University of Tasmania
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Nurses’ use of mobile devices to access information in health care environments in Australia: a survey of undergraduate students

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posted on 2023-05-18, 05:20 authored by Carey MatherCarey Mather, Elizabeth CummingsElizabeth Cummings, Allen, P

Background: The growth of digital technology has created challenges for safe and appropriate use of mobile or portable devices during work-integrated learning (WIL) in health care environments. Personal and professional use of technology has outpacedthe development of policy or codes of practice for guiding its use at the workplace. There is a perceived risk that portable devices may distract from provision of patient or client care if used by health professionals or students during employment or WIL.

Objective: This study aimed to identify differences in behavior of undergraduate nurses in accessing information, using a portable or mobile device, when undertaking WIL compared to other non-work situations.

Methods: A validated online survey was administered to students while on placement in a range of health care settings in two Australian states.

Results: There were 84 respondents, with 56% (n = 47) reporting access to a mobile or portable device. Differences in use of a mobile device away from, compared with during WIL, were observed for non-work related activities such as messaging (P < .001), social networking (P < .001), shopping on the Internet (P = .01), conducting personal business online (P = .01), and checking or sending non-work related texts or emails to co-workers (P = .04). Study-related activities were conducted more regularly away from the workplace and included accessing University sites for information (P = .03) and checking or sending study-related text messages or emails to friends or co-workers (P = .01). Students continued to access nursing, medical, professional development, and study-related information away from the workplace.

Conclusions: Undergraduate nurses limit their access to non-work or non-patient centered information while undertaking WIL. Work-related mobile learning is being undertaken, in situ, by the next generation of nurses who expect easy access to mobile or portable devices at the workplace, to ensure safe and competent care is delivered to their patients.


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JMIR mHealth uHealth



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School of Nursing


JMIR Publications Inc.

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Copyright 2014 the Authors-distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 2.0 AU)(, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR mhealth and uhealth, is properly cited.

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