200962 Computer literacy skills: What public health nursing students do and do not know

Sunday, November 8, 2009

George Shuster, RN, DNSc , College of Nursing, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Mona Ternus, PhD, RN, CNS, C , College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Public health nursing student success in higher education today is dependent on computer literacy. Yet, assessment of student knowledge related to computers is generally for either hardware capabilities or overall ability, without focusing on specific computer competencies. The focus of this study was to identify the literacy level of nursing students over a 7-year period to assess which computer competencies need the most support and development and to determine how literacy levels varied in successive years. A convenience sample (N = 401) of undergraduate nursing students from 1999 to 2005 were given an assessment of computer literacy. The Computer Literacy Survey consists of 40 Likert-type questions measuring four specific dimensions of computer literacy: General Computer Knowledge (software and hardware), Documents and Documentation (word processing), Data Inquiry (data bases and search engines), and Communication and Surfing (e-mail, computer conferencing, and the Web).

Results indicated that the literacy of students increased with each successive group of students. Literacy varied across technological functions, with students having the lowest literacy levels in the data inquiry skill set, and students who owned computers were more computer literate than those who did not. An assessment of general computer literacy can provide an overall appraisal of computer competency, but it is important to examine the separate dimensions of specific skills within general knowledge, because these are the specific areas where faculty will need to focus in order for students to succeed.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the session, the participant will be able to: 1. Identify and list the areas of computer literacy strengths and weaknesses among public health nursing students. 2. Discuss the use of the computer literacy questionnaire in the public health nursing student assessment process 3. Analyze how the use of the computer literacy questionnaire in the computer literacy assessment process would be useful in their own public health nursing courses

Keywords: Technology, Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Developed, designed, implemented the study and analyzed the data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.