NHSX has appointed Sara Nelson as deputy chief nursing information officer for the organisation.

A registered nurse for 29 years and a graduate of the NHS Digital Academy Nelson brings with her a wealth of digital experience.

She joins from her role as deputy programme director of DigitalHealth.London leading the digital pioneer fellowship, and previously programme director of the accelerator.

Nelson was also senior nurse for digital at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

She has achieved her post graduate diploma in Digital Healthcare Leadership through the NHS Digital Academy and is currently undertaking her MSc dissertation to identify the key factors for a successful CNIO.

“This new national deputy CNIO role signifies the growing recognition of nursing and midwifery involvement in digital health. I feel privileged to take up this role working as part of NHSX with the CNIO Natasha Phillips and the CNO team to shape the future of nursing at this pivotal time,” Nelson said.

“I am one of the many nurses and midwives who did not have computers or technology, as we now know it, when we started and I have seen real benefits to staff and patients, when technology is brought in correctly and is well designed with consideration of patients and staff.

“This has led me to move away from the traditional nursing leadership roles and towards increasing my understanding of technology and the commercial sectors – growing my knowledge of the barriers and opportunities we can elicit.

“I am looking forward to understanding how we can work together nationally, regionally and in our organisations to bring together that collective voice that listens and learns and is not afraid to speak up.”

Under Nelson’s leadership the DigitalHealth.London digital pioneer fellowship and accelerator grew in size. The Accelerator also saw an increase in applications from digital innovators identifying as BAME and was recognised as one of the top eight accelerator programmes for women founders in Europe.

Dr Natasha Phillips, CNIO at NHSX, said: “Sara’s appointment by NHSX is another important milestone in the establishment of a strong nursing and midwifery digital leadership community – one which is vital to ensure a nursing and midwifery voice at all levels of digital transformation across the system.

“The breadth of experience and track record across digital innovation that Sara brings with her is outstanding and I am delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Nelson began the role part time on 11 January and will be full time from March.

Nelson recently, and very kindly, stepped in at the last minute to take part in the Digital Health Unplugged Christmas Quiz of the Year on our CNIO team.

She joined Jo Dickson, chair of Digital Health’s CNIO Network, who both went on to win the quiz. You can take a listen to the episode here.