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Co-produced toolkit for safeguarding staff wellbeing during digital healthcare transformation

UK survey and co-produced resources to support staff wellbeing during the transformation of nursing practice arising from the digitisation of healthcare.

Read comments 8
  • Shortlisted idea
  • 2022

Meet the team


  • Core team:
  • Vanessa Heaslip, Associate Professor, Bournemouth University
  • Lorna Chesterton, Researcher, MMU
  • Advisory Board:
  • Tracy Campbell, Deputy Director of Nursing Professional Standards, Safeguarding and Assurance,
  • Clinical Nurse (TBC)
  • Louisa Way, Head of Clinical Practice & Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO)
  • Natasha Phillips, NHSx CNIO
  • PPI representative (TBC)
  • Q SIG members (TBC)

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

Covid-19 has driven the implementation of digital healthcare at pace. This includes recommendations highlighted by the Topol Review (2019), illustrating the possibilities of innovative approaches to care through digitisation. WHO (2021) argues the strategic, innovative use of digital technologies is essential for achieving Universal Health Coverage , but digitisation of healthcare has profound implications for the workforce (Topol, 2019). Since Topol there has been investment in developing the digital leadership infrastructure but there has been less focus on equipping the wider nursing workforce (HEE, 2020) and nurses have faced challenges in keeping up to date with the pace of digitisation (Booth, 2021). Nurses are not a homogenous group but include people of different ages, ethnicity, disability; which are population groups known nationally to experience digital inequality (Honeyman et al, 2020). As such it is important to understand and work with nurses to enable them to embrace this new aspect of their role.

What does your project aim to achieve?

Aim: To use nurses’ experiences of how Covid-19 driven digitisation has changed their role, digital confidence and capability, to enhance future nursing practice in different settings.

Objectives: To;

·  explore nurses’ experiences of the benefits/challenges of digitally enhanced practice

·  examine nurses’ perceptions of how digitisation could help transform their practice now and in the future

·  co-produce a toolkit for employers to use when implementing digitally enabled nursing services

Only 46% of staff felt their organisation was effective in supporting staff to develop digital capabilities; nurses can see the benefits of digitisation but there is a significant gap between the vision and nurses/midwives readiness to deliver it (RCN, 2018). Digitisation can lead to fatigue-related techno stress (Kahunita et al 2015) resulting in a negative impact on staff wellbeing. Using a co-production framework enables intended beneficiaries to exert maximum influence on the project to ensure relevance and effectiveness to optimise the impact on staff wellbeing.

How will the project be delivered?

A two-step methodology combining complex adaptive systems and co-production approaches.

1.      UK online survey exploring Registered Nurses’ experiences of how Covid-19 driven digitisation has changed their nursing role and digital confidence and capability. Deployed through social media and established national nursing and quality improvement networks this survey includes rating scale and open questions, and analysis will use SPSS and thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2022).

2.      Co-production with frontline nurses (n=6), NHSx (n=1), Trust digitisation leads (n=2), Q Digitalisation Group representative (n=1) meeting 3 times to:

a. review findings and identify key issues from national survey

b. draft toolkit, including: recommendations for digital policy development and improvement, illustrative case studies/personas, ‘top tips’/quick guide.

c. present draft toolkit to national stakeholder event (including: frontline and executive nurses, national leaders in digital enablement, NHSx, Trust digitisation leads, Q community). This event will provide a wider check/challenge of the toolkit, ensuring relevance and supporting dissemination.

How is your project going to share learning?

We will share outcomes/outputs and our learning from the process at a community and/or SIG event; and provide a report.

The national stakeholder check and challenge event will promote shared learning regarding the impact of digitalisation on the workforce and co-designed principles to inform policy and practice. System-wide learning will also be facilitated by:

– sharing the findings and resources with NHSx, other national organisations and networks;

– hosting a national workshop/learning event (eg NHSx or NHS Digital Academy) to raise awareness and develop shared actions;

– making available a re-usable survey tool for organisations to explore the digitisation experiences of their own staff to assist forward planning;

– presenting at SIGMA (international nursing scholarship society) (project team membership)

– incorporating the lessons learned into WHO Europe digital healthcare flagship programme the project team are contributing to.

– publishing papers in academic and professional journals.

How you can contribute

  • We welcome:
  • comments and suggestions on the relevance and value of the project and how it might be improved
  • potential collaborators and/or advocates for the idea, particularly Q members to sit on the project Advisory Board eg from Digital, Evaluation and Co-production SIGs
  • participation in the toolkit co-design, national stakeholder engagement and dissemination process.

Plan timeline

15 Jun 2022 Project set up, ethical approval, online UK survey preparation
14 Jul 2022 UK online survey implementation and analysis, co-design workshops preparation
2 Oct 2022 Co-design workshops, production draft toolkit/outputs; preparation for national check/challenge event
10 Jan 2023 National check/challenge event; iteration and production final outputs and report
1 Mar 2023 Reporting and dissemination activities


  1. Thankyou to everyone who has 'liked' or voted for our project so far - it's extremely helpful to have your feedback as we continue to refine the project to maximise its design and impact. We remain open to further feedback and contact from colleagues who might want to contribute to the project as part of the Advisory Group/co-production process.

    The potential wider impact for this project and the Q Community/Exchange outside the UK too is doubly exciting, due to a pathway to impact that has opened up via a separate digitisation of healthcare project the team are already working on with the World Health Organisation.

    Fellow Qs please vote if you haven't done so already and good luck to all shortlisted projects - I found it so difficult to choose just 5!

  2. Great idea.  Changes to IT systems can be problematic. Supporting staff really important. Good luck!

  3. From experience in previous roles of working with nursing workforce, I think this is a great idea on how to support them with digital transformation. You've got one of my votes :)


    1. Thanks so much for the feedback Michelle - and for giving us one of your votes. If we get the funding it would be great to have you involved. Gillian

  4. Voting is open and we're getting a 'lot of love' for this project from colleagues in a range of specialities and HC settings - not all Q Members but very encouraging that this is a project worth voting for nonetheless. Contact me for any further information you might need before casting your votes and good luck to all the shortlisted projects. Gillian

  5. I appreciate this topic for improvement; to me it addresses an underserved aspect of transformation (I'm also a fan of thematic analysis and the work of Braun & Clarke!).

    1. Many thanks for your feedback Julian.

  6. We're thrilled this project has been shortlisted and are looking forward to refining it with this community. Please get in touch if you are interested in working with us or have suggestions for enhancing our current plans.

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