March 18, 2010

Clinical guidelines for use of electronic devices

Any of you teaching clinical have seen that nearly every student comes to clinical with at least a cell phone. Many now have iPhones or Blackberry devices loaded with clinical software. It has long been standard practice that students are not to engage in personal business while functioning as a nursing student in the clinical setting. New technologies now obligate nursing faculty to be more explicit in directing the proper use of these devices.

Some agencies and nursing schools have proposed banning mobile devices altogether. This is unwise as important clinical software is now available for these devices. Faculty should be encouraging the use of new technologies and applying the latest information when conducting patient care.

Here are some guidelines to establish with students. These should be put into your syllabus to clarify your expectations:

1. Protect patient privacy: Students may not use cameras to take pictures of patients. Healthcare data that identifies a patient is not to be removed, or transmitted, from the clinical site. Lab values and other assessments can be stored as long as no patient names or identifying numbers are connected to the data.

2. Professional conduct: Students are not permitted to engage in personal business while performing as a clinical student without faculty permission. This includes voice calls, texting, or Internet browsing for nonclinical information.


KBetts said...

We have come a long way in technology in allowing electronic devices to provide us and our students with clinical information that can be used while caring for patients. I have mixed emotions about this as a faculty member, although I love technology. You make a great point in that strict rules around usage of electronic devices in the clinical area with students must be enforced.

robin said...

It is also important to consider the policy of the facility. Many acute care settings are prohibiting staff from using these devices. As clinical instructors, it is important that we are aware of and abide by the facility policies.

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

Robin: Rather than just obey a policy I suggest questioning the rationale for such bans. They are usually based on misinformation about the devices or lack of trust of nurses to act professionally.

Chelnor said...

Chelnor Griffin

I believe it's awesome that technolgoy can be used to assist students in pursuing their nursing degrees. Technology is the moving force behind progress. However, I would like to see positive and distinct guidelines in place for the appropriate use of these electronic devices so that instructional time and student learning is not compromised because of the devices. I don't think technology can replace human instruction but it can be a facilitator to it when used correctly.

Chelnor said...

Chelnor Griffin

I think it's awesome that technolgy can assist nursing students in ways that have not been available in the past. There just needs to be distinct guidelines in place for how these electronic devices can be used and incorporated in the educational setting without compromising student learning and teacher instruction.

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

I also do not want to see technology replace instruction. Electronic devices in the clinical area are a tool to retrieve information needed to provide care. They give students access to more information faster than ever before. That requires a new kind of skill that educators will have to teach.

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