Ageism and Nursing

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The role of technology in critical care nursing
Cheryl Crocker & Stephen Timmons
Accepted for publication 6 August 2008

Correspondence to C. Crocker: e-mail: Cheryl Crocker MSc PhD RN Nurse Consultant Critical Care, Nottingham University Hospital, UK Stephen Timmons BA PhD RN Associate Professor School of Nursing, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK

C R O C K E R C . & T I M M O N S S . ( 2 0 0 9 ) The role of technology in critical care nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing 65(1), 52–61 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04838.x

Title. The role of technology in critical care nursing. Aim. This paper is a report of a study to identify the meaning for critical care nurses of technology related to weaning from mechanical ventilation and to explore how that technology was used in practice. Background. The literature concerned with the development of critical care (intensive care and high dependency units) focuses mainly on innovative medical technology. Although this use of technology in critical care is portrayed as new, it actually represents a transfer of technology from operating theatres. Method. An ethnographic study was conducted and data were collected on one critical care unit in a large teaching hospital over a 6-month period in 2004. The methods included participant observation, interviews and the collection of field notes. Findings. The overall theme ‘The nursing–technology relation’ was identified. This comprised three sub-themes: definition of technology, technology transferred and technology transformed. Novice nurses took a task-focussed approach to weaning, treating it as a ‘medical’ technology transferred to them from doctors. Expert nurses used technology differently and saw its potential to become a ‘nursing technology’.

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