by Sara Nelson – 23rd December, 2019

Read a comment from Sara Nelson, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Programme Director and NHS nurse, celebrating 100 years of nursing being registered as a profession in the UK. 

On this day 100 years ago, nursing in the UK became a registered profession. I started my nursing career over 27 years ago and although I am not currently on the front line, I strongly believe I have and always will be a nurse. It is a part of who I am; my commitment to helping people, wanting to make a difference and being a part of the NHS are all things that drive me. I remember how proud I was the day I qualified as a nurse. I had wanted to be a nurse since before I can remember and as a teenager I was a St John Ambulance volunteer providing first aid support at football matches and large events.

When I started as a nurse there was very little digital technology in the NHS. I remember being far more scared of the first computer that came into a ward I was working in, than of the life and death situation of our patients. I knew how to look after patients, I was confident I could nurse. The fear of not knowing how this big computer would impact my work and my patients is something that I felt then and is still very real for nurses and other clinicians in the NHS today. It just arrived in our ward one day with no real explanation. Today, as Programme Director for the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator Programme, I am learning lots about the exciting innovations that have the potential to save lives, help NHS staff and improve services. However, a good innovation is only effective if the NHS and more often than not that means nurses, are involved in the implementation process and understand how and why digital technology can benefit their patients.

I feel passionately that we need more nurses involved in digital technology within our NHS and health care system. Nurses have a unique and important understanding of the practicalities, opportunities and limitations of our health care system and how digital technologies can operate within it.

On this celebration of 100 years of nursing being recognised as a profession, I’d like to thank all of our nurses for the work they do, especially at this time of year when shifts can be long and being at work can be hard but also rewarding.

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