The effective use of information and digital technologies is a key enabler in delivering health and social care now and in the future.
The impact of technology and the potential that it has to transform care is a professional issue touching on care delivery, practice, education and research.
Two RCN Digital Summits held in 2015 and a resolution at RCN Congress 2016 identified an aim that by 2020 every UK nurse should be an e-nurse.
The concept can take many forms. It includes involving nursing and midwifery staff in the design and implementation of information technology, increasing access to education and training, and using data to improve care.
As this film shows we need to have the right skills in place before patients and citizens can benefit.
The first output from this work is a joint publication between Health Education England and the Royal College of Nursing: Improving Digital Literacy
The publication identifies six digital literacy areas (Adapted from the JISC Digital Capability Framework (2015) JISC/Helen Beetham).
These capabilities are described in the publication: Improving workforce digital health.
Digital literacies are those capabilities that fit someone for working, living, learning, participating and thriving in a digital society. The six domains cover:
- Digital identity, wellbeing, safety and security
- Communication, collaboration and participation
- Teaching, learning and personal/professional development
- Technical proficiency
- Information, data and media literacies
- Creation, innovation and scholarship.
We believe the digital capabilities will help staff identify their professional development needs, inform revalidation and support work force development. It will also help inform local and national digital health strategies. They have UK wide applicability.
In the HEE publication, Janet Davies writes: “We are living through a technological revolution and digitalisation is developing at an incredible speed… it is time to grasp this opportunity as the nursing and midwifery workforce is crucial to the successful outcome of this revolution. Developing these digital capabilities is the first step and the goal is to bring tangible benefits for citizens and patients”.
The publication also contains a digital manifesto from the RCN. The manifesto highlights the barriers to digital literacy and sets out why these capabilities are so important.
The next phase of this work will be to:
- Examine the specific digital literacy needs of nursing and midwifery staff
- Signpost resources, tools and strategies in use to help improve digital capability
- Highlight the contribution of nursing staff to this agenda.