Attitudes of Junior and Senior Undergraduate Nursing Students Toward Nursing Informatics

Monday, 30 October 2017

Elaine R. Maruca, DNP
Department of Nursing, Holy Family University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Background: The American Nurses Association (ANA) has defined nursing informatics and its required skills for nurses in its Scope and Standards of Practice for Nursing Informatics (ANA, 2008). The Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) Initiative has also addressed a set of information technology skills and competencies needed by all nurses. In addition, using the Institute of Medicine (IOM) competencies for nursing, the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) project defined pre-licensure quality and safety competencies that include informatics (Dolansky & Moore, 2013). In spite of the significance of the ANA recommendations, TIGER Initiative, and QSEN recommendations, there is inconsistency in the adoption of the plan in teaching nursing informatics in undergraduate nursing curriculums (Hebda & Calderone, 2010).

Significance: The significance of this study can bridge gaps in nursing students’ and nurses’ attitudes about nursing informatics. It can provide important direction in incorporating and teaching nursing informatics in nursing curriculums. Through an understanding of what nursing students’ attitudes are as examined in this study, nurse educators can provide the best opportunities to develop positive attitudes in this area. This study can impact and improve the quality of healthcare that will be provided by future nurses as they enter the nursing profession.

Objectives: To examine the attitudes of Junior and Senior undergraduate nursing students toward nursing informatics and compare differences in attitude scores between the Junior and Senior level students and English as Second Language (ESL) and non-ESL students.

Methods: The study used a survey design that is cross-sectional. A convenience sample of 189 BSN students ( n=116, 61.4% Juniors; n=73, 38.6% Seniors) from a Philadelphia, PA university were invited to complete the Technology Attitude Scale (TAS). The TAS consists of 15 items which measure 2 subscales (1) confidence and benefits and (2) lack of self-efficacy in using technology that are Likert scaled. Independent t-test were calculated with significance set at .05. Descriptive statistics were performed to examine the sample characteristics.

Results: No significant differences were found between Junior and Senior students for the total TAS or for the confidence and benefits subscale. However, the self-efficacy subscale scores were significantly higher in Juniors (M=4.16, SD=.57) than Seniors (M=3.86, SD=.71; p =.002) indicating that the Junior students had a perception of self-efficacy and more positive attitudes towards technology than did Seniors. No other findings were of statistical significance.

Conclusions: The Junior nursing students were found to have a perception of self-efficacy and positive attitudes towards technology. These attitudes can influence knowledge acquisition pertaining to nursing informatics and the successful application of this knowledge in clinical practice. However, further research is needed to explore what is necessary to develop a positive attitude among all nursing students as it relates to technology. Findings obtained in the study are being used to inform the appropriate inclusion of nursing informatics in the undergraduate program.