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Research to identify how far community nurses 'cling' to paperwork


Community nurses are being called upon to take part in new research by a leading nursing association to explore how they value and use digital technology in their day-to-day work and whether or not some still “cling” to paperwork.

The research, by the Queen’s Nursing Institute, builds on the organisation’s previous Smart New World report published in 2012, which reviewed the status of “telehealth” – the use of technology to provide care - in community nursing

Anne Pearson, the QNI’s director of programmes, said it was time to look at the issue again to see whether the use of technology had improved and how far it saved time and reduced workloads.

”Does the training always go along with a new device or is there an expectation that you will intuitively know how to use it?”

Anne Pearson

The QNI also wanted to find out how far nurses use social media and text their patients, as well as the challenges of ensuring different pieces of technology work together, she said.

“There is growing awareness of the value of technology but we just wanted to see whether that translates into the workplace,” she told Nursing Times.

She said the research would ask some similar questions to the 2012 review but was much broader in its scope.

“It will look at where nurses use technology in their professional role and in what aspects of their work.

“Is it e-rostering, to support patients at home, capturing data, or all of those things? We want to understand the proportions of who is doing what out there, specifically in the community,” she said.

“Perhaps there is a perception that people cling to their paper diaries and don’t want them taken away and [the research] is really to understand the reality of that”

Anne Pearson

“Perhaps there is a perception that people cling to their paper diaries and don’t want them taken away and it is really to understand the reality of that – is that the truth?,” she added.

The QNI is also keen to know whether organisations have a nurse lead for technology to promote and champion its use and whether such roles made a difference.

“We want a perspective on how much technology is used and how confident nurses are in using it…Does the training always go along with a new device or is there an expectation that you will intuitively know how to use it?

Anne Pearson

Anne Pearson

Anne Pearson

“We’re also interested in communication such as whether nurses text patients and their use of social media at both a professional and personal level,” she said.

The research will seek to identify problems as well as positive uses of technology.

“How much is connectivity as issue? What is the reality of trying to get different bits of tech to talk to each other?” said Ms Pearson.

“We hear these stories but how much of it is real and how much of it is just hearing people being negative all the time?”

Overall, she said she hoped the survey would show use of technology had improved among community nursing teams.

“There is a reliance on technology and a huge amount of money being invested in it – let’s hope it is actually working at grassroots level,” she added.

The QNI will report back on its findings from the survey early in the New Year.


Readers' comments (2)

  • As a community nurse working jn the Netherlands I recommend to al my colleageus and their managers/ governments to have a look the so called Omaha system .
    We at Buurtzorg Nederland are using this BIS for several years now and most of the about 800 self led teams of Buurtzorg are very satisfied with it. No more paperwork and smoothely acces to teamreports, patientrapports as wel as the professsional protocols. The system gives you feedback on your own production and planning as wel as the production / planning of the team. Just search Omaha on internet ( more about Buurtzorg:

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  • We in Glasgow use mobile tablets on a day to day basis. On the whole it is great having access to all the patient information you require. The problems arise when we are unable to open the tablets due to internet issues, or simply the tablets and system not being robust enough. We are constantly getting replacement tablets that have been refurbed but they don't work well either. It's very fustrating and time consuming when you are already busy trying to give high quality care to vulnerable house bound patients.

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