Exploring the relationship between technology and care: A qualitative study of clinical practice for nursing students

Kristin Jordal, Kristin Heggen, Kari Nyheim Solbrække


Background/Objective: The aim of this study is to explore the interaction between technology and care in the student-patient relationship during clinical practice training. In the traditional discourse on nursing, technology is seen as insignificant or secondary to the actual work of caring. Using new insights from the social sciences field on how to understand technology, this paper focuses on the important, but somehow underrated, relationship between technology and the human element in clinical practice.

Methods: This article reports findings from a field study of Norwegian nursing students in hospital practice during second year training. Six women and three men participated in the study. The case-oriented analysis follows a cultural-analytical tradition in which the main objective is to investigate routines and ingrained conceptions in order to see familiar phenomenon and patterns in new ways. The main question was: How do Norwegian nursing students learn to handle technology and care in their education programme?

Results: With a socio-cultural perspective on student learning and data from participant observation, the findings of this paper show various ways in which the presence of technology influences the interaction between students and patients. The study demonstrates how technology creates challenges for students in their interactional bedside work. However, technology is also revealed as offering new opportunities for contact and care.

Conclusion: Technology and the human element are linked in complex ways in students’ bedside work. This aspect of bedside care has not yet been given sufficient attention in the nursing education programme. In our view, this is a matter of concern; we conclude that nursing education needs to include updated and more nuanced perspectives that will better address this complexity.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v5n2p58

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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