The benefits of working in a professional, diverse, digital team

  • 18 June 2024
The benefits of working in a professional, diverse, digital team

No clinical informatician should work in isolation. Bringing digital midwives into the wider digital team is better for everyone, writes Jennifer Mearns in the third of our four-part series on effective NMAHP teams

Key messages:

  • Professional diversity enhances knowledge, skills, collaboration, efficiency, and innovation in digital projects.
  • Professional diversity supports the maternity digital agenda and improves the quality of care for women and families.
  • Professional diversity should be encouraged and implemented in all trusts.

Traditionally, digital midwives have worked within maternity teams, usually within the structure of the governance team. They often work as lone practitioners or as part of a job share or small team with no one in a senior role who has clinical informatics knowledge or experience. This model may seem to suit the maternity team, in that it keeps a clinical member of staff within maternity. However, as some trusts are now experiencing, there are many benefits when digital midwives work alongside other clinical informaticians outside of maternity.

A new and emerging model is gaining traction: digital midwives working alongside other clinical informaticians within professionally diverse teams, usually with the chief nursing informatics officer as their line manager. These teams often sit within the wider digital team, working alongside the other trust digital teams, linking closely with their professional counterparts in each department.

Benefits of emerging model

There are numerous benefits to this emerging team structure model, both personally for the midwife and for the teams involved. For the individual, the extended professional network within the digital team, and the knowledge gained from working with other clinical informaticians, are invaluable. This networking can also be expanded beyond the trust to the ICS, regionally, and often nationally. Working within an experienced team brings a wealth of contacts.

Training courses relevant to a digital area of work are also more accessible within this model, as the importance and relevance of these courses is better understood. Learning from these courses is shared within the team for the benefit of all.

Working within this diverse, professional team provides valuable insights and learning from digital projects that have been implemented in other areas of the trust. It also provides a career pathway that a digital midwife working within maternity might not otherwise be exposed to.

There are also benefits for maternity. The digital midwife’s increased knowledge and skill can lead to smoother digital project rollouts, quicker implementations, and improve the support available to maternity staff.

No longer siloed

Knowledge of the maternity digital agenda is no longer siloed. There is continuity and support during times when the digital midwife is absent, and the maternity digital agenda is promoted on a wider scale within the digital team. The digital midwife gains an expanded network within the trust, making it quicker to resolve problems by directly addressing issues with the appropriate people; there is clear communication between digital and clinical teams.

This model protects the whole team from needing to work clinically outside of agreed hours, maintaining the pace of digital change and support in each area, including maternity. It also leads to a broader understanding of the maternity digital agenda within the digital team and a deeper level of understanding of the impact other changes within the trust can have on maternity. This deeper understanding of maternity benefits everyone involved and ensures smoother digital processes and working.

To summarise, working within a professionally diverse digital team leads to improved knowledge and skills for the individual and the team, enables smoother and quicker digital project implementations, gives a wider network and influence within the trust, and a better supported maternity digital agenda.

The benefits of working in a professionally diverse team extend to any clinical informatics post, not just digital midwives. I believe professionally diverse teams should be encouraged and implemented in all trusts.

Jennifer Mearns Jennifer Mearns is the senior digital midwifery informatics lead at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. A midwife for 18 years, she also chairs the South East Regional Digital Midwives Expert Reference Group. 

Explore the continuing evolution of nursing, midwifery and AHP roles in digital at Digital Health’s Summer Schools, 18-19 July. Find out more and register here

Read the previous articles in the series:

How to implement change: the crucial role of the digital clinical lead

What makes an effective digital NMAHP team

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign up

Related News

Workforce engagement is vital to the successful adoption of digital systems

Workforce engagement is vital to the successful adoption of digital systems

Appropriate engagement and support for clinical staff is not just fundamental to digital implementation, it is also essential post go-live and beyond, writes Fiona Mills…
How to implement change: the crucial role of the digital clinical lead

How to implement change: the crucial role of the digital clinical lead

In the second of our four-part series on effective NMAHP teams, Elaine Tustian looks at the crucial role of the digital clinical lead
An EPR supplier duopoly in the UK would stifle future innovation

An EPR supplier duopoly in the UK would stifle future innovation

Forget the big bang approach to EPR implementation - the financial constraints on NHS trusts make it dangerous to rely on the two big suppliers.…

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.