In the autumn we introduced Professor Louise Hicks, Chief Nursing Information Officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, who talked about her career and what motivates her. Here Louise talks about why Digital Nursing is so rewarding and offers some great advice on how to get into it. (16 January 2023)
Why did you get into the digital field?
I got into the digital field because I’m intensely committed to outstanding care and improving outcomes for patients and communities. I was in a development and improvement role and had the opportunity to use digital transformation to not only enhance quality and reduce variation, but also to create a strong nursing voice for change.
I’m passionate about making a difference for the communities we serve. Being able to use information to transform healthcare and services for the common good is a real motivator. Working with strong multi-professional teams to solve complex problems is great and very productive.
Information is key to making great clinical decisions and empowering patients. It can help us do things faster, with more accuracy and enable us to be very focused. Clinical informatics and digital transformation also bring together people, technology and solutions to deliver fabulous change.
Another strong motivator was at the start of our nursing digital transformation journey when people said “you’ll never be able to do this”. As a team at Barts Health we have been able to take forward all that we set out to do and more. We have a strong team who were finalists at RCN team of the year 2022.
What’s been your proudest moment in digital?
It’s hard to choose just one, here are my top three:
- Working with the ‘We Connect’ team to develop and implement the Nursing electronic records. The spirit of positivity and impact it has had has been phenomenal. I am so proud to work with an amazing and talented nursing informatics team at Barts Health which our CCIO describes as a team for whom “no mission is impossible.” We were finalists in the RCN 2022 awards for Team of the Year.
- Seeing the five Barts Health Shuri Fellows graduate cohort 1. Their strengths in taking forward the digital journey and building on the support of the fellowship has been fabulous and inspiring.
- Very proud to have been awarded Digital Health CNIO of the Year 2022. It’s a great recognition of nursing informatics across the UK. I was overwhelmed with the award – it means so much to me, to Barts Health and to North East London. This achievement is because of the support of a great ‘We Connect’ team, CIO, CCIO and clinical leaders such as the CNO and CMO team and hospitals.
What advice do you have for any nurses thinking about moving into the digital field?
Go for it!
There are different roles and opportunities to get involved from everyday digital quality improvement projects to formal leadership roles.
Think about the skills and talents you would bring to the role and specific leadership and transformation needed. Not all digital leaders or CNIOs are the same – we bring particular unique talents to the role and can use them to achieve what’s needed.
Enjoy! It’s a brilliant career opportunity. It can be called different things in different places so when you are looking for roles be sure to look widely.
Here are a few tips – not in a specific order.
Tip 1: Explore the networks like Digital Health and the Faculty of Clinical Informatics
Tip 2: Follow the Digital CNIO Network on twitter and explore ideas and connections @DHCNIO
Tip 3: Get involved with events like webinar, round tables and summer school
Tip 4: Talk through your career plans with your CNIO (or other CNIOs) or other digital transformation leaders
Tip 5: Talk to your Director of Nursing or CNO – explore opportunities and make your aspirations known
Tip 6: Consider a digital fellowship of equivalent like Florence Nightingale Digital Fellowship, Digital Health London Pioneer Fellowship programme , The Shuri Network Midwifery and Nursing Fellowships
Tip 7: Get a mentor and or coach – last year the Digital Health CNIO Advisory Panel launched a mentor scheme. Or shadow a CNIO and CCIO to explore different models and ideas
Tip 8: Learn – set yourself a development plan, explore opportunities to enhance your skills, integrate this in your annual appraisal and personal development plan
Tip 9: Get involved in your organisation by developing relationships with your IT leadership or your system provider who might offer development opportunities
Tip 10: Decide what you feel passionate about and get involved in a digital transformation programme of work in this area to test it out