Nurse winners of digital innovation competition named

The winners of a Nursing Times competition for digital innovation have been revealed.

Some of the country’s most forward-thinking nurses entered the Nurses Technology Innovation Competition 2023, which was designed to celebrate those who are trying to develop the profession’s digital future.

It was separated into two categories: one for small teams or individual nurses who have created a concept which could change nursing practice using new or emerging technology, and another for those who already have a pilot or small-scale project ready to be taken to the next level.

The first category, Digital Practice for the Future, was won by Dr Roxanne Crosby-Nwaobi, lead nurse for research at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London.

Dr Crosby-Nwaobi has created a smartphone app to aid patients in navigating their prescriptions.

Roxanne Crosby-Nwaobi

She explained, in a presentation before the panel of expert judges, that a common problem in her field was patients getting muddled up with complex sets of medicine, in turn leading to poor outcomes and sometimes complications.

Her app helps set out and explain exactly what a patient needs to take and when, as well as giving other useful information to avoid prescription confusion.

The judges for both categories were Professor Natasha Phillips, founder of Future Nurse and former chief nursing information officer (CNIO) for England; Helen Balsdon, current interim England CNIO; and Professor Gemma Stacey, deputy chief executive officer of the Florence Nightingale Foundation.

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They said Dr Crosby-Nwaobi had “developed a deep understanding of the problem” and had a “clear plan” for addressing it that was patient centred.

They said the app was “highly adaptable and [has] potential for scalability”.

Preceptorship lead for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Lyndsey Ford, and colleague Nichola Thomason, preceptorship development lead, won the second category, Digital Practice: Proven Concept.

Ms Ford presented judges with an app, which has been trialled in her trust, aimed at improving and simplifying preceptorship.

The app, which is available to preceptees, offers information about NMC principles, and a ‘frequently asked questions’ section about their preceptorship scheme.

It also allows preceptees to track their competencies as they are signed off and approved by a manager, and receive paperless documentation.

Ms Ford further said that the paperwork sections of the app replaces a 52 page-strong document which, otherwise, preceptors and preceptees would need to physically go through.

The app shows preceptees what job opportunities are available in their trust, as well as other optional training or continued professional development they may embark on – and where to get support if they are struggling.

Lyndsey Ford and Nichola Thomason presenting their project

Judges said of the project: “I loved the fact that she talked about moving preceptorship from a process to a conversation.

“They took time to think about what the outcome would [look] like – they had really started with the end in mind.”

The judges also praised Ms Ford and her team for gaining feedback, changing aspects of the app, and securing investment already.

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“[It shows] entrepreneurial ability to identify a problem and frame it in the context of an organisation, to secure investment,” said the judges.

They further said a feature allowing preceptees to offer feedback on how they were feeling about their preceptorship via a “mood” square on the app was “a really strong piece”.

The winners are invited to collect a trophy at the Nursing Times Workforce Summit and Awards on 21 November, as well as present their projects at the online version of the workforce summit on 15 November.

Winners are also offered free mentorship from the Florence Nightingale Foundation.


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