England's chief nurse backs call for CNIO in every provider – Nursing Times

‘This is a situation that cannot go on indefinitely’
15 March, 2022 By
The chief nursing officer of England has today pledged her support for every healthcare organisation to have a chief nursing information officer (CNIO).
Ruth May said the move would give the profession “the voice, the coordination and the network” to make some big changes within the digital sphere.
“I would like to see in every organisation a chief nursing information officer”
Ruth May
Her comments came during the inaugural Digital Nursing Summit at the Digital Health Rewired conference being held in London this week.
The summit includes a range of panel sessions on digital transformation, technology-enabled pathways for nursing care and networking and leadership in digital healthcare.
During a keynote address earlier today, Ms May said it was a “great honour to be celebrating nursing in the digital world”.
She highlighted the crucial role of digital and data in nursing and the power these tools held to enact change.
For example, she looked back to when national data on nursing vacancies was first published some years ago and revealed 40,000 nurse shortages.
“That led to complete transparency about the number of vacancies, and it led then to sizable actions,” said Ms May.
She went as far to claim that she believed the publishing of vacancy data was one element which “drove the government” to introduce the £5,000 maintenance grant for nursing students in England in 2020.
“I am passionate, and I feel very strongly that if we use digital, if we use data, to give us that information, we can change the world and that’s what I’m hoping that we’ll continue to do for nursing,” added Ms May.
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It was in April 2020 that the first national CNIO, Dr Natasha Phillips, was appointed.
Ms May said she was “very pleased” to have been able to appoint Dr Phillips, while recognising there were also now “lots” of local CNIOs across the health service.
“But I would like to see in every organisation a chief nursing information officer because I think that will give us the voice, the coordination and the network for us to make some bigger, bigger changes,” she added.
As part of Nursing Times’ March 2022 edition of the magazine, we spoke with several digital nurse leaders, including Dr Philips, who are also calling for this move.
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Also at today’s conference, new guidance was launched for board-level nurses accountable for digital transformation to help understand what NHSX’s What Good Looks Like (WGLL) framework means for nurses.
The wider WGLL framework was first published in 2021 and is aimed at all NHS leaders on how integrated care systems and organisations can work to best support care through digital transformation.
Sonia Patel, system chief information officer at NHS England, who was involved in the development of the new Guidance for Nursing on What Good Looks Like, spoke today about how the new document was “key to guiding, advising and delivering” digital programmes within nursing, such as virtual wards and supporting patients and the public with use of the NHS App and implementation of electronic patient records.
“My hopes are that this guidance empowers the nursing profession with confidence to take a seat at the table, when implementing digital transformation, to make a real change for our frontline staff, patients and citizens,” said Ms Patel.
Her “call to action” was for nursing colleagues to use this guidance as a “platform to level up” on this agenda.

Sonia Patel at Digital Health Rewired 2022
Also speaking at the conference was chief nurse at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Andrea Lewis.
Ms Lewis said the aim of the guidance was to “influence and lead the culture change of digital transformation across the whole of the nursing workforce to support and improve clinical practice, patient safety, data quality and workflow and subsequently improving the delivery and quality of joined up care across NHS systems”.
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