NHS Connecting for Health’s chief nurse is to launch a programme to develop leadership skills for nurses in informatics.
Two three-day workshops will take place in late September to look at the leadership skills that are needed and how they can be developed.
Susan Hamer, the director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, said: “This is not an informatics course. It is about understanding the shifting context and trying to increase leadership capacity.”
She told eHealth Insider that nurses needs to take a grip of the informatics agenda, both to secure the technologies that the profession needs to improve quality of care and to make sure the NHS can deliver the efficiency savings being demanded of it.
She said: “Too often technology is viewed as 'other' by nurses. Technologists walk into the room and nurses walk out. That cannot be sustained; it is not good for nursing.”
Implementing new IT systems often has a huge impact on practice and in the past managers had underestimated the effort and expense needed to support nurses through this change, Dr Hamer argued.
And while there is a small group of nurses that is taking on the informatics challenge, there are too few of them at the moment, she said.
“There are a few nursing directors in trusts who understand this and have appointed strong senior nurses to this forward and often it comes on the back of the patient safety or patient experience agendas,” she added.
“We need to upgrade our thinking in this area. We need some really exciting leadership in this space.”
Dr Hamer has been studying the emerging role of chief nursing information officer in the US, and argues that this is something the NHS should learn from.
As a result, she is a supporter of the EHI CCIO Campaign, which is urging every NHS provider organisation to consider appointing a chief clinical information officer to lead on IT and informatics issues.
In formulating the campaign, EHI deliberately chose not to adopt the more familiar title of chief medical information officer or CMIO, to emphasise that the role could be taken by clinical staff other than doctors.
There is more information about the campaign on the EHI CCIO Campaign pages. These now include a petition that EHI readers can sign to bolster support for the campaign.
There is a full interview with Dr Hamer in the Insight section, in which she discusses the value of a chief nursing information officer role, and how it might differ from that of a chief medical officer.
© 2011 EHealth Media.
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