Exploration of the affordances of mobile devices in integrating theory and clinical practice in an undergraduate nursing programme
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BACKGROUND: Promoting the quality and effectiveness of nursing education is an important factor, given the increased demand for nursing professionals. It is important to establish learning environments that provide personalised guidance and feedback to students about their practical skills and application of their theoretical knowledge. OBJECTIVE: To explore and describe the knowledge and points of view of students and educators about introduction of new technologies into an undergraduate nursing programme. METHOC: The qualitative design used Tesch’s (1990) steps of descriptive data analysis to complete thematic analysis of the data collected in focus group discussions (FGDs) and individual interviews to identify themes. RESULTS: Themes identified from the students’ FGDs and individual interviews included: mobile devices as a communication tool; email, WhatsApp and Facebook as methods of communication; WhatsApp as a method of communication; nurses as role-models in the clinical setting; setting personal boundaries; and impact of mobile devices in clinical practice on professionalism. Themes identified from the FGD, individual interviews and a discussion session held with educators included: peer learning via mobile devices; email, WhatsApp and Facebook as methods of communication; the mobile device as a positive learning method; students need practical guidance; and ethical concerns in clinical facilities about Internet access and use of mobile devices. CONCLUSION: The research project established an understanding of the knowledge and points of view of students and educators regarding introduction of new technologies into an undergraduate nursing programme with the aim of enhancing integration of theory and clinical practice through use of mobile devices.