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'Inspirational healthcare leader' wins national award for introducing digital champions for virtual ward

An “inspirational healthcare leader” has won a national award for promoting a digital app which has been used by more than 750 patients.

Emily with the Florence Nightingale Trophy

Emily, Jarvis, 26, senior sister on the virtual ward at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), was voted most innovative nurse at the Luscii Medical Developer Conference, winning the Luscinia Award. She was awarded the Florence Nightingale Trophy at the Royal Institute of Great Britain in London.

In her current role for just over 12 months, Emily was nominated for her idea to develop digital champions in the 38-strong virtual ward team she leads, based at Wolverhampton Science Park in Bushbury.

The virtual ward started as the oximetry at home service in December 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, contacting patients at home rather than them attending hospital, and it has been praised by NHS England executives.

Patients have control of their care from their own homes via an easy-to-use remote monitoring app.

Emily with her award, flanked by Andrea Campbell Jackson (left) and Rebecca Currie

Emily introduced digital champions to empower staff to use those tools more effectively, as well as support with training, competencies and knowledge building.

Digital champions also look to recruit patients onto the platforms, such as Luscii, a remote monitoring supplier from The Netherlands.

To embed the role, Emily has recruited two digital champions – Helen Hartill, staff nurse, and Thomas Tomkinson, charge nurse – with plans to increase this.

As of October 2023, 2,764 patients have been seen by the virtual ward – 2,219 adults and 545 children. A total of 783 of those have used Luscii’s app.

Rebecca Currie, virtual ward and hospital at home matron, nominated Emily, who lives in Bilston, for the award.

She said: “Emily was keen to create these roles, not only to support patients but also staff in enabling them to care for patients in a new way.

“She is an inspirational support to the digital champions and has been pivotal in driving new pathways, initiating conversations to start building renal, rheumatology, constipation and heart failure pathways.

“Emily has engaged many colleagues with digital monitoring to improve patient outcomes and reduce – and prevent – hospital stays. We are privileged to have Emily as an inspirational leader.”

Emily, who has worked for the trust for eight and a half years, having worked her way up from a healthcare assistant, said: “I feel extremely lucky, proud and grateful – for myself and our team.

“My colleagues are extremely supportive and always willing to develop and embrace new ideas.”

Andrea Campbell Jackson, virtual ward and hospital at home service support manager, said: “We are so proud of Emily. She is forward-thinking and nothing fazes her – she grabs new opportunities with both hands. This is vital when leading a developing service like this.

“The fact Emily has been recognised by our remote monitoring providers is testament to her hard work and dedication to her vision.”

The winner was voted for from a shortlist released by Luscii. A statement from Luscii said: “We are so pleased to shine a spotlight on nurses driving improvements in patient care. Emily is absolutely deserving of this award: she is always looking for ways to improve and build the virtual ward, for staff and patients.

“Following Emily’s example, creating digital champions is now a practice we recommend to other teams setting up virtual wards and remote monitoring services.”

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