arrow_up-blue blog branches consultations events facebook-icon facebook-icon2 factsheet forum-icon forum hands key link location lock mail measure menu_plus news pdf pdf2 phone policies publications related search share subjectguide twitter-icon word instagram-icon youtube-icon
Every nurse an e-nurse

Digital Roles


[This section will serve as an introduction to the Digital Roles resource]

Chief Information Officer

These are usually senior staff with a specialist qualification or history of undertaking digital system roll outs. They are also advisors on cyber-security and improved patient outcomes because of a technology system intervention. These are not typically clinical roles.

Chief Clinical Information Officer

We have chosen to use the overarching term Chief Clinical Information Officer, as we find this to be more useful than single professional terms such as CNIO. 

These are clinical executive roles that work with informatics leads to design, implement and disseminate healthcare informatics platforms to improve efficiencies in patient flow and outcomes.

These roles usually inform and influence executive teams and provide strategic leadership for clinical teams to make the changes from paper-dependent systems to a more digital solution. They are clinically grounded and consider how clinical staff can and do manage change well in practice.


Jimena - University lecturer

Name: Indra

Job Title: Chief Nursing Information Officer

Indra works in a large metropolitan hospital. She has a background as a clinical nurse specialist in oncology. She has witnessed the rapid changes brought about by digital developments.

Goals and Needs: Her main aim is to ensure that the promises relating to safer care and time to care are realised for patients and colleagues.

How do you make this change

She saw the advert on our hospital intranet and went for it. Her organisation wanted a nurse to act as an advocate for digital ways of working and specifically to lead on the deployment of an electronic patient record system.

What do you need to do to become a CCIO/CNIO

The job called for project management skills and an understanding of technology, particularly relating to the nursing workforce. The advert asked for an appreciation of cyber security and information governance. Indra had been involved in research and had experience of quality improvement project work in her time as an oncology CNS. She wanted to make a difference for nursing especially as she saw the frustrations of her nursing colleagues who were often not engaged ahead of key decisions that effected their day to day working.

Education and training

Perhaps the biggest issue with advancing nursing informatics is the lack of a well-defined career path. Most nursing informatics leaders, like Indra, have had to chart their own course. Much of her development has been with the supplier of the EPR. She has built strong links with other CNIOs who have helped her immensely with their hard won experience and insight.

Personal characteristics

Indra would say that leadership and change management skills are as, if not more important, than the technical appreciation of systems. She has needed to build consensus and foster collaboration. People management and team development account for much of her time. She has needed to work on her communications skills as it is vital that she is able to share and articulate the benefits of technology enhanced services to new audiences as well as those who share the programme goals.

Nursing Information Officer

These roles lead clinical teams in the workforce on clinical informatics/digital healthcare matters; for example, the changes from paper-dependent systems to a more digital solution. They are clinically grounded and consider the clinical requirements of systems.

Clinical Systems Designer

These are specialist roles; they may be department managers but are nurses by background and can build digital systems that are used by their colleagues; for example, to collect accurate patient data or design systems within the service to support frontline delivery of care.

Practice Educator

These are specialist trainers who have been trained, usually in-house or by the system supplier. They train, and support others using the system and can often troubleshoot and offer suggestions for system improvement.

Technology Nursing Lecturer

These are experts who have usually done research within technology/digital and informatics in clinical settings and are teaching undergraduate and some postgraduate courses.


In many organisations, staff in this role are also known as floorwalkers. These are staff at any level who want to investigate extra skills, where their organisations invest in their training and time out to pursue this specialist advisory role. These roles are critical in a roll-out phase.

Digital Nurse Champion

This is an England-only initiative, which grew out of the Ten Point Action Plan for general practice nursing to expand and support the use of digital technologies.

NHS Navigator

Navigators act as relationship managers between SMEs and London trusts. DigitalHealth.London is a partnership, for accelerating the adoption of digital innovation by linking health and care organisations with digital health innovators for the benefit of patients and populations. It accelerates the adoption of digital innovations across health and care to improve patient and population outcomes and experience, and supports a sustainable future NHS.

Page last updated - 01/08/2019