Issues Related to the Use of Technology In Nursing Education

Nurses Educator 2

Use of Technology In Nursing Education and  Issues Related

Issues Related to the Use of Technology In Nursing Education

What are Issues Related to the Use of Technology,Why Adult do not have Interaction with Digital Media,Steps to Encourage Older Adult for Interaction With Digital Learning,People With Disabilities and Use of Technology for Nursing Education,Resources for Technology In Nursing Education.

What are Issues Related to the Use of Technology

    Despite the power of computer and Internet technology to enhance learning, the use of these technologies in healthcare education presents some unique challenges. Think for a moment about the many ways in which healthcare education differs from more traditional classroom education. 

    The characteristics of the learners, the setting, and the access to hardware, software, and technological support are all likely to be different. In addition, issues related to the information technology itself can create challenges. These factors include considerations about the accuracy of online content and the accessibility of electronic resources.

    Whereas traditional classroom education is likely to take place in a structured setting. Healthcare education takes place in a wide range of settings, many of which are unstructured. Students who are part of an educational system are likely to have some access to the hardware, software, and technological support necessary for facilitating technology-based learning. 

    By comparison, access to resources and support varies considerably among healthcare consumers and in healthcare organizations. Students in a classroom also often share many common characteristics related to age and ability, whereas patients in healthcare education programs may cover a wide range of ages, abilities, and limitations. As educators, nurses must be aware of the special issues involved in the use of computer and Internet technology in healthcare education and be prepared to make accommodations as needed. 

    As previously discussed, one of the most widely publicized issues related to the use of computers and Internet technology is the digital divide, referring to the gap between those individuals who have access to information technology resources and those who do not. Although computer and Internet access is improving in most areas, gaps remain. According to a Pew Foundation report, 15% of American adults are disconnected; that is, he or she does not use the Internet (Zickuhr. 2013). 

Why Adult do not have Interaction with Digital Media

    Studies conducted by the Pew Foundation have found that factors influencing the likelihood that someone will have access to information technology resources include age, income, level of education, and ability (Zickuhr, 2013). The top four reasons why adults 18 years and older do not use the Internet or e-mail are 

(1) the Internet is not relevant to them

(2) the Internet is not easy to use

(3) it is too expensive to own a computer or pay for Internet connection

(4) they physically lack access to the Internet

    These studies revealed that those at risk for limited access included people older than 65, those with household incomes of less than $30,000, adults who did not complete high school, and people with disabilities. In addition, house holds without children are less likely to have Internet access. However, African Americans and English speaking minority adults are as likely as whites to own and use a mobile phone, reducing some of the racial and ethnic disparities of years past (Zickuhr, 2013).

    Because of the digital divide, some healthcare consumers do not have the resources necessary to gain entry to computer and Internet based health education programs. Thus, although technology can increase access to healthcare education for some people, nurse educators must be aware that some segments of the population will be denied access if attempts are not made to promote digital inclusion. 

    The first step in promoting digital inclusion is recognizing those groups fattening to understand why the gap exists. People over the age of 65 are one of the risk groups that must be addressed. Older adults are more likely to be retired without employer access to a computer, are less likely to have children in the home who typically bring an enthusiasm and knowledge of computers with them, may have less disposable income with which to purchase computer hardware and software, and did not grow up using this technology.

    Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to discount computer-delivered education as a possibility for the older adult population. The first time that more than half of older adults used the Internet was in 2012. By 2013, 59% of older adults reported going online, which was a significant increase in 1 year. Research studies have shown that with education and support, older adults enjoy using and learning from computer-based programs (Smith, 2014b). 

    Although many older adults have limited incomes, numerous government and private initiatives are available to provide free or low-cost computer and Internet access for this population. Although some older adults have physiological and neurological problems that make computer use difficult, many others enjoy good health and functionality.

    Health and healthcare education are both important to older adults, and computer and Internet-based technology holds much promise for this segment of the population. Therefore, it is important that the nurse be prepared to support computer-based learning among older clients. 

Steps to Encourage Older Adult for Interaction With Digital Learning

    The following interventions may be helpful in encouraging older adults to engage in computer based learning activities:

    Reinforce principles of ergonomics by making suggestions about equipment and posture that will minimize physical problems related to computer use. Ergonomics is important for everyone but is an especially critical consideration for older adults, who may have visual problems as well as arthritic changes in the neck, hands, and spine. 

    Proper posture, correct positioning of the keyboard and monitor, adjusted screen colors and font size, a supportive chair, and a reminder to get up and walk around three to four times per hour will help older adults to avoid discouraging physical symptoms that may interfere with computer use.

    Identify resources that will provide computer access and support in older adults' home communities. Supply older adults with a comprehensive resource list identifying places where free computer and Internet access is available, places where computer training is provided for them, and contact people who will assist them if they encounter problems with the technology. 

    In addition to public libraries and community centers, numerous projects nationwide are committed to digital inclusion for all segments of the population, including the older adult population. Many of these projects and resources can be identified on the Web. For example, AARP (formerly the American Association of Re-tired People) has a wide range of services designed to promote and support computer use by older adults available on its website (

    Motivate older adults to use a computer by helping them to identify how the computer can meet their needs. It is important to talk to older adults about their needs and abilities. Find out how they like to learn, what kinds of things they enjoy doing, and what their healthcare needs are. Matching a computer program or website to the individual's unique circumstances will encourage computer use. 

    For example, an older adult who is caring for a spouse with cancer might appreciate an online support group if he or she enjoys interacting with and learning from the experiences of others. In this way 03/712 you will help to generate interest in learning how to use a computer for health education by starting at a place that piques the older adult's interest.

    Create a supportive and nonthreatening environment to teach older adults about using a computer for health education. Today's older adults did not grow up with computers and may not have confidence in their ability to learn this new skill at this point in their lives. The language of computers may seem foreign to them, so nurse educators should avoid jargon and define new terms. 

    Teachers should pace their teaching according to the older adults' responses. Teachers may need to proceed slowly at first and provide opportunities for practice and for reinforcement of skills. Written computer instructions should be provided before the teaching session ends so that older adults do not go home with unanswered questions.

    Computers can open a whole new avenue of support and information to older adults who are struggling with their own health problems and those of their partners. Older adults who enjoy good health can find resources to help them maintain their health and to become educated healthcare consumers. 

    It is important that older adults be given the same opportunities to take advantage of the Information Age resources that are available to younger clients. The nurse can play a key role in promoting digital inclusion among this segment of the population.

People With Disabilities and Use of Technology for Nursing Education

    People with disabilities make up another special population who may require additional planning before using technologies in health and healthcare education. Not only are people with disabilities less likely to have computer and Internet access than are members of the general population, but they also may have difficulty using hardware and software (Burgstahler , 2012b). 

    The ability to use a computer without adaptive devices requires the fine motor coordination and mobility necessary to use a mouse and keyboard, the strength to sit and hold the head in an upright position, and the ability to understand information presented on the computer screen. Furthermore, individuals who use a wheelchair may find that they require special equipment for mobility, as some wheel chairs do not fit under a standard computer table (Burgstahler, 2012b).

    Individuals with visual impairments may have difficulty seeing text or graphics on a computer screen or performing tasks on the computer that require hand eye coordination. When identifying obstacles related to visual impairments, it is important to think broadly and address the wide range of conditions that affect the way we see. 

    Color blindness, which affects approximately 8% of all males and 0.5% of females, can cause significant problems for computer users if the website or software used does not display the correct color combinations, if the contrast between background and foreground is inadequate, and if color rather than text is used to convey directions (Liu, 2010).

    Although hearing impairments cause fewer problems for computer users than visual impairments, some accessibility issues nevertheless need to be addressed for users with such challenges (Burgstahler, 2012a). An individual with a hearing problem may not be able to hear the sounds that are often used as prompts when a wrong key is struck or when an e-mail message is delivered. 

    Accessibility for individuals with hearing impairments is becoming a bigger issue now that it is easier to send audio signals across the Web and audio messages are becoming more commonplace.

    Despite the protections offered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal legislation, accessibility issues on the Web and constraints with hardware and software still exist. Federal legislation outlined in Section 508 of the Workforce Investment Act requires government agencies and institutions receiving government funding to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities. 

Resources for Technology In Nursing Education

    However, many websites and programs do not fall under this umbrella of protection (Burgstahler, 2012b).Nurses who use the Internet and the World Wide Web to teach also need to consider website design when creating or selecting websites that might be used by disabled learners. The World Wide Web contains multiple resources that can be used by Web designers or Web users to learn design principles for accessibility. 

    For example, submitting the search command “color blindness” to a search engine will turn up websites that explain color blindness, illustrate how various types of color blindness affect what might be seen on a website, describe good Web design principles for promoting accessibility, and provide tools that can be used to select color combinations that will not create barriers for individuals with color blindness.

    Several resources are available to assist Web developers in creating websites that meet the needs of people with disabilities. The Web Accessibility Initiative website  provides guidelines that are recognized by many as the international standard for accessibility. Another website is the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). which has earned an international reputation for developing educational opportunities for all individuals. 

    CAST created the program called “Bobby” to assist web page authors to identify and correct problems that could make their sites inaccessible to individuals with disabilities (Coggan, 2017). Disabled World (2017) defines computer accessibility (also known as accessible computing) and gives many examples of assistive computer technology for individuals with all types of sensory, speech, and physical disabilities.

    Age, disabilities, and other factors that place an individual on the “wrong side” of the digital divide can isolate and diminish access to health-care resources. Therefore, every effort should be made to help these individuals connect to the wealth of resources that are and can be made available through technology. The nurse can play a vital role in providing the support, education, and advocacy needed to reduce the barriers that still exist for these special groups of people.

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