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Help in a crisis
Matt Jackson

Matt Jackson, Ward Manager and Digital Champion

Information Technology is playing an increasingly important role in nursing, both in terms of storing and accessing medical records and ensuring care services are as accessible as possible to the people who need them.

Matt Jackson is Ward Manager and Digital Champion on Avocet Ward at Woodlands, Ipswich, which provides inpatient assessment, care and treatment for adults with a variety of mental health problems.

He has almost 20 years’ experience of nursing, which he draws upon to ensure the IT systems at the Trust best serve nursing staff on the ground and the service users they care for.

“Nurses need to be more digitally competent these days, but it’s important that the technology serves the needs of our staff and service users.

“Working in nursing gives me a good idea what nurses need from technology to do their jobs, translating IT into real-world clinical care on the wards.”

Matt first joined the Trust on the bank (a list of temporary staffing opportunities in NHS organisations) in 1999 as a Clinical Support Worker after leaving university. He didn’t have a clear idea of what he wanted to do but had found the psychological aspects of his biology and sport science degree particularly interesting, and joining the bank gave him the opportunity to find out more about working in mental health. 

“I thought it would be something I’d enjoy, meeting people, supporting people going through difficult times, every day different,” he said.

He then did an NVQ and was seconded to do nursing training, qualified three years later and joined Playford Ward (the predecessor of Avocet) as a Band 5 Mental Health Nurse.

“I’ve always enjoyed it, the people and teams I’ve worked with have been great and the opportunities I’ve been given to make a real, positive difference to people’s lives have been amazing,” he added.

He said that, on an acute admissions ward such as Avocet, staff needed a broad depth of knowledge because they dealt with people with a wide range of different needs and backgrounds.

“Nursing is about developing relationships so we understand service users’ needs and goals. The best bit is when you feel you’ve made a difference to someone’s life and helped them on the road to recovery.”

He got involved in the IT side of things because his technical knowledge made him the go-to person when it came to anything IT-related.

“Then I was asked to help when they started to roll out Lorenzo [the Trust’s electronic patient records system], and from there found myself getting more involved in developing other technology we use at the Trust to make sure it works for the nursing staff on the ground and supports the delivery of clinical care.

“At heart, I’m still a nurse and still manage a ward – helped by an incredibly talented team – but I help deliver IT, too. Nursing is very varied.”