The chair of the CNIO Network has called on her fellow digital nurses to “be a stronger voice” to help “drive and influence” the agenda.

Speaking on the last day of the Autumn Leadership Summit, Sarah Hanbridge, who is CCIO Nursing and AHP [allied health professional] at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, outlined where she sees the nursing Network going in the future.

“We need to start to be a stronger force and be a bit more vocal to feedback to national teams,” she told the audience in Birmingham.

Hanbridge, who was elected as chair in July 2021, also said she wants CNIOs to “drive and influence the agenda” and urged them to “be brave” and not to be afraid to stand out.

She spoke of her hope that the three Networks (CIO, CCIO and CNIO) will work more closely together in the future and look to “join up all the digital dots”.

Strengthening the national voice 

Alongside Hanbridge were Dr James Reed, chair of the Digital Health CCIO Network, and Lisa Emery, chair of the Digital Health CIO Network.

Reed and Emery also stressed the need for the Networks to strengthen their voice to challenge and influence national policy.

“We are a trusted voice but seen to be independent, which I think is good,” Reed said.

“I think we have a role to fill here”

Emery added that digital leaders need to be empowered to get involved in national policy.

“Let’s let people take some safe risks and get into that space and develop those skills, that’s something I’m quite interested in looking at,” she said.

To do that, Reed encouraged members of the Networks to “maximise use” of Discourse – Digital Health’s communication channel for Network members – which he says provides an opportunity to “learn from everybody at all stages”.

“My aspiration is that the people who are coming in now are able to do more than what we were able to do,” he said.

The panel session rounded off the two-day Autumn Leadership Summit, which took place on 7 and 8 October 2021.

Attendees heard from a number of keynotes – including digitalisation guru, Tom Loosemore, NHSX’s CIO, Sonia Patel and NHS Digital’s chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Benger.

There was also the conclusion of the Digital Health Awards 2021 as the winners were finally announced.