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Survey: Most Nurses Use Smartphones in Clinical Workplace

June 10, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Nearly all nurses own a smartphone, and 88 percent of them use their smartphone apps in their daily nursing work, according to a new survey from Boston-based mobile technology company InCrowd.

This is a higher figure than previous reports which found that 78 percent of medical residents owned a smartphone, and 67 percent used it in clinical care. In this survey, which included 241 nurses questioned in May, bedside access to drug interactions, clinical data dominated nurse smartphone use with 73 percent looking up drug information on that device. Some 72 percent used smartphone apps to look up various diseases and disorders.

Other time-saving uses of smartphones not related to apps – such as staying in touch with colleagues in their hospital (69 percent) – typified the multifaceted role that the smartphone is playing in day-to-day patient care, making a nurse’s work a little easier. Nurses reported using their smartphones for fast access to patient care information across a wide range of daily nursing tactics, from receiving patient photos of a rash to setting a timer for meds administration.

While respondents stressed that smartphones “enhance but don’t substitute” the need for a physician consult prior to administering care, 52 percent of nurses reported using their smartphone instead of asking a question of a nursing colleague, according to a subset of users probed in greater detail about their phone use. This was particularly the case if a medication, illness or symptom was unfamiliar.

In the survey 32 percent of RNs said they used their smartphone instead of asking a physician, explaining how doing so saved time such as “in patient homecare situations when I need quick answers without making a bunch of phone calls,” or “so I can make an educated suggestion to the doctor.”

What’s more, nurse smartphone adoption is taking place regardless of whether employers are covering the cost. Some 87 percent of nurses in the follow up survey responded that their employer does not cover any of the costs related to their smartphone.

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