders of health care organisations.


Nick Hardiker, Professor and Associate Dean (Research & Enterprise) at the University of Huddersfield and former Chair of the CNIO Network 

Anne Cooper, Former Chief Nurse at NHS Digital 

Crystal Oldman, Chief Executive at the Queen’s Nursing Institute 

Natasha Phillips, RN Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at University College London Hospitals 

Rob Blay, Chief Executive, Chairman, Health and Social Care Council, TechUK 

David Maguire Senior Analyst, Policy Department at the King’s Fund 

Candace Imison, Director of Policy at Nuffield Trust

Ross Scrivener, Knowledge and Resources Manager and eHealth Lead, Royal College of Nursing 

James Freed, Chief Information Officer & Building a Digital Ready Workforce (BDRW) at Health Education England 

Josh Niderost, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officer at Council of Deans of Health 

Lesley Jones , Clinical Digital Nursing Fellow at NHS Improvement 

Caron Swinscoe, Chief Nurse at NHS Digital 

Katherine Jarman, Senior Media Officer, Royal College of Nursing