The framework enabling the digital capabilities of nurses and midwives

By Jane Allman
Friday, 12 February, 2021

The framework enabling the digital capabilities of nurses and midwives

2020 — Year of the Nurse and Midwife — was intended to be a global celebration of the critical and central role nurses and midwives play in health care. But a global pandemic saw celebration plans put on ice, as Australia’s largest healthcare workforce instead worked tirelessly in gruelling and unprecedented circumstances to fight for the lives of their patients.

Although celebratory plans were shelved, the value of nurses and midwives in our communities was brought into sharp focus — perhaps even more so than ever before. Frontline healthcare professionals, nurses and midwives have and are playing a leading role in Australia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nurses and midwives have been using technology to care for their patients for many years, but with the recent rapid expansion of technology in health care, the focus is on empowering nurses and midwives to lead the digital transformation of the health system.

The National Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework — developed by nurses and midwives in collaboration with the Australian Digital Health Agency, the Australasian Institute of Digital Health, and peak nursing bodies and leaders — helps nurses and midwives assess their digital capabilities and pursue professional development if needed.

The Framework highlights the specific skills and capabilities necessary to deliver contemporary care, focusing on digital professionalism; leadership and advocacy; data and information quality; information-enabled care; and technology.

The Framework follows the introduction of the National Digital Health Workforce and Education Roadmap, designed to help the Australian health workforce use technology and further drive the digital transformation of health services to meet community demand.

Chief Clinical Officer of the Australian Digital Health Agency Angela Ryan explained that the success of the Framework is evident from the interest expressed by international groups, who are seeking to adopt similar strategies in their own countries.

“We’ve had international engagement on how to interact with the nursing and midwifery workforce.

“Our next step is to implement the framework and put it to work in a variety of settings. One example is the Agency's work with Queensland’s Emerald community to connect healthcare providers to My Health Record and provide associated training that will benefit the community.

“As part of the Communities of Excellence Program, Emerald is being used as a model for building digital health communities across Australia.”

Angela Ryan spoke to Hospital + Healthcare about the importance of the Framework and the impact it will have on the digital and leadership capabilities of nurses and midwives in Australia.

Image credit: ©

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