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Smartphone Use by Nurses in Acute Care Settings

Flynn, Greir Ander Huck MSN, RN, PCCN; Polivka, Barbara PhD, RN; Behr, Jodi Herron MSN, APRN, RNC-NIC, ACCNS

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: March 2018 - Volume 36 - Issue 3 - p 120–126
doi: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000400

The use of smartphones in acute care settings remains controversial due to security concerns and personal use. The purposes of this study were to determine (1) the current rates of personal smartphone use by nurses in acute care settings, (2) nurses' preferences regarding the use of smartphone functionality at work, and (3) nurse perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of smartphone use at work. An online survey of nurses from six acute care facilities within one healthcare system assessed the use of personal smartphones in acute care settings and perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of smartphone use at work. Participants (N = 735) were primarily point-of-care nurses older than 31 years. Most participants (98%) used a smartphone in the acute care setting. Respondents perceived the most common useful and beneficial smartphone functions in acute care settings as allowing them to access information on medications, procedures, and diseases. Participants older than 50 years were less likely to use a smartphone in acute care settings and to agree with the benefits of smartphones. There is a critical need for recognition that smartphones are used by point-of-care nurses for a variety of functions and that realistic policies for smartphone use are needed to enhance patient care and minimize distractions.

Author Affiliations: School of Nursing, University of Louisville (Mr Flynn and Dr Polivka); and Institute for Nursing, Norton Healthcare, Louisville (Mr Flynn), KY; and Memorial Hermann Hospital (Mrs Behr), Houston, TX.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Corresponding author: Greir Ander Huck Flynn, MSN, RN, PCCN, School of Nursing, University of Louisville, 555 S Floyd St, Louisville, KY 40202 (

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