Wilson, Frances R. (University of Chester, 2019-03-19)
Through ethnographic fieldwork conducted in a hospital in rural Uganda, the study explores how continuing professional development (CPD) of nurses is supported through utilisation of information and communications technology (ICT), and how policy and culture can influence this process.
The existing research literature raised three questions: what facilitates and restricts learning and using computer technology? What are the nurses’ views and experiences of using ICT? Is nurses’ professional development and how they utilise ICT influenced by policy and culture?
The literature, drawn from international sources, is reviewed in chronological order to reflect the development of ICT and its use in health services and CPD. Policies and theories are analysed to gauge their relevance to the research aims and questions. These include Walt’s policy analysis theory; Hofstede et al.’s dimensions of national culture; Rogers’ diffusion of technology theory; Davies’ technology acceptance model; and theories of culture. These theories are synthesised into a model of influence.
Early in the research, a macro study of Uganda was undertaken covering the political, economic, sociocultural, technological, legal and environmental (PESTLE) impacts on the ICT infrastructure, health and nursing. Spradley’s (1979, 1980) developmental research sequence (DRS) formed the methodological framework, providing a systematic and comprehensive approach to data collection and analysis. Its twelve steps were applied to participant observation and ethnographic interviews, offering a progressive approach to data analysis through domain, taxonomic and componential analysis. Spradley’s DRS enabled dimensions of contrast to be identified and the discovery of unique cultural themes. Four field visits took place between 2009 and 2012, each lasting two weeks. Participant observation was undertaken on each visit, and interviews and focus groups on the third and fourth visits, facilitating exploration of ICT developments, computer skills training, education and CPD. Informants expressed their views about cultural influences on technology development, and their knowledge of policies and how they impacted on ICT adoption and nurses’ computer skills development.
The study makes a unique contribution to knowledge by analysing the influences of culture and policy on nurses’ CPD and utilisation of computer skills. Major findings include the significance of cultural themes amongst factors influencing ICT adoption, CPD and development of nurses’ computer skills. Knowledge of the local culture, as well as the underpinning theories, contributes to the successful construction of teaching strategies for this professional group. The impact of policies has been influential in building the national and local ICT infrastructure, but CPD and nurses’ computer skills have developed in the research location due to local capacity building rather than the direct impact of policies.
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