As technology gets better and better, our responsibility to keep up with it becomes harder and harder (for some, that is). As a professor in a nursing program, I proudly carry around at least 2 out of my 3 must have (smart phone, tablet and laptop) everywhere I go, as do many of my colleagues and a good number of students. My colleagues are all requesting grant monies to purchase the latest gadgets and equipment (Educational EHR subscriptions, test-prep programs, simulation enhancements, etc.). Yet, with all of this, we are still using a whole lot of paper!! Handing out forms, paper exams, paper schedules.
The thought of paper exams scares some of my colleagues. Their rationale is that the students (in the lower semesters) cannot handle it. We piloted an exam, and it was semi-disasterous. Why? Because of the anxiety surrounding the whole computer process, coupled with the anxiety of the test itself (it was a drug calculation exam).
I have two issues that I am contending with here: one is, at what point do we say (as a faculty) that the students need to learn to deal with their anxieties, and be able to rise above it and perform competently? One of the students said she felt rushed, and accidentally entered the wrong number as her answer. If this were NCLEX, it would be marked wrong, correct? When there is an emergency on the floor, as nurses, we are expected to perform. There's no room for anxiety during a code, right? I know this is going to come across as cold to some, but I feel like in the rest of the world, there is zero tolerance for error. But in nursing school (at least in my program) there is always benefit of the doubt given.
The other is, faculty who cannot let go of old ways, for fear of the unknown. If all goes well, I won't be leaving academia any time soon (not nearly old enough to retire
). Therefore I need to embrace it, and move forward, not stay behind. I don't mind it at all. I think we waste way too much paper, and there is so much that many of us are not utilizing in technology. The age of the average nursing student is getting younger, and most do not have any trouble utilizing technology (they are better at it than I am). So what's the problem here??