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Keywords:

  • information technology;
  • inpatients;
  • Internet;
  • psychiatric nursing;
  • questionnaires;
  • schizophrenia;
  • standardized patient education

Abstract

Title. Information technology-based standardized patient education in psychiatric inpatient care

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to describe nurses’ experiences of information technology-based standardized patient education in inpatient psychiatric care.

Background.  Serious mental health problems are an increasing global concern. Emerging evidence supports the implementation of practices that are conducive to patient self-management and improved patient outcomes among chronically ill patients with mental health problems. In contrast, the attitude of staff towards information technology has been reported to be contradictory in mental health care.

Method.  After 1 year of using an Internet-based portal (Mieli.Net) developed for patients with schizophrenia spectrum psychosis, all 89 participating nurses were asked to complete questionnaires about their experiences. The data were collected in 2006. Fifty-six participants (63%) returned completed questionnaires and the data were analysed using content analysis.

Findings.  Nurses’ experiences of the information technology-based standardized patient education were categorized into two major categories describing the advantages and obstacles in using information technology. Nurses thought that it brought the patients and nurses closer to each other and helped nurses to provide individual support for their patients. However, the education was time-consuming.

Conclusion.  Systematic patient education using information technology is a promising method of patient-centred care which supports nurses in their daily work. However, it must fit in with clinical activities, and nurses need some guidance in understanding its benefits. The study data can be used in policy-making when developing methods to improve the transparency of information provision in psychiatric nursing.