1. Newman, Kristine MSc, RN, CRNC
  2. Doran, Diane PhD, RN, FCAHS

Article Content

Background and Significance:

Nurses working in rural settings often do not have timely or appropriate access to clinical information resources. Furthermore, nurses working in community settings work in relative isolation, without the support of coworkers or other health professionals. Information technology can help promote safe, high-quality care through tools that improve communication, make knowledge more accessible, and provide clinical decision support.


Specific Aims:

This paper focuses on methodological issues related to the use of reflective journaling as a data collection tool and presents findings to illustrate its value in research.


Data and Methods:

Participants included RNs and RPNs who were asked to document their experience using the PDA (Tablet PC)-supported information resources in a reflective journal. The journal entries were semistructured, and nurses were asked to complete the journal three times (once when they received the device, 6-8 weeks later, and 12-16 weeks after). The data were content analyzed, and category coding was guided by Bystrom and Jarvelin's information-seeking model.



The reflective journal was helpful in tracing nurses' developmental experience in using the technology to access information resources. Journal entries revealed the types of caregiving tasks that prompted an information search, such as (1) seeking information about procedural guidelines, the patient's symptom experience, medication, and drug interactions and (2) using the information resources for patient education. Nurses' thoughts that emerged later during their search included "ease of use," "portability," "provided cues for care," and "quick to access information." Others had frustration with the size of screen and accessing Internet links.



Reflective journaling is a valuable data collection tool to uncover nurses' understanding of perceived information-seeking needs when using a PDA or Tablet PC.


Section Description

We are pleased to share the paper presentation abstracts from the Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics, Informatics at the Point of Care: A Barrier or a Bridge?, held at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, July 22 to 25, 2009. The program, chaired by Dr Judy Ozbolt, was a great success. Each of the following abstracts was selected for presentation by a peer-review committee.