‘Logged in’ or ‘Locked out’ ICT experiences of mature learners on a UK nursing programme

Gurbutt, Dawne and Mcphail, Lyndsey Margaret (2019) ‘Logged in’ or ‘Locked out’ ICT experiences of mature learners on a UK nursing programme. INTED Conference Published Proceedings . pp. 396-403. ISSN 2340-1079

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The explosion of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) use in recent decades within healthcare, and particularly within nursing practice, is changing the ways in which patient care is delivered. Policy reviews and research evidence indicate that barriers to ICT usage are experienced by some groups of student nurses, particularly those who are mature and female, in a way that constrains potential impact on their professional development. This research adds to and develops the research evidence in the field by examining in what ways, and the extent to which, a group of mature, female, nursing students utilise ICT within the boundaries of one pre-registration nursing programme based on partnership working between a UK School of Health situated within a large university and its related NHS Trusts. Utilising a qualitative, case study approach this study examines the biographical, university and clinical placement use of ICT for student nurses. Consideration is given to the interconnectedness of these experiences as these students begin to develop their professional identities. The experiences of this group of students are determined through interviews and observation of clinical practice. Three research questions define the parameters of the research. These are: 1) How are mature, female nursing students accessing and using ICT within nursing education? 2) What are the barriers that may prevent mature, female students from accessing and using ICT within nursing education? 3) What actions do mature, female nursing students consider may be taken to improve their knowledge and subsequent use of ICT in both their academic studies and clinical placement work? Findings suggest that experiences of ICT relate to biographical history and the extent to which student nurses are supported and encouraged to engage with ICT in their university programme. The data suggests that for many student nurses the feeling and experiences of being generationally, emotionally and hierarchically ‘locked out’ of using ICT raises real challenges for the extent to which UK government and regulatory policy is being effectively enacted for particular groups of student nurses. This study, therefore, contributes to knowledge in and around pedagogical practice for preregistration nurse education programmes. In particular it raises the importance of locating policy development in this area around the explicit privileging and enabling of ICT usage in all practice situations. In other words the development of a collective efficacy in nurse pre-registration programmes that is suggestive of notions of being ICT ‘logged in’ rather than being ‘locked out’ for mature, female student nurses.

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