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My Story as a Digital Medicines Nurse

My name is Irvin. I currently work as a Digital Medicines Nurse focusing on Electronic Medication Administration Records for Portsmouth Hospital University NHS Trust. I have been working in the NHS since 2017 in the field of Acute Medicine and Clinical Research.

What's your typical day like?

My typical day would involve collaboration and support for all end-users through discussions and EPMA software and hardware demo.

It also includes workshops to discuss a range of topics from workflows, training and even clinical safety of clinical system applications. All of which will require multiple revisions to get that and sometimes elusive stamps of approval.

Often, it would be a lot of meetings and engagements. However, once in a while, the role would require me to join a shift in a clinical area to get a feel of what really happens. Some people may call this a "Gemba Walk" but for me it is wearing the end-user’s shoes.

My experience as a Clinical Nurse and also as a member of the IT Team places me in a position to be a good liaison most often but not all the time with their nature to be antithetical worlds.

Why did you choose this area of nursing?

When I was in the Philippines I was exposed to how systems can improve the way nurses work and how data can improve clinical outcomes. For this reason, I fell in love with Data Analytics and System Implementation. This field might look like it’s an IT job, but really it’s a job that is patient centric as any nursing job.

What does it mean to be a Digital Medicines Nurse?

The term "digital" equates to using certain technologies such as Clinical Information Systems to improve healthcare delivery. Together with our internal customers which are the end-users, from doctors to nurses and allied health professionals, my goal is to bridge the IT gap, whether it be the system, process or people.

What qualities and skills does a Digital medicines nurse should possess and acquire in the process?

Aside from becoming a member of the UK Faculty of Clinical Informatics, I have also taken a Health Informatics Course from De La Salle University and some additional training with Python Programming from the London IT Academy.

I have finished the first part of the Clinical Safety Officer Training which is a specialised course from NHS Digital for anyone implementing Clinical IT products and plan to finish the second face to face. I am also writing a thesis for a Master’s Degree which I'm hoping to finish soon that is focused on Electronic Health Record and User Acceptability related to Technology Acceptance Model.

Being one of the first few cohorts in the Southeast who finished the Stepping Up Programme for Black, Asian and Minor Ethnicities in the NHS Leadership Academy also helped me gain so much insight about leadership and this has also opened so many opportunities for me.

I have a very good MS Excel, IBM SPSS and other data software skills and love data analytics. I have a good background in graphics and web design where in fact, I often freelance on small projects.

The skills can all be learned but being a Digital Medicines Nurse means you should always be happy to help your colleagues even with something as simple as setting up their email on their phones. In this field, it is vital that you enjoy teaching others.

How were you able to get this job?

After working in one of the NHS Trusts here in England for almost 3 and a half years from being an AMU Staff Nurse to Clinical Research Nurse, I just decided that it was time for me to do what I really love.

Additionally, I think having the educational background in Health Informatics Certificate and Python courses and the experience with Health IT Project Implementation help me get the job.

Do you think you are making a difference as a nurse in this field? How?

Yes, I chose this field because I am a supporter of technology in healthcare. I think nursing should be ready with whatever is next in Health IT. The more we embrace technology, all of which come with its own caveats, the better we can be in delivering effective care to our patients.

What are the benefits of working as a digital medicines nurse?

Aside from working with the clinical team, you will also connect with the Pharmacy and IT teams. Being in different fields altogether only gives you a better perspective of the system.

It also helps me harness my skills as a leader and an agent for change- where it’s not just about an introduction of a new technology but rather an opportunity to transform the workplace.

What are the challenges of a Digital Medicines Nurse?

In this field, you can experience resistance from people. Sometimes this resistance or concerns are rooted more from fear rather than supposedly a divergent attempt to avoid change. At times, it can be challenging to explain the vision to doubtful minds. However, it can also be quite rewarding when you help them see and appreciate the possibilities. Like what my EPMA Lead would say,” There are so many hearts and minds involved in my role as a Digital Medicines Nurse”.

How would you convince other nurses to consider a role as a Digital Medicines Nurse?

I think you should have the knack for tech. It will require patience, determination and a lot of courage. Heading towards a Digital Health role is something that would require focus as technology is as dynamic as the nursing profession.

It is very rewarding to see once you have deployed a Clinical Information System that improve workflow, help gather insight, improve patient experience and health outcome.

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