Student Nurses' Conceptions of Computer Use in Hospitals

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In this article, the author reports on a study that investigated the conceptions and attitudes of community college diploma nursing students toward the use of computers in hospitals. Data were collected during 35 audio-taped interviews, which were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Findings indicated that students had little understanding of how computers are used by nurses today and how they might be used in the future. Four categories of student conceptions of the use of computers by hospital-employed nurses emerged: workload, patient care, image, and professionalism. Conceptions within each category were grouped into subcategories that supported the notion that hospital employed nurse's work was enhanced or detracted from by computer use. Although the majority of students had a positive attitude toward computer use by nurses, their conceptions differed in quality or complexity in direct proportion to the year in the program and their amount of clinical experience. Nurse educators have a two-fold responsibility: 1] to foster positive attitudes toward computer use; and 2) to facilitate the learning process so that students' levels of conception increase throughout the nursing program.

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