Internet usage among undergraduate nursing students: A case study of a selected university in South Africa

Alexis Harerimana, Ntombifikile Gloria Mtshali


Background: Globally, the internet is becoming an increasingly indispensable tool in academic institutions and the workplace. Nursing students are required to use the computer and the internet to search for information and to use various software, for which computer and internet literacy are essential. Despite becoming an important tool for teaching and learning, literature reflects an under-utilization of the internet in academic and non-academic settings for a number of reasons. This article explores the general internet usage of undergraduate nursing students at a selected university in South Africa.

Methods: A quantitative, non-experimental, exploratory descriptive design was used, with 115 undergraduate nursing students participating in the study. Data was collected using a questionnaire survey after obtaining ethical clearance from the university’s ethics committee and were analysed descriptively.

Results: The findings revealed that the internet was used for various purposes including; academic (96.5%); communication (82.6%), pleasure (71.3%), and work-related activity (53.9%). Facebook (77.4%) was the most commonly used social network. Constraints encountered in using Barriers to the use of the internet include restriction of access to certain sites (62.6%), very slow internet connection (55.7%), little training on how to use internet facilities (38.3%), and a limited number of computers (37.4%).

Conclusions: Contrary to other studies, this study shows that students do use the internet for a number of reasons, and recommend structured support on how to use if for academic purposes.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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