Nursing my way through the Topol Digital Fellowship: Part one
Published on 26 June 2023, by Lorna Currey
Hear from Lorna Currey, an Emergency Department Staff Nurse and Digital Champion, about the start of her journey as a Topol Digital Fellow.
When Cohort 4 of the Topol Digital Fellowship officially launched on 26 April 2023, I walked into the International Convention Centre (ICC) Birmingham feeling pretty confident about my project plan for addressing communication challenges in the Emergency Department (ED) at Northampton General Hospital. After all, the application process felt like a mini project in itself, and I assumed things would naturally progress from there. Little did I know, the first few weeks of the programme would completely change my outlook.
The in-person launch event was a fantastic opportunity for me to engage with other Fellows and hear about the diverse range of digital transformation projects being undertaken in health and social care this year. It also gave me an opening to talk about mine, something I hadn’t done since my interview in January. I’d definitely become a little too comfortable with my initial concept, so it was great to be quizzed and challenged on it! By the end of the day, my mind was brimming with ideas and a renewed sense of optimism about my project.
One of the most eye-opening experiences in the last few weeks was TPXimpact’s virtual workshop on design thinking and agile methodology. Through interactive exercises and engaging discussions, I discovered the power of problem reframing and it has been game-changing for me. I have since questioned my initial assumptions about the communication problems I perceived to exist in our ED and realised that there are many alternative approaches. This first workshop has been invaluable, not just for my project but also my day-to-day work and I have found myself using these newly learned techniques for most problems I encounter. It's amazing how a slight shift in perspective can open up new possibilities.
As someone who doesn't consider mathematics their strong suit, I was feeling a little intimidated by the Machine Learning course and had some initial reservations about how I could apply the knowledge in my nursing role. However, I was captivated by the discussions around data science and immediately found myself tumbling down a rabbit-hole of self-directed study, eagerly exploring the intricacies of data analysis and its application in nursing for improving patient care. I’m a long way from feeling capable of implementing a Machine Learning algorithm, but at least I no longer believe it's entirely out of reach for me. I’m looking forward to developing my skills in this field as the course progresses and will be approaching it with a more curious mindset.
The recent masterclass, led by Andy Kinnear, reinforced my belief in the importance of early and ongoing involvement with the people who will be directly impacted by implementation of a digital solution; a fitting follow-up to TPXimpact’s focus on user-centred design. True value is realised when we prioritise the end-users needs and ensure the technology aligns with their requirements. I will keep these principles in mind throughout my Topol project and beyond.
Reflecting on these last few weeks, it's been a humbling experience and stark reminder that growth happens when we step out of our comfort zones. The Topol Digital Fellowship is providing me with the tools and opportunities to do just that and I’ll continue sharing my progress on this transformative journey.
Page last reviewed: 22 September 2023
Next review due: 25 June 2024