Health care students experience of using digital technology in patient care: a scoping review of the literature

Christine Brown Wilson, Christine Slade, Wai Yee Amy Wong, Ann Peacock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To explore how undergraduate health care students use digital technology to deliver patient care during their clinical placements.

Design: A scoping review of primary research was conducted using the extended PRISMA guidelines.

Data sources: A subject specialist librarian assisted in searching for the academic literature in four electronic databases: CINAHL, PubMed, Scopus and ERIC.

Review methods: Four reviewers, working in pairs, independently reviewed a total of 332 potentially relevant articles according to set inclusion and exclusion criteria. Then, all included papers underwent an independent quality review by two reviewers.

Results: Seven studies involving medical or nursing/midwifery students were included in the review. Three studies evaluated the use of mobile learning devices in patient care with four studies evaluating the use of digital systems in practice. Due to the heterogeneity of studies, which used differing digital systems and instruments, the researchers decided the most suitable method of analysis was a narrative review. The results are explained using four key themes: student learning needs when using technology in practice; access to technology in placements; perceptions of using technology in placements; and impact of technology on patient care.

Conclusion: The use of digital systems in clinical settings creates challenges and benefits to student learning in delivering patient care. When students are prepared and facilitated to use digital systems, a sense of confidence and belonging to the team is fostered. Lack of availability and access to these systems, however, may impede students’ ability to be involved in all aspects of patient care. Limitations of the current review included the relatively low quality of the educational research being conducted in this field of research. Further quality research is needed to explore how students in the health care professions are supported in digital environments and how higher education institutions are adapting their curricula to meet the digital learning needs of health care students.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104580
JournalNurse Education Today
Volume95
Early online date29 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Clinical placement
  • Student experience
  • Digital capability
  • ICT
  • Nurse education

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