Guest blog by Professor Wendy Dearing, Dean of the Institute of Management and Health at the University of Wales Trinity St David
In April 2021, the Welsh Nursing Care Record (WNCR) went live across a number of Welsh health boards and trusts. It allows nurses in adult inpatient settings to complete an online assessment form at a patient’s bedside. In a move away from paper-based form filling, the aim is to save time, improve accuracy, and minimise duplication.
Long before the go-live a chance coffee conversation (just before lockdown) on lessons learn to-date, started to germinate some thoughts that have culminated in a new masters programme. In those early days of planning, eligible nurses from across all the Health Boards in Wales were encouraged to apply for a digital secondment to support the implementation but the initial uptake was very low, that is very different now, at least two nurses per health board are working in this space.
Some of the reasons for the lack of applications were “I thought you had to be techy”, “I don’t understand the language that is used”, “what career options are there if I take this post”, “how will my CPD be supported” and “what support will be given”.
This led me as the then Head of Workforce and Organisational Development for NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS), now Digital Health and Care Wales, to talk to colleagues at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), where I was a Professor of Practice, about what support could we offer.
Fast forward to September 2020 when I accepted the position as Dean of the Institute of Management and Health (IMH) and have led the programme development. It has been developed in collaboration with the Wales Institute for Digital Information (WIDI) and NHS Wales professionals. WIDI is a strategic partnership between the University of Wales Trinity St David, University of South Wales and Digital Health and Care Wales. This partnership is a key driver for enhancing the digital workforce for the Health and Care Sector within Wales.
The first course of its kind in Wales, this postgraduate course enhances the skills of Health and Social Care staff. This course is suited to those who have an interest in expanding and working within the digital landscape of health and care delivery using the strap line.
“Shaping the workforce that spearheads the Health & Care Digital Revolution”
The curriculum has been underpinned by both the Core Competency Framework for Clinical Informaticians and the Federation of Informatics Practitioners.
The University’s expertise in digital health information and data management as part of WIDI sees the launch of the master’s programme with 60 places fully-funded by the Welsh Government in years 1 and 2.
Eluned Morgan, MS, Minister for Health and Social Services said via a video address: “It is vital that we invest in the skills we need for the future. This programme and the recognition of the professionalism required in digital roles in health and social care in Wales is an essential part of this. I really welcome the joint work that has been undertaken to develop these important qualifications – by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the Wales Institute of Digital Information, Health Education and Improvement Wales and Welsh Government.”