Students' Perspectives of Potential Learning Experiences Maximizing Handheld Computer Use During Simulation

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Alice L. March, PhD, RN, FNP-C, CNE
Heather Carter-Templeton, PhD, RN-BC
Capstone College of Nursing, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Learning Objective 1: The learner will describe how students perceive the use of hand held computers during simulated clinical experiences.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will list educational strategies with the potential to maximize the use of handheld computers in the simulated environment.

Purpose: Nurses must be prepared to access evidence-based technology resources at the point-of-care in order to provide high quality, safe patient care. Handheld computers (HHC) use may alter the way healthcare is taught and provided. Limited research exists regarding the impact of technology, such as HHC use by nursing students making clinical decisions during simulation experiences. This study explored students’ perspectives about using HHC in the clinical simulation lab. Suggested learning experiences which may maximize the use of HHC were offered by participants.

Methods: Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants. A qualitative descriptive design, using an online open-ended questionnaire explored nursing students’ perspectives of how to maximize the use of HHC. Thematic analysis was conducted. Approaches ensuring quality and credibility of the study included conducting follow-up member checking discussions, analyses of results by the team of researchers, and data management using ATLAS.ti software.

Results: The sample consisted of senior level baccalaureate nursing students (n=69). Participants offered rich descriptions of the types of learning experiences which they believe may maximize the use of HHC. Themes included (a), repetitive learning activities, (b) additional faculty reinforcement, and (c) vendor instruction and support.

Conclusion: The study results provided information to faculty responsible for planning simulation learning activities. Findings from this study may encourage faculty to integrate more opportunities for HHC experiences, as well as to appropriately modify teaching/learning strategies surrounding the use of HHC. Research with student nurses is challenging; however, much can be gained from online surveys and subsequent discussions with participants who have firsthand knowledge of using HHC during simulation.