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New program to ensure nurses and midwives are at the forefront of digital health

Photo: New program to ensure nurses and midwives are at the forefront of digital health
A new professional development program has been launched to identify the necessary digital health capabilities for nurses and midwives to further improve the quality, safety and efficiency of care that they deliver.

The 2020 focus on nursing and midwifery in the digital age coincides with the World Health Organization’s International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

2020 is also 200 years since Florence Nightingale was born. Nightingale is widely regarded as the founder of modern nursing and the first nurse to document and analyse patient data, building the foundation for nursing informatics.

Nurses and midwives across Australia will now be consulted on the specific digital health skills they need, what is practical and relevant for them and how a draft digital health capability framework could be used in hospitals and health services as a professional development guide for nursing and midwifery in the digital world.
Consultation will start on 3 of February 2020 and will run for six weeks. Information on the program is available at the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) website.

Nurses and midwives are encouraged to provide their feedback by completing a survey or attending feedback sessions. They can also contact the project team by emailing workforce@hisa.org.au.

The professional development program is being undertaken by HISA in collaboration with the Australian Digital Health Agency as part of the National Digital Health Strategy’s commitment to building health workforce capability in digital health.

The consultation is being conducted in collaboration with the Australian College of Nursing, the Australian College of Midwives, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council, the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) and Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers representing Federal and State Government jurisdictions, along with other key stakeholders from across the nursing and midwifery sectors.

HISA CEO Dr Louise Schaper said “In the emerging field of digital health, nurses and midwives are at the forefront, combining knowledge, data, and technology to produce best possible outcomes for patients.”

“In this new program, nursing and midwifery organisations will be collaborating to create the first national framework to support nurses and midwives in an increasingly digital workplace, with all the challenges and opportunities that provides.”

“Our goal is to raise awareness among nurses and midwives of the value of digital health skills, the opportunities in the area, and the knowledge to improve quality of patient care.”

Dr Schaper said once consultation was complete, the final capability framework and resources would be launched at the Nursing Informatics global congress NI 2020 in Brisbane, on 27 – 29 July 2020.

Angela Ryan, the Agency’s Chief Clinical Information Officer and herself a Registered Nurse, said “Nurses and midwives are once again ensuring that they are at the centre of their educational and professional development so that they can deliver the best care possible.”

“This program will identify the specific skills nurses and midwives need for them to maximise the benefits for their patients from Australia’s digital health system.”

Chair of the Advisory Committee for the program Julie Reeves from the ANMF said “The ANMF is Australia’s largest union and professional nursing and midwifery organisation representing more than 275,000 nurses, midwives and care workers across the country.”

“We understand how important it is for our members to be skilled in the use of digital health tools and technology and see this as an opportunity to contribute to the ongoing development of our professions.”

This program follows the National Digital Health Workforce and Education Summit held in November 2019 in collaboration with the Digital Health CRC.

This Summit brought together leading academics, industry, policy makers and health and care workers nationally to discuss and collaborate on the draft National Digital Health Workforce and Education Roadmap, to support the Australian health workforce in the global transformation to a digital health future.

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