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THE EXTENT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) INTEGRATION AND UTILIZATION IN BASIC NURSING EDUCATION

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Topic Description

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Information and communication technology (ICT) is an indispensable part of the contemporary world as a result of globalization, changing economy and technological development (Carmen, 2003). ICT emerged from the concept of information technology (IT), but it is a more specific term that stresses the role of unified communication and integration of technologies to communications. ICT which includes radio, television and newer digital technologies such as computers hardware and software, e- blackboard, mobile phones, visualizers and satellite systems and so on, are potentially powerful tools that enable users to access, store, transmit and manipulate information. It is used for global communication and productivity (Gesci, 2009; Gloyal, purohit & Bhagat, 2010). The development of electronic and communication theory led to the development of technologies that were able to transmit several signals on the same wire simultaneously (Carmen, 2003).

 

Generally, the functions of ICT will vary slightly depending on the environment they are being used in. Their functions can be considered as speed and automation, capacity and range, provisionality and connectivity. Speed and automatic functions of ICT include copy and paste, spell check, graphing and formulae (Collis, 2002). All these allow users to complete more at a faster pace. Capacity and range functions are search techniques, selecting, reading and knowing what to use. These allow users to make informed decisions about finding the data that are most relevant to their work (European Commission, 2004). Provisionality functions include adding or replacing text and images, saving drafts and changing font size or colour. While, connectivity / interactivity functions of ICT refers to responding to other people’s work, sound and images through the internet e.g. e mail (Oliver, 2000).

 

Thus, advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the need to share information globally have led to the evolution of the internet. The availability of the internet has given rise to an electronic approach to many aspects of our lives. The impact of ICT in fields such as education, medicine, banking, tourism, travel, business and law to mention but a few, in the past three decades has been enormous. The way these fields operate today is vastly different from the way they operated in the past (Duffy & Cunningham, 2008). Furthermore, various ICT devices have emerged to enhance the speed and quality of services delivery and how services are handled worldwide. For example, ICT integration into banking has resulted to e-banking and cashless society (Central Bank of Nigeria, 2011). While in tourism and transport ICT has replaced or modified travel and movement of goods by applications such as teleworking, e – commerce and electronic service delivery and other electronically mediated activities (Gloyal, Purohit, & Bhagat, 2010). Similarly, integration of ICT in education is a potentially powerful tool for extending educational opportunities. It provides opportunities to deploy innovative teaching methodologies and interesting materials that create interest in students learning process thereby increasing students’ learning competence (Banyard & Underwood, 2007).

 

 

Therefore, information and communication technology is playing a major role in the acquisition and diffusion of knowledge which are fundamental to the educational process. It is offering increasing possibilities for synchronous learning (Larsen & Vincent – lacrin, 2005).  ICT is not only the back bone of the information society but also an important catalyst and tool for inducing educational reforms that change students into productive knowledgeableworker. In concrete terms, it enhances teaching and learning through its dynamic interactive and engaging content.  Undoubtedly, ICTs have impacted on the quality and quantity of teaching and learning, research, library services, administration and management of students and staff information in traditional and distance education (kirschnner & Woperies, 2003).

 

The availability of ICT has given rise toan electronic approach to the education system called e- learning, for example, videoconferencing, web-based training and Internet learning. E-Learning is becoming prominent in tertiary education. It is delivered on the platform of ICT infrastructures (Otelini, 2010).These technologies are being widely used to support teaching, learning and research activities in tertiary education, and have become standard instructional tools (Otelini, 2010). Each technology potential varies according to how it is used in the teaching – learning processes which include demonstration, presentation, drill and practice, interaction and collaboration (Hadded & Draxler, 2010). These technologies are expected to impact on all fields of learning including nursing.

Information and communication technology integration in nursing education is very important as a result of progression of the forces of globalization, the pace of technological change, the ever increasing centrality of information and knowledge in the health care industry and the complexity of skills  required to give safe and hazard free care (Butcher, 2003). Nursing education is aimed at raising the standard of nursing to levels needed to meet the increasing scientific and ever changing needs of the society. Thus, nurses with broad educational background, intellectual ability, technical dexterity and emotional stability are needed to meet the challenges not only of the present but the future (N&MCN, 2008). To meet up with these challenges, information and communication technology in basic nursing education is especially important in that it enables students and workers/ teachers to learn to search, select process and use information in this digital age. It can also enhance the quality of teaching – learning process with advanced teaching methods, improve learning outcome and enable reform or better management of educational systems (Butcher, 2003).

 

 

However, basic nursing education in Nigeria is still predominated by traditional methods of teaching and learning, administration and library services. In traditional methods of teaching, the teacher transfers knowledge to the learner, while the learner remains a passive receiver of information. Education cannot keep on focusing on the transfer of knowledge any longer, instead, it becomes imperative that students learn how to search, select,process, update and use information through ICT in education. This is important because information is increasingly available in this present society and is changing rapidly. The increasing importance of ICT in the global information society both creates new challenges and provides solutions to old educational problems (Jager & Lokman, 2009).

 

In the light of the profound changes going on in the educational system, health care industry and the society in general, if information and communication technology is neither integrated nor utilized in basic nursing education in Nigeria, graduate nurses from these schools will not be able to compete in the global job market. They will lack the necessaryskill and literacy to access and use both the new technologies and information effectively (Umoetteh, 2007). Therefore, it is important to incorporate ICT into all areas of basic nursing schools and ensure its use as this will help future nurses in quality care provision through assessing evidence for practice.Besides, updating self professionally improves practice; it is possible to update oneself by means of continuous education through online, where study leave becomes difficult.

However, at present most current evidence are not used for practice (Umoetteh, 2007). Besides, updating self professionally improves practice; it is possible to update oneself by means of continuous education through distance learning where study leave becomes difficult.  Yet mostnurses are not improving themselves professionally. Could it be a problem of not being able to access information because of non availabilityof ICT infrastructure, its being faulty or non accessibility of the infrastructure?Most times people complain of the difficulty of updating themselves online because they lack the know-how of ICT usage. Is it possible thatICT facilities are not incorporated in all the areas of the school? Could these have been easier if ICT facilities were made available and the acquisitions of the basic skills incorporated in schools of nursing’s curriculum? It is in the light of these challenges that the researcher has set out to investigate the extent of ICT integration and utilization in basic schools of nursing in Enugu State.

 

Statementof Problem

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are potentially powerful tools for education opportunities in time and space, making possible synchronous (the exchange of ideas and information with one or more participants during the same period e.g. face to face discussion, online chat etc.) and asynchronous (the exchange of ideas or information without the dependency of other participants e.g. e-mail, blog etc.) learning. ICTs dispense with the need for all learner and instructors to be in one physical location.For example, teleconferencing technologies enable instruction to be received simultaneously by multiple geographically located learners (Tinio, 2004).Ithas moreover been reported that the use of ICT facilities in teaching-learning process has positive effects on behavior, motivation, communication and process skills; thus enabling nurses to learn more autonomously. Besides motivating students and raising their self esteem and confidence, it can enhance students’ interaction, verbalization and involvement in collaborative learning (Laporan & Prestasi, 2004), and consequently bring aboutquality and efficient teaching-learning process (Butcher, 2003; Collis, 2002).

 

In basic nursing education in this environment, there seems to have been an unusual lack of ICT influence in teaching – learning methodologies. The researcher, for example, observed that student nurses from basic schools of nursing in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones of Nigeria leave their schools for other schools of nursing outside their geographical location for a three week programme. These students face transportation, accommodation, financial and change of environment challenges. Majority of the students do not have e – mail addresses and they find it very difficult to source for information in the internet. Theyalso find it difficult to fit into the e –hospital system which National Orthopaedic Hospital Enugu (N.O.H.E) adopted in her patient care during their clinical posting in the ward. Moreover, the researcher noticed that newly graduated nurses from basic schools of nursing who are employed in N.O.H.E could not fit into the e- hospital. Neither were they able to work with computers and other digital accessories nor access materials for evidence based care and personal professional updating materials to improve their services to consumers of health care.

Therefore, the questions that quickly came to the researchers mind were – why were students from basic schools of nursing moving from place to place for courses and programmes in different specialties, especially in this era of ICT interconnectivity? Is it possible that ICT infrastructure is not available in any aspect of their schools or not accessible if available? Is ICT not a course in their curriculum?Why then were they not able to fit into the e- hospital system in the management of consumers of health care services? Why are they not able to utilize the computer, and other digital accessories in the clinical areas? The desire to find answers to thesequestions motivated the researcher into investigating the extent of ICT integration and utilization in basic schools of nursing in Enugu state. Moreover, this is a neglected area of study in this part of the world in spite of its importance in the field of nursing education. Therefore, the extent of ICT integration and utilization in basic nursing education in Enugu State needed to be looked into so that remedies may be appropriately designed and implemented if nursing as a profession wishes to remain abreast with the rate of change in patient care in the health industries.

 

Purpose ofthe Study

The purpose of the study is to determine the extent of ICT integration and utilization in basic nursing education in Enugu state.

 

Objectives

The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Identify the areas in basic nursing schools where ICTs have been incorporated.
  2. Identify the various types of ICT infrastructures available in schools of nursing in Enugu state.
  3. Assess the extent of ICT infrastructures use for teaching- learning process in basic schools of nursing in Enugu state.
  4. Assess the extent of ICT infrastructures use for the evaluation of students performance in basic school of nursing in Enugu state.
  5. Determine the extent of ICT infrastructures use for the administration and management of staff and students information in basic school of nursing in Enugu.
  6. Identify the obstacles basic schools of nursing are facing in the integration and utilization of ICT facilities.
  7. Determine the difference in the incorporation and utilization of ICT facilities across schools of nursing university of Nigeria teaching hospital Enugu (U.N.T.H), Enugu state university leaching hospital (ESUT) parklane and Bishop shanahan Nsukka.

 

Research Questions

  1. In what area in basic school of nursing has ICTsinfrastructures been incorporated?
  2. What are the various types of ICTs infrastructures available in school of nursing?
  3. What is the extent of use of ICTsinfrastructures for teaching learning process in basic schools of nursing in Enugu state?
  4. What is the extent of ICTs infrastructures use for the evaluation of student’s performance in basic schools of nursing in Enugu state?
  5. What is the extent of use ofICT infrastructures in administration and management of staff and students’ information?
  6. What obstacles do basic schools of nursing in Enugu state face in integrating and utilizing ICT facilities?
  7. What is the difference in the extent of incorporation and utilization of ICT infrastructures across the three different schools under study?

 

 Hypotheses

In answering the above research questions, the following null hypotheses were generated.

  1. There is no significant difference in the extent of incorporation and utilization of ICT infrastructures across the various schools of nursing in Enugu State.
  2. There is no significant relationship between the extent of incorporation of ICT and the utilization of ICT infrastructures in basic schools of nursing in Enugu State.

 

Significance ofthe Study

This study is significant in that it will provide information about ICT infrastructure incorporation and utilization in basic schools of nursing and obstacles to adequate incorporation and utilization of ICT in basic school of nursing. This information will be significant for policy makers and planners of nursing education, nurse educators, educational administrators, librarians, students and other stakeholders in nursing education e.g. Hospital management. For example, if ICT infrastructures incorporation and utilization are found to be inadequate through the information provided by this study, it may also reveal areas where ICT infrastructures need to be provided in the school.

It will serve as a guide to policy makers to ensure that a policyguiding basic nursing education on the incorporation of ICT infrastructures in all areas of the schools (classroom, demonstration, administration and library).

This policy may mandate all the staff in schools of nursing to utilize ICT facilities in the delivery of their services, such as mandating nurse educators to use ICT as a teaching tool in teaching-learning process, educational administrators to use ICT to manage staff and students’ information, admission and registration procedures etc.

 

The information from this study will moreover be important to nurse educators who may see the need to incorporate ICT into the basic nursing curriculum to enable students to be ICT literate, thereby making them relevant in the global society. It will also sensitize the nurse educator to organize workshops, seminars and continuous education for members of staff on ICT utilization.  All these will facilitate and improve the standard of nursing education. It will in turn bring nursing education in Nigeria to be at par with nursing education in the world and ultimately improve the quality of nursing practices in Nigeria.Graduate nurses from these basic nursing schools will compete favourably in the global job market and fit into the e-hospital of the world, if ICT is integrated and utilized in basic schools of nursing.

 

Finally, the information from this study will contribute to the existing body of knowledge about integration and utilization of ICT in basic nursing education and other  researchers may rely on it as a reference point for future studies.

 

Scopeofthe Study

This study is delimited to the extent of integration and utilization of ICTin basic schools of nursing in Enugu State. It is also delimited to theacademic, non academic staff and students of basic schools of nursing Enugu State. Specifically, it is delimited to various ICT infrastructures available, areas of coverage, extent of use in teaching-learning process, evaluation and administration/management of information, and obstacles to the integration and utilization of ICT in these schools.

 

Operational Definitionof Terms

Extentof ICT Integration: In this study means area of coverage or incorporation of various forms of digital infrastructures. Area of coverage or incorporation means different places in the schools where ICTs are installed which include the classroom, demonstration unit and tutorial rooms, administration unit and library and the interconnectivity of these digital infrastructures. The extent of integration would be graded adequate when percentage availability is ≥ 70%, moderate when percentage availability is 50-69% and would be graded inadequate when the percentage available is ˂ 50%.

The percentage will be achieved by assigning one (1) point to each of the fifty-one (51) items on the observation checklist available, functional and are in use.

 

Various Digital Infrastructures in this study mean physical hardware such as computers, printers, scanner, satellites and antennas, telecommunication gadgets and multimedia, handheld devices, interactive white boards, internet and intranet, digital accessories and software etc.

 

Extent of ICT Utilization: In this study means the accessibility and frequency of use of these infrastructures by the academic, non-academic staff and students and the interconnectivity of these digital infrastructures. Extent of utilization would be graded adequate when the mean value is ≥ 4 – ≥ 3.5, moderate when the mean value is ˂ 3.5- 2.5 and inadequate or poor utilization when the mean value is ≤ 2.5-1.5.The extent of use will be obtained by using a 6-point rating scale in this order, everyday-6 points, once a week-5points, once a month 4points, and occasionally 3points, when needed 2points, and never 1point.

 

Frequency of use: In this study means how often infrastructuresare used, whether they are used in teaching in the classroom for all levels of students, submission of assignment online and posting of lectures (e-teaching and e-learning). Whether they are used for evaluation, in the administrative department, for the sale and buying or completion of admission forms, payment of fees and other admission procedures and management protocols, and whether the students and staff can access the library online.

 

Obstaclesto the Integrationand Utilization: In this study mean constraints to the incorporation and use of the digital infrastructures.

Constraints to installation in basic schools of nursing could be due to lack of understanding of the need for ICT infrastructure to be installed, lack of finance or no building and space to accommodate the available infrastructure.

While constraints to use include: not being efficient in the operation of modern ICT infrastructures, power failure without stand- by power generator, grounded facilities without technical support to repair the infrastructure etc.

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