The digital revolution in healthcare has everything to do with nursing and midwifery. 

A guest blog from Lucy Brown, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of the Florence Nightingale Foundation Academy 

As the Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of the Florence Nightingale Foundation Academy, my role predominantly focuses on leading the educational and membership workstreams to commission leadership, online and bespoke programmes and scholarships, as well as running the Nightingale frontline programme.   

 Within our role in the Florence Nightingale Foundation, we take great, talented nurses, midwives and Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), and develop them into exceptional leaders that work at the forefront of change. For example, scholars must complete a project on a topic such as innovation or quality improvement. It’s really the learnings from those programmes, around outcomes and population health, that we can share with PRSB to help improve care. The opportunities in this regard are endless! 

The digital revolution in healthcare has everything to do with nursing and midwifery. You need nurses to lead the digital transformation as they’re the ones using the digital tech and systems to improve care. For example, with Electronic Patient Records (EPRs), nurses are the professionals that ensure large-scale projects in place and embedded in everyday practice, because they’re the largest workforce and you need to engage with that workforce to make things happen. 

For me, the improvements to care safety is what made me interested in digital. I used to be a safeguarding lead so this type of protection is a particular interest of mine. If you can join up records from multiple care providers to ensure people’s information is up to date and important alerts aren’t missed, as well as use digital for faster, earlier referrals to support early intervention, it has to be a good thing for safety. 

Safeguarding is a key area for me but I became interested in PRSB’s work through the way in which standards can facilitate personalised care and joined-up family care. Standards such as About Me and shared decision-making support patients in being active participants in their own care, and prevent patients and carers from having to repeat their story multiple times. I’m passionate about being an advocate for that.  

In terms of clinical research, I think it’s really important we share case studies that result from PRSB standards being put into action. The data collected in records can be analysed in a number of ways to improve patient care. 

Looking ahead, the Florence Nightingale Foundation needs to focus on high-risk areas. Surgery and critical care are important areas to focus on here but safeguarding is my first priority. In all of these areas, standards have the potential to make clinicians’ lives easier and support prevention and early intervention for patients. 

The key issues the Foundation is focusing on at the moment are further developing reach within the nursing and AHP workforce, and further developing our digital scholarships too. This year, we will also be launching our online proposition to support nursing and midwives globally so stay tuned. 

In joining the PRSB Board, I aim to bring expertise from our scholarship and leadership programmes. There are so many ideas from our delegates about what digital processes and tools they need to meaningfully support their work on the frontline. I can also use our networks to champion PRSB’s great work and help get it to a wider nursing audience! There’s a real symbiosis between our organisations. 

Lucy Brown is a paediatric intensive care nurse by background. She started her nursing career at Guys & St. Thomas Hospital, before moving to Brisbane to work at the Royal Children’s Hospital, where she completed her Masters specialising in barotrauma in the paediatric intensive care patient. Lucy moved back to the UK about ten years ago and worked in a number of clinical leadership positions within Bupa, becoming a Florence Nightingale Foundation scholar five years ago. In January 2022, the foundation became a PRSB member. 

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