'I want to inspire others to embrace digital technology' – Nursing Times

‘This is a situation that cannot go on indefinitely’
04 November, 2022
Midwife Dawn Cross, who is a Florence Nightingale digital maternity leadership fellow, spoke to Nursing Times about why she enjoys working in digital technology
“I am a midwife who has secured a Florence Nightingale digital maternity leadership fellowship. The fellowship lasts a year and as part of this I am working at NHS England with the national digital maternity team. We are working with maternity units to support them with the digital transformation of their services.”
“No two days are the same. I am involved in multiple projects incorporating strategy, leadership and professionalisation of the clinical informatics role, in which I bring a frontline perspective to the table. I am part of a collaborative group that has developed a bespoke Digital Maternity Leaders course with Imperial College London, and I chair an ongoing oversight group for this project. I am also involved in refreshing the Digital Maternity Record Standards and, as part of my fellowship, I am working on a project around professionalisation of the digital midwife specialist.”
“When I was seven my mum was pregnant with my sister. I attended an antenatal appointment with her, and I observed everything very closely. The midwife asked, “little girl, would you like to hear your baby sister’s heart beating?”, and then I was suddenly listening to my baby sister’s heartbeat through what I now know is a Pinard stethoscope, and that was it, that was the moment I knew I wanted to be a midwife.”
“I’ve always enjoyed technology and I’m amazed at how using it can make everyday life easier. Digital technology is having a huge impact on maternity services. It is increasing the amount of time we spend caring for women and birthing people who demand digital resources to support their pregnancy journey and, as such, maternity services have responded by embracing digital technology and embarking on a journey of transformation. I knew this was a journey I wanted to be a part of.”
“Without a doubt, the women using maternity services have had, and continue to have, the biggest impact on my career. They are what drive my determination to be the best midwife I can be.”
“Becoming the first midwife to secure a Florence Nightingale digital leadership fellowship. This prestigious year-long fellowship is one of experiential learning and discovery. It is enabling me to experience working at national level with the digital maternity team.”
“I hope to inspire colleagues to become Florence Nightingale fellows. I hope to put my new knowledge and skills to good use at the end of the year by continuing to work as a midwife leader in the digital space, approaching all I do with a systems thinking approach. I want to inspire others to embrace digital technology and continue to be a voice for frontline clinicians and women in the digital space.”
“Pursue your dreams. I would advise them to look at digital leadership roles within their trust and look at the transferable skills they have. The NHS is on a journey of digital transformation that is gaining speed and momentum, so don’t wait a moment longer, come and join us!”
Name: Dawn Cross
Job title: Florence Nightingale digital midwife fellow
Employer: Transformation Directorate, NHS England
Salary (or range/band): Band 8a
Average hours worked: 37.5 hours
Career history: Staff midwife (6 years); clinical lead for transitional care (3 years); labour ward coordinator (9 years); member of the Digital Midwives Expert Reference Group (4 years and counting); intrapartum midwife (3 years)
Qualifications: Diploma in Midwifery; currently studying for MSc in Healthcare Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence
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