1. Campbell, Carlene J. BSN, RN
  2. Mcdowell, Dorothea E. PHD, RN

Article Content

Problem addressed: Based on initial system training and help desk calls from nurses, it was felt that the nursing staff was lacking in basic computer literacy. To quantify this perception, a literacy assessment of nurses was completed. The results of this survey will be used to tailor the educational offerings for the nursing staff in preparation for moving up the HIMSS scale.


* To assess and quantify the self-perceived computer literacy of licensed nurses in a community hospital.


* To identify computer literacy educational needs of the nurses based on the assessment findings.



Intervention or change implemented, if any: N/A


Actions, processes, and methods used to solve the problem and meet the objectives: The self-perceived computer literacy of the licensed nursing population of a community hospital was assessed utilizing the Gassert/McDowell Computer Literacy Survey (GMCLS). This tool was developed to assess the self-perceived skill level of undergraduate students (McDowell and Xiping, 2007) but was modified slightly to make it applicable in an acute care setting. Changes made to the survey included the addition of questions regarding use of smart phones-cell phones with Web capability and three questions specific to the use of the electronic medical record. Additional demographic information for year of birth, level of education, and position at the hospital was added. The survey was administered to all consenting licensed nursing staff after permission from the Human Subjects Committee at Salisbury University and Senior Leadership at the hospital was obtained.


The survey was distributed to all (269) licensed nurses (both RNs and LPNs). Unit directors, managers, educators, and the CNO were also included as licensed nurses in the survey.


Data, metrics, and methods used to determine whether the objectives were met: The survey was returned by 129 licensed nurses for a return rate of 48%. The data were analyzed using SPSS. Descriptive and nonparametric statistics were used to quantify and analyze the data. Nurses' level of computer literacy was lacking in many areas of the survey including hardware and basic computer software including databases and spreadsheets.


Outcomes: The data have led to the development of educational action plans specifically in the areas of information literacy (database searching for evidence-based practice) and process-driven applications that maximize the benefits of the electronic medical record.


Lessons learned (conclusions and recommendations for practice): It is important to assess the knowledge base of the nurses related to computer literacy to identify needed education. With the current range of age and educational preparation of the nursing workforce comes a wide breadth of computer literacy; therefore, a "one size fits all" for education does not maximize the benefits that an electronic medical record can give.


Contact the corresponding author: Carlene Campbell ([email protected])