Technology in the Hands of Nursing Students
in the Hands of Nursing Students is a project that has grown out of the
experiences of students in the Pioneer Class of Nursing and Midwifery at Muni
University in West Nile, Uganda. As a pioneer class, the nursing students have
faced many challenges. In a discussion
about those challenges, the students identified lack of access to computers and
Internet resources as their biggest obstacle to learning. The students asked Casey Jones, a Global
Health Service Partnership – Peace Corps Volunteer, who is currently in his
second year lecturing at Muni, to assist their class in finding solutions to
their technology issues.
The Nursing Students’ Technology Group (NSTG) was formed to do an in depth assessment of students needs. Students identified that most of the pioneer class had little experience with computers in general. Only a handful of students had an email account. Few had done even a basic search for information on Google. As a class, there were only 7 personal computers and these were being shared between 26 students. Only 5 of those computers had appropriate software and hardware for Internet connections and all were infected with viruses.
NSTG also identified that students had very little experience with software use. Many were unfamiliar with common applications such as Word, Excel and Power Point. Students also noted that across their courses, they were lacking access to text books and other resources that can be found for free or at low cost on the Internet. The students also identified their need for accessory technology such as a photocopier, scanner and printers. They currently can only access those services in town, more that 4 kilometers from campus, and are often beyond a student’s budget.
Technology in the Hands of Nursing Students is a project that aims to address the issues mentioned above by purchasing hardware and software, as well as to provide associated training to bring nursing students up to a standard appropriate for bachelor’s level learning. Muni University has supplied the students with excellent support, allowing the students to create a check out system through the university library to manage the computers. It has also provided space for students to create a printing, scanning and photocopying center for nursing students.
The Nursing Students’ Technology Group will expand the reach of this project to the new freshman class of nursing students. Once everything is in place, 55 nursing students will have access to the technology brought to campus by this project. As the reputation of Muni Nursing grows, this project is projected serve one hundred nursing students by August 2018. By creating shared resources, NSTG hopes to make nursing students experiences richer and more fruitful.
President Yoweri Museveni commissioned Muni University in September of 2016. Muni is located in the West Nile Region of Uganda, in Arua town, just minutes from the borders of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. West Nile is the second poorest region in Uganda. Students in the Pioneer Class of Nursing are largely from the West Nile Region. The class has a small group of students fresh from high school but is mostly comprised of diploma nurses who are returning to complete a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree to deepen their ongoing nursing practice. Many of these working nurses are taking an educational hiatus from local hospitals and rural health centers where they serve as nurses and midwives. These students hope to help make Muni’s nursing and midwifery program the best in all of Uganda.