Worker participation in technology assessment : medical advances and the changing roles of nurses.
The research objective was:
to determine (a) the extent of the present
involvement of neonatal intensive care nurses in
technology assessment, (b) their perceptions of the
technologies with which they worked, and (c) their
perceptions of requirements for improvements in the
technology assessment process.
Nurses and senior staff (nursing s.u perv.i sors, NICU consultants and training officers) ln the neonatal
intensive care units (NICUs) of five hospitals in London
were included in the study sample. They completed
questions regarding new medical technologies in general
and NICU technologies in particular.
Nurses and senior
does not prepare
Further, in some
staff believed that nurses' training
them adequately for new technologies.
instances, nurses had not received
a new technology prior to using it.
Neither nurses nor senior staff were fully aware of formal
processes for technology assessment in their hospitals,
but did identify informal processes. While a small
minority of the nurses had been directly involved in
decisions regarding the new technologies, more than half
had made recommendations. The nurses considered their
level of involvement unsatisfactory, and believed (as did
the senior staff) that their hospital could improve its
procedures for purchasing, introducing and using new
technologies. Most of the nurses who were planning to
remain in neonatal intensive care were dissatisfied with
their involvement and with their hospital's methods for
adopting new technologies.
One-third of the nurses and most of the senior staff
identified examples of nurses' having contributed to the
development and adaptation of new equipment and
procedures, either formally or informally.
The impacts considered most significant by nurse
participants were: job stress, increased ethical, legal or
social concerns, and decreased reliance on clinical
judgment or skills of nurses.