Exploring the information and communication technology competence and confidence of nursing students and their perception of its relevance to clinical practice
Aim: This paper profiles a study that explored nursing students’ information and communication technology competence and confidence. It presents selected findings that focus on students’ attitudes towards information and communication technology as an educational methodology and their perceptions of its relevance to clinical practice. Background: Information and communication technology is integral to contemporary nursing practice. Development of these skills is important to ensure that graduates are ‘work ready’ and adequately prepared to practice in increasingly technological healthcare environments. Methods: This was a mixed methods study. Students (n = 971) from three Australian universities were surveyed using an instrument designed specifically for the study, and 24 students participated in focus groups. Findings: The focus group data revealed that a number of students were resistant to the use of information and communication technology as an educational methodology and lacked the requisite skills and confidence to engage successfully with this educational approach. Survey results indicated that 26 per cent of students were unsure about the relevance of information and communication technology to clinical practice and only 50 per cent felt ’very confident’ using a computer. Conclusion: While the importance of information and communication technology to student’s learning and to their preparedness for practice has been established, it is evident that students’ motivation is influenced by their level of confidence and competence, and their understanding of the relevance of information and communication technology to their future careers.