Making It Work: Information Technology and Mobile Devices in Nursing Education

Monday, 9 November 2015

Janet Raman, EdD, NP-C, RN, CEN, CNE
College of Nursing and Public Health, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, USA

Information technology (IT) and mobile devices have become a part of most everyone’s daily lives both personally and professionally.  IT and mobile devices, such as cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and tablets, permit quick and easy access to vast amounts of information. With this in mind, it is understandable that international nursing organizations, including the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing (STTI), and many national nurses associations (NNAs), have written Position Statements calling for the integration of information technology into nursing curriculums since as far back as 1997.

Nursing programs have begun to follow the above-mentioned directives to incorporate information technology, and the use of mobile devices, in teaching nursing students how obtain and utilize up-to-date information necessary for patient care. This process has been found to enhance nursing student learning and facilitate the nursing students’ preparation for evidence-based practice in the current healthcare environment. However, many drawbacks to the use of mobile technology including the high price of the devices, and the necessary applications, as well as IT issues, have emerged.  Faculty resistance to learning and implementing mobile technology in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical environment has also been proven to be problematic. Further, many clinical facilities are not permitting nursing students to use  their cellphones, personal digital assistants, or tablets in their institutions due to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) concerns and other issues.

The challenge now is: how can nursing education make this work in classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings despite the obstacles?

Some of the current strategies to improve the utility of mobile devices in nursing education will be shared and ideas which may further enhance the integration of mobile information technology into nursing education will be discussed. Suggestions for future research in this area will be presented as well.