Salford scheme to boost the digital skills of future nurses up for prestigious UK award

Categories: School of Health and Society

A team who are improving the digital healthcare skills of nursing students have been shortlisted for one of the profession’s top accolades. 

The University of Salford Digital Skills Passport (DiSkPass) nursing team (pictured below), based at the University of Salford, has been selected from 920 entries as finalists in the FuturU-sponsored Digital Innovation category of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Nursing Awards 2023

The University of Salford DiSkPass has so far empowered 2,000 nursing students (and continues to provide training to all nursing students) to embrace technology and put themselves at the forefront of digital innovation and leadership in healthcare. It has been co-designed and implemented by a team of nurses, supported by social and digital scientists, with input from nursing students and patients. 

The DiSkPass forms a key part of a Salford curriculum informed by developments in digital healthcare and nursing practice. It meets Nursing and Midwifery Council standards and the current Digital Capabilities Frameworks. A study looking at students’ confidence found that DiSk Pass improved practical competence and led to increased digital confidence and boosting of technical skills. The project was also previously shortlisted at the national Student Nursing Times Awards.

Matthew Wynn, registered nurse and Lecturer in Digital Health and Society at the University of Salford, said: “Our nomination highlights the importance of equipping nurses with essential digital skills for the future of healthcare. It instils a deep sense of professional pride, and validates our belief that empowering nurses is crucial for transforming patient care and navigating the dynamic healthcare landscape.” 

Dr Cristina Vasilica, Reader in Digital Health and Head of Digital Engagement in the university’s School of Health and Society, who is leading the implementation of the DiSkPass programme across the school, said: “Completion of the DiSkPass programme requires students to not only gain new practical digital skills, but to examine their beliefs and understanding about what it means to deliver healthcare in a digital age. 

“It is fantastic to be shortlisted for this award, and my thanks and congratulations go to the interdisciplinary team who co-produced and support DiSkPass, including colleagues Matthew Wynn, Dr Lisa Garwood-Cross, Dr Dilla Davis, Neil Withnell, Elizabeth Burns, Kyle Charnley, students Freda Beenstock and Karolina Staniecka and Rob Finnigan, who brings the service user expertise and all our students who embraced DiSkPass.”

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: “Our inspiring finalists demonstrate the very best of nursing and what can be achieved in some of the challenging times for the profession.  

“They highlight the wide variety of ways nurses improve the care of people at all stages of life and how they demonstrate their professionalism and clinical excellence every day, and in every setting, throughout the UK.” 

The Foundation of Nursing Studies is the award’s charity partner this year. Its chief executive and current chair of the judging panel Joanne Bosanquet MBE said: “The quality of entries this year was superb and it was near impossible to choose our finalists from the creative and innovative work submitted.   

“The shortlist showcases excellence and recognises the enormous difference that nurses make to people’s lives throughout the UK.” 

The award winners will be announced at a ceremony on Friday 10 November at Liverpool Cathedral. The RCN Nursing Awards will this year be held alongside the inaugural Nursing Live, the first event of its kind for the sector, which will focus on both the professional and personal development of nurses at every stage of their careers. 

DiSkPass team

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.