Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Carroll Iwasiw and Dr. Lorie Donelle


Information communication technologies are becoming a customary part of the way in which nurses provide care. Consequently, it makes good sense to ensure that nursing informatics competencies are integrated into nursing curricula to prepare graduates for practice. However, few schools of nursing within Canada have fully integrated nursing informatics competencies into their curricula. Nursing education culture appears to influence decision-making, and the development of organizational priorities. Nonetheless, there are no known studies examining how nursing education culture impacts nursing informatics curriculum development endeavours. Therefore, this study aimed to address the following research questions: 1) In what ways does a nursing education culture (the shared values, assumptions and behaviours of two schools of nursing) and the practices and policies within the two schools of nursing affect the incorporation of nursing informatics competencies in a collaborative undergraduate nursing program curriculum? 2) How is the incorporation of competencies related to nursing informatics in the collaborative program curriculum influenced by the systems and subsystems within two schools of nursing? 3) How do the subsystems within the two schools of nursing interact to affect the incorporation of nursing informatics competencies in the undergraduate nursing curriculum? and 4) In what ways do resources within these two schools influence the curriculum development process and incorporation of nursing informatics competencies within the curriculum? These questions were explored using a focused ethnography framed with a systems theory perspective. Data were collected through interviews, observations, and document review. The culture under investigation was a collaborative undergraduate nursing program culture, offered jointly through a partnership between a University and College. Findings identified external and internal systems and subsystems had a significant influence on how values, beliefs, and priorities within the collaborative program were determined and this ultimately influenced the selection of curricular content. Subsequently, findings suggest that commitment and priority for the topic of nursing informatics need to be established within the nursing education culture. Until faculty value the use of information communication technologies to support nursing practice, nursing informatics as a topic area will be undervalued and its incorporation within the curriculum will remain limited.