Victoria University, Australia
Maureen Farrell has had over 25 years experience as an academic and registered nurse in the healthcare sector. She has an impressive track record in the development of quality educational projects, benefiting healthcare professionals from diverse disciplines, healthcare consumers, and members of the wider community. She has written the first edition of a prestigious US medical surgical nursing textbook that was adapted for use by nurses in Australia/New Zealand. The second edition was shortlisted for the Australian Educational Publishing Awards in 2011 and the third edition will be available in 2014. Research activities include a current ARC Linkage Research Grant, where she is the Chief Investigator, and the study is investigating the use of iPhones by nurses in acute care units.
This paper reports on a research project, still in progress, that is investigating the use of iPhones by nurses in a gynaecological unit at the Royal Women's Hospital (RWH) to improve communication and decision making processes. Although there is signifi cant evidence to support the use of mobile technologies in the clinical area, nurses have been slow in adopting these technologies. Mobile devices, such as the iPhone off er advanced computing and communication capability (internet access and geo-positioning systems), the standard facilities such as voice and text communication and other features such as on-board personal management tools, high quality cameras and recording devices - all value added tools when providing patient care. Th e specifi c research questions for the project focused on (1) How iPhones impact on communication processes between nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals? (2) What iPhone soft ware applications enhance information and evidence based decision support for nurses in real time with their patient? (3) What factors infl uence implementation of the iPhones by nurses in the unit? All nurses within the unit have been provided with an iPhone for a 12 month period for both personal and professional use. Th e research design employed both quantitative and qualitative methods. A questionnaire will be administered to participants at the end of the 12 month trial period to obtain information about the fi rst two research questions. Th e questionnaire will be subdivided into three main sections. Th e fi rst section will focus on demographic information such as age, gender, education level, and work history. Th e second section will seek information about computer experience and the fi nal section will focus on whether the iPhones enhanced their communication and decisions making processes. Multiple-choice questions and a Likert scale will be used to record answers. Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) will be used for the demographic data analysis. Two focus group discussions will be conducted, using a semi-structured interview, at the 6-month and 12-month trial period. Th e nurses will be asked to indicate: 1. Th eir general impression of the iPhones 2. Th eir general impressions about the support they received from the training team when using the iPhones 3. Th e nature of the eff ect the iPhones has had on their communication processes with other nurses and healthcare professionals 4. Th e nature of the eff ect the iPhones had on their decision making and the culture within their work environment 5. Any impediment they encountered when using the iPhones. To date the trial period has commenced, and this presentation will report on data related to the fi rst focus group discussion. Keywords: iPhones, acute care, communication, decision making, and nursing