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J Nurs Manag. 2007 Mar;15(2):207-13.

How nursing leadership and management interventions could facilitate the effective use of ICT by student nurses.

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Nursing and Health Informatics, INAM - Institute of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Brighton, East Sussex, UK.



This article makes the case for how evidence-based nursing leadership and management activities could promote, implement and sustain quality patient care by student nurses using Information and Communications Technology. It is on aspects of the findings of a professional doctorate inquiry into Information and Communications Technology use and skills development by student nurses.


The 21st century is both an information and knowledge age. Nursing and medical professions are facing the increasing usage of information technology in day-to-day operations with the overall aim of improving the quality of patient care. The quality of the future of the nursing profession is dependent on the calibre of those who are currently socialized to become professional nurses. The new United Kingdom Labour Government, in power since 1997, has placed increasing focus on the effectiveness of the National Health Service and using computers as one way to assist in achieving greater effectiveness. This has implications for nurse education and the future preparation of future nurses to acquire skills in Information and Communications Technology.


This is a case study approach using multiple triangulation methodology. This includes: semi-structured interview of six student nurses and four of their mentors; one unstructured meeting with the Research and Development Manager; observational visit to a medical admission ward and a renal unit; one semi-structured meeting with the Information Manager; Review of Documentation - the National Health Service Trust Nursing Strategy; and Review, Application and Development of relevant theory.


The overall findings are that student nurses are not using Information and Communications Technology in nursing practice in a structured and systematic way. The reasons for this are very many and very complex but are interrelated. They include strategic resource-based issues, what Jumaa referred to as Time, Human, Equipment, Information, Material and Money resources. These reasons include lack of time for Information and Communications Technology activities by both students and the qualified nurses and some staff with poor Information and Communications Technology skills. This situation is compounded by insufficient computer hardware; lack of information about the essence and value of Information and Communications Technology; perception of the direct relevance of Information and Communications Technology activities to patient care; software materials not adequate for purpose and lack of comprehensive budget and financial recognition for student's engagement with Information and Communications Technology.


'Smile and the whole world smile with you'. This old saying has a lot of truth in it. Applied to Information and Communications Technology skills development and use by student nurses we are confronted with an uncomfortable reality of many qualified nurses who themselves are not comfortable or proficient with the use of Information and Communications Technology. Some do not see the essential need for Information and Communications Technology and its direct relevance to improving patient care, nor is this always supported by the current software and systems. Willmer argued that the achievement of effective implementation of the National Health Service National Programme for Information and Technology requires efficient change management and leading people skills, and an understanding of National Health Service culture. In this article the case is made that evidence-based management and leadership interventions are a feasible approach for a sustained implementation of Information and Communications Technology use and skills development by student nurses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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