Supporting the Practice Nurse >

SUPERVISORS: Gemma Teal, Sneha Raman                                      


What is the role of digital technologies in supporting the practice nurse as the main care-giver and co-ordinator of care for people living with long-term conditions?


The increasing prevalence of long-term conditions is the main challenge facing health systems worldwide [1]. In Scotland, it is estimated that 47 per cent of the adult population have at least one long term condition and the number of people who live with multiple and complex conditions is growing [2]. The policy agenda in Scotland calls for a move to care that is person-centred rather than condition focused, stronger integration between health and social care, and an increase in health and care delivered in community settings [3]. A number of key publications have highlighted the need to change the way health systems are configured to reflect multiple long-term conditions in a number of key publications [3, 4], and it is a feature of the new GP contract [5]. The Chief Nursing Officer in Scotland is leading the ‘Transforming Roles’ programme which seeks to maximise the contribution of the nursing, midwifery and health professions (NMAHP) workforce and push the boundaries of professional roles [6]. This research seeks to understand how digital technology could support this transformation.


Through our research into care for people living with type 2 diabetes, we have identified the practice nurse as the main interface between primary and secondary care, conducting annual reviews, providing information and support for self-management, referring people for specialist care and ensuring care meets the relevant guidelines. Evidence shows that collaboration across organisational boundaries can transform outcomes in a complex system [7]. We have identified technological barriers to communication across this interface, as well as a lack of time to engage in training and implement the many different guidelines and resources they regularly receive. Within this context, there is a need to understand the role digital resources play in the day-to-day job of the practice nurse, their perceptions and experiences of using digital technologies and ideas for innovating digital resources to enable the practice nurse, freeing up time to care.


  1. 1.      World Health Organization. Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010. Geneva: World Health Organization. 2011.
  2. Scottish Government. The Scottish Health Survey. 2016. 
  3. 3.      Scottish Government. A National Clinical Strategy For Scotland. 2016. 
  4. 4.      Scottish Government. Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Annual Report 2014/15 Realistic Medicine. 2016. 
  5. 5.      Scottish Government. The 2018 General Medical Services Contract in Scotland. 2017. 
  6. 6.      Scottish Government. Transforming Nursing, Midwifery and Health Professions Roles - Introduction. 2017.
  7. 7.      Burns H. Targets and Indicators in Health and Social Care in Scotland: A Review. 2017.