“There is no denying the delivery of health care is changing, in large part due to technological advances,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.
“Digital health has the potential to bring about vast improvements in how healthcare is delivered, where people can access quality care, and health outcomes. This potential can only be realised if we have a workforce that is ready to adopt digital health tools and services and maximise the benefits.
“The goal of the Capability Framework is to ensure the nursing workforce can confidently utilise digital health technologies.”
ACN was represented on the Framework’s Advisory Committee by Adjunct Associate Professor Naomi Dobroff FACN, Chair of the ACN Nurse Informatics Community of Interest and Aaron Jones, Chair of the ACN Chief Nursing Information Officer Community of Interest.
“This work gives everyone involved in healthcare a guide as to the skills and knowledge nurses and midwives need to deliver health in a digital world,” Adjunct Professor Dobroff explained.
“I am particularly pleased a Framework specific to nurses and midwives has been developed not only because our profession makes up over 50 per cent of Australia’s health workforce, but because it recognises the leadership role nurses and midwives have.
“Nurses and midwives play a critical role in ensuring that clinical information and communication systems are designed and used to deliver high quality, coordinated care to Australians across all aspects of the patient journey.
“The Framework outlines the capabilities each of us as individual professionals, our workplaces and our educational organisations, such as ACN, who are required to extend our digital health development to develop all nurses.”
Reflecting the nursing profession’s enthusiasm for adoption of technology and innovation, the Australian College of Nursing has added a specific digital health unit to some of its Nursing Graduate Certificate courses. Learning outcomes include being able to appraise how clinical communication occurs in a digitalised health care system.
“In terms of technology take-up, nurses are vital, but more importantly we need nurses to take a leadership role, which is a domain in the Framework, in order to make sure digital health successfully enhances patient care,” Adjunct Professor Ward said.
“Technology cannot replicate the complex and holistic care provided by nurses, but it can help expand the profession’s scope of practice and delivery of best practice care to all Australians.
“Nurses provide care all day, every day, across every care setting and are best placed to assist in reimagining the delivery of healthcare aided by technology.
“Therefore, we commend the Framework and look forward to playing a role in making sure it inspires broader digital expertise within the nursing profession by providing free online educational resources at the foundational level of learning to all nurses and midwives on the ACN website next year.”