Nurses: agents of change for digital developments in clinical settings

Why it's important for staff to join the NHS Digital Academy leadership programme

Why it's important for staff to join the NHS Digital Academy leadership programme

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If we can get clinical systems right, we can improve the care we deliver; but we can get clinical systems right only if we have a good grasp on digital technology.

This is why five years ago – after 25 years as a nurse, midwife and health visitor – I started working in clinical informatics, a move that has led to my present role as chief nursing information officer.

Loud and proud 

As nurses, we as well as allied health professionals are behind our medical colleagues in the field of digital health leadership even though we make up a huge workforce in the NHS and are pivotal to care delivery. It is vital that our voice is out there – loud and proud – when digital technology for delivering better care and services is being considered and developed.

Nurses are primary change agents for clinical informatics systems in healthcare settings (Hilz 2000) so we need to increase our skills and knowledge in the field of digital health leadership. This is why I applied to be in the first cohort of staff on the year-long NHS Digital Academy postgraduate diploma in digital health leadership programme, aimed at raising the professional profile of all digital health leaders.

Crucial to success 

I am one of the 104 programme participants, but one of only five nurses in my cohort. Why are there so few of us, even though developing digital leaders has been highlighted as crucial to the success of the NHS (Wachter 2016)? We are capable professionals, but we need to put ourselves forward more and to make sure our voices are heard.

Digital health is a field that is challenging, exciting and sometimes infuriating, but never dull. My plea to nurses in the digital leadership field is this: apply for cohort 2 of this programme. Applications are open until 26 October.

Further information

For more details, email and the application form is available at NHS Digital Academy


About the author

Amanda Claeys is chief nursing information officer at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and a member of the Nursing Management editorial advisory board

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