Computer Competencies for Registered Nurses: Curricular Elements in Nursing Programs in the USA

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Basic computer skills are necessary for most health care workers today given electronic medical records and communication, access to data bases for research, and growing consumer demand for self-education through self-help websites, electronic libraries, and support groups. Nursing professional organizations believe that basic technologic competence should be included in nursing curricula at all levels, but prior studies show that there are gaps in nursing program elements for many reasons including funding, faculty with requisite expertise, and slowness of academe to embrace the importance of technologic skills in the workplace. This study investigates whether computer skills for RNs are supported through program objectives and curriculum elements in nursing programs in the US. Findings will assist local, state and national efforts towards contemporizing program elements such that computer competence is supported at all levels of nursing curriculum.


Keywords: Nursing, Registered Nurse, Curriculum, Computer Skills, Technologic Competence, Consumer-driven Change, Health Care
Stream: Educational Leadership and Management
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Dale Mueller

Assistant Professor, College of Health and Human Services
School of Nursing, California State University, Walden University

Upland, California, USA

Dale is a Registered Nurse and public advocate for access to health services, including mental health treatment, in a culturally meaningful context. She is affiliated with the Mental Health Planning Council (California, USA) as well as a tenure-track faculty member at California State University, College of Health and Human Services. She has served in executive capacites in many community-based organizations for over 30 years. At age 45 she returned to school to earn a doctorate in education (EdD), where her studies included instructional design for distance delivery of courses in health care fields. Issues of the "digital divide" and technologic competence for consumers and health care workers continue to be areas of interest in advocacy and research. She has subsequently written and taught many online continuing education and for-credit courses for health care professionals. Dale now works full-time in the area of distance education, as well as political advocacy for the advancement of culturally relevant delivery of health care.

Tanya Mueller

Lecturer, East Los Angeles College
Azusa, CA, USA

Tanya is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Azusa Pacific University. The focus of her research is consumer empowerment in clinical decision making processes, and access to information for health, resiliency and wholeness of life. She is a lecturer in political science at East Los Angeles College where she works with first-time college students of lower socioeconomic status in courses about democracy, political change, consumer involvement in the change process, and access to information for informed decision making.

Ref: L09P0004