Recently, NELFT Knowledge & Library Service hosted an online Digital Literacy Week programme for student nurses. Content was based on the Royal College of Nursing’s digital skills framework and covered health literacy and how to mitigate misinformation and fake news online. We asked the students to write reflective blogs as part of the week. Here we present the two winners! We hope you enjoy reading their reflections.
“What are they honestly going to teach me that I do not already know when it comes to the digital world?” – this was my first thought at the start of Digital Literacy Week, but NELFT has shown me a whole new way in which digital literacy is relevant to healthcare. Could this be because they are one of the leading Trusts when it comes to combining the two factors? As a student entering digital-era nursing, Digital Literacy Week has given me a reason to feel more confident about my practice in future, supported by plans to improve patient safety using computer technology and the ability for nursing students like myself to access further digital resources to enhance their learning. I could not be prouder to be supported by NELFT individuals whilst progressing my career. Not only do I feel confident in using the digital skills developed within care settings, but I feel confident to pass on these skills to help others as we all know the world is going digital and we all need to adapt, and it is not as easy for some as it is for others. We must support individuals in developing their digital literacy skills to adapt with the changing times according to their ability and ensure that everyone can access digital services within their limits. There are many free resources online that can support individuals when developing their digital literacy skills. I believe we should support a friend, family, or neighbour in accessing these sources. Spread the word, send a link: either way it is important we all have access to digital literacy."
Digital Literacy Week – What has it taught me?
Digital literacy is the ability to search, understand and evaluate health information through a range of digital services and resources and apply this knowledge to understand and solve health issues. Individuals can develop their skills in technology and digital resources to improve their health and wellbeing, manage their conditions, access services and communicate with healthcare professionals. It calls for improved health literacy in individuals and easier accessibility to the healthcare system.
I like to think of myself as quite the whizz when it comes to technology, devices and interpreting online information and data. However, during Digital Literacy Week with NELFT, I became more aware of the ever-evolving world of technology in healthcare and how effective and beneficial it can be for patients and healthcare professionals.
Not really understanding the term “digital health literacy” at first, I set an intention for the week ahead: “to understand digital literacy in relation to healthcare and explore how this information could guide me in future practice as a healthcare professional”. OK. So, what was it I was going to learn!? Well, a lot.
Technology in healthcare is proving to be an amazing way of communicating between patients and healthcare professionals. The way in which we all live and interpret things are different, so being able to communicate with patients through images, different languages, videos, audio and simpler terms can help people understand the information they are being given, whether this be through a computer, phone or app.
Communicating with patients as I learned during the eLearning Health Literacy Module, can improve the way patients understand what is being said, thus improving their health literacy. ‘Chunk and Check’ and ‘Teach Back’ are useful tools in making sure patients understand what is being said by breaking down sentences, relaying information and asking patients to say back what they heard.
With that being said, we need to consider people that are less proficient at technology when it comes to self-use and invite a trusted family member or friend to help and assist individuals on how to access services such as ordering repeat prescriptions, looking up their condition and how to manage it via the NHS website. Us too, as healthcare professionals, can empower individuals in the world of digital literacy and encourage them to use digital resources in accessing services and resources – something that I will practise during placement and future practice. Once these basic skills have been taught, health literacy can be improved, resulting in better health! Empowering and building confidence, one step at a time.