UBC Theses and Dissertations
Student nurses' conceptions of computers in hospitals Abbott, Karen Elizabeth
The trend toward increased computerization in Canadian hospitals has profound implications for hospital employed nurses, the majority of whom are educated in community college nursing programs. Educators, in response to this trend, must be attentive to the quality of student learning when planning for computer content in nursing curricula. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to identify how student nurses, enrolled in a community college nursing program, conceptualize the impact of computer use on hospital employed nurses. Students' conceptions were analyzed in relation to their: (a) attitude toward computers, and (b) length of clinical experience. Thirty-five (11 first-year, 11 second-year and 13 third-year) students enrolled in the nursing program at Cariboo College in Kamloops, British Columbia, were interviewed. Three broad, and ten forced-response, questions generated both qualitative and quantitative data, which were reported as primary and secondary findings. Data analysis, through use of the constant comparative method, was carried out on a formative and summative basis. Findings indicated that subjects had little awareness of computer use by nurses today. Their knowledge of how computers may be used by nurses in the future was also limited, and appeared to center around three broad areas: nursing, communication, and administration. Subjects conceptions of the impact of computer use on hospital employed nurses fell into four categories: (a) nursing image, (b) professionalism, (c) patient care, and (d) workload. Their comments on these four categories were further classified into three: sub-categories, indicating whether they felt that the increased use of computers would: (a) enhance, (b) detract from or (c) both enhance and detract from, each category. It was found that subjects' conceptions differed in complexity in direct proportion to the year in which they were enrolled in the program and also the length of their clinical experience. The majority of subjects had positive attitudes toward computer use. In addition, it was found that there was a significant relationship between complexity of conception and attitude. Students enter nursing programs with established conceptions and attitudes. The goal in planning computer programs must be to sequence computer content through the use of a taxonomy of learning outcomes, so that quality of learning is a priority, and positive attitudes are fostered.
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