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Buried Alive: The Presence of Nursing on Hospital Web Sites

Boyington, Alice R.; Jones, Cheryl B.; Wilson, Dianna L.


Background: Increasingly, hospitals are using sites on the World Wide Web (Web) to market their services and products and to advertise employment opportunities. These Web sites are a potential resource for information on the hospitals' nursing care and nurses' impact on patient outcomes.

Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the presence of nursing-accessible and visible data on nurses, nursing practice, or nursing care-on hospital Web sites.

Methods: A random sample of 50 hospital Web sites from the U.S. News and World Report's 2003 list of America's best hospitals was examined. A tool developed to capture the characteristics that denote a presence of nursing was used to examine hospital Web sites.

Results: All 50 sites had at least two occurrences of visible data in the form of pictures, graphics, or text that related to nurses, nursing care, or nursing practice. However, nurse-related content on these hospital Web sites was minimally to somewhat present and was frequently located on pages deep within the site.

Discussion: The presence of nursing on hospital Web sites could represent the importance of nursing, nursing practice, or nursing care for patients entering hospital systems. Instead, nursing content on hospital Web sites primarily focuses on nursing employment.

Alice R. Boyington, RN, PhD, is Associate Professor; and Cheryl B. Jones, RN, PhD, FAAN, is Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dianna L. Wilson, RN, MSN, is Staff Nurse, Alamance Regional Medical Center, Burlington, North Carolina.

Accepted for publication December 4, 2005.

Corresponding author: Alice R. Boyington, RN, PhD, School of Nursing, CB 7460, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.