Hospital workers spent more time in reflection--a type of informal learning on the job--and reported greater job satisfaction from the use of apps that foster reflection, according to the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
The German study looked at time spent in reflection and job satisfaction before the apps were introduced and afterward. Apps can foster reflection in a number of ways, it points out--through virtual settings, in documenting experiences, reflecting on experiences and supporting communication and cooperation in collaborative reflection.
The 167 hospital employees were involved in workshops on the value of reflection and involved in app development and user testing.
The apps were:
- DocTrain: A mobile and Web app developed to support physicians during their specialist training. It reminds its users to reflect upon their experiences, document their tasks, and capture and share with a mentor their progress in training elements.
- CLinIC-The Virtual Tutor: A game created to help nursing staff and physicians prepare for difficult conversations with patients through simulations. A virtual tutor provides feedback and advice.
- Talk Reflection: An app that allows users to reflect collaboratively on difficult situations with patients and relatives.
The study's 21 employees from the Stroke Unit, in particular, indicated that they discussed their work as a team more often after using the apps. They said they made more effort to collaboratively learn from past experiences and to find reasons if something did not work out as it was intended. They reported more communication with their supervisors.
The study also found a positive relationship between reflection and job satisfaction, which supports previous research in that area.
While collaborating on what did or did not go right might improve staff learning, hospitals no doubt would be leery of such conversations out of concerns about privacy and potential malpractice claims.
A recent report from the SANS Institute raised alarms about the frequency in which hospital networks and Internet-connected devices are being compromised.
To learn more:
- find the research