Computer usage among nurses in rural health-care facilities in South Africa: obstacles and challenges
Article first published online: 30 NOV 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Nursing Management
Special Issue: This issue: Nurses' experience of the working environment Issue editor: Melanie Jasper
Volume 21, Issue 3, pages 499–510, April 2013
How to Cite
ASAH, F. (2013), Computer usage among nurses in rural health-care facilities in South Africa: obstacles and challenges. Journal of Nursing Management, 21: 499–510. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2011.01315.x
- Issue published online: 10 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 30 NOV 2011
- Accepted for publication: 5 September 2011
- information technology;
Aims This study discusses factors inhibiting computer usage for work-related tasks among computer-literate professional nurses within rural healthcare facilities in South Africa.
Background In the past two decades computer literacy courses have not been part of the nursing curricula. Computer courses are offered by the State Information Technology Agency. Despite this, there seems to be limited use of computers by professional nurses in the rural context.
Methods Focus group interviews held with 40 professional nurses from three government hospitals in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Results Contributing factors were found to be lack of information technology infrastructure, restricted access to computers and deficits in regard to the technical and nursing management support. The physical location of computers within the health-care facilities and lack of relevant software emerged as specific obstacles to usage.
Conclusion Provision of continuous and active support from nursing management could positively influence computer usage among professional nurses. A closer integration of information technology and computer literacy skills into existing nursing curricula would foster a positive attitude towards computer usage through early exposure.
Implications for nursing management Responses indicated that change of mindset may be needed on the part of nursing management so that they begin to actively promote ready access to computers as a means of creating greater professionalism and collegiality.