A Focused Ethnography to Explore Nursing Faculty Experiences in Integrating Digital/Informatics Tools to Support Undergraduate Students’ Learning and the Development of Informatics Competencies

  • Author / Creator
    Chauvette, Amelia Jane
  • Background: Nurses working in today’s contemporary health care environment are expected to use a variety of digital/informatics tools when providing direct care. These tools are increasingly essential to improve data management and consequently patient and system outcomes. Nursing faculty, therefore, have been urged to integrate digital/informatics tools in their teaching and learning practices to facilitate the development of nursing students’ informatics competencies, a requirement for safe and competent practice in a technologically rich healthcare environment. Recognizing the importance of informatics in modern nursing practice, professional nursing and governmental organizations have called upon schools of nursing to embrace informatics and facilitate the integration of digital/informatics tools in their curricula. Although research has examined the integration of nursing informatics (NI) and digital health in Canadian undergraduate nursing education, little is known about nursing faculty experiences with integrating digital/informatics tools into the curriculum and their teaching practices. Further, their perceptions as to how these educational experiences contribute to developing informatics competencies in undergraduate nursing students.
    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore nursing faculty experiences in integrating digital/informatics tools to support students’ learning in undergraduate nursing programs and the development of students’ informatics competencies.
    Method: A focused ethnography was used. Twenty-one faculty members from nine Western Canadian undergraduate nursing programs participated in semi-structured interviews. Data analysis consisted of thematic analysis with constant comparison, aligning with Roper and Shapira (2000). Data was managed within Quirkos, a qualitative data analysis software.
    Results: Data analysis revealed ten themes, these included: (a) the meaning of the term nursing informatics, (b) faculty perceived NI competence, (c) perceived usefulness of digital informatics tools, (d) facilitators, (e) challenges, (f) developing students’ NI competence (g) building connections, (h) teaching approaches, (i) the learner, and (j) the pandemic. Nursing faculty are integrating/digital tools in their teaching to some extent; however, it is evident that informatics competencies and their application in nursing education and practice are still not explicitly understood by faculty. Nursing faculty face several challenges which can be overcome by some of the enablers that have been identified to improve capacity of nursing faculty to teach and develop student’s entry-to-practice informatics competencies.
    Conclusion: Nursing faculty play an important role in preparing the next generation of nurses; therefore, removing barriers and increasing supports for nurse educators to advance their informatics capacity is urgently needed. This study has implications for nursing faculty, program administrators, nursing organizations and NI researchers. Limitations of the study included timing of the interviews and sample diversity. Several recommendations were identified for future research, as well as for nursing faculty, program leaders and clinical sites.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.