Smartphones and mobile applications (apps) in clinical nursing education: A student perspective

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O'Connor, Siobhan
Andrews, Tom
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Elsevier Ltd.
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Background: Nurse educators are exploring how mobile technology can support students in clinical practice. However, the view of nursing students on the use of smartphones and mobile applications (apps) to enhance clinical education has not been explored. Their opinions are vital to capture if the right technology is to be designed, evaluated, implemented and used. Method: A self-reported questionnaire, based on a review of the literature, was used to understand the opinions of undergraduate nursing students towards the use of smartphones and mobile apps to support learning in clinical environments. Descriptive statistics were utilised to describe participants and the mobile devices and apps they currently use. Thematic analysis was employed to code open-ended questions and explore students' perspective on how mobile apps can support learning and how best to implement and use them in practice. Results: Two hundred nursing students across a four-year Bachelor of Nursing programme responded to the questionnaire. Most reported owning a smartphone but just under half used mobile apps to help them learn in clinical practice. A range of educational apps such as calculators, drug reference guides and medical dictionaries were used with varying frequency. Nursing students reported numerous benefits of mobile technology such as better access to educational material, improvements in knowledge and confidence, and reduced levels of anxiety around learning in practice. Barriers such as negative attitudes of nursing staff, poor Wi-Fi connectivity, and the quality of educational content available on mobile apps were identified as some of the issues preventing the adoption of mobile learning in clinical nursing education. Conclusions: Nursing students have a unique perspective on how smartphones and mobile apps can support learning in clinical practice. Nursing faculty need to undertake more rigorous research to determine if mobile technology can improve learning outcomes, how best to personalise mobile apps to students needs and ensure both hardware devices and educational software can be integrated in practice to support clinical training.
Nursing , Education , Mobile technology , Smartphone , Mobile application , Mobile App , App , Clinical training
O'Connor, S. and Andrews, T. (2018) 'Smartphones and mobile applications (apps) in clinical nursing education: A student perspective', Nurse Education Today, 69, pp. 172-178. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2018.07.013