Information and communication technology skills and resource utilization: preclinical versus clinical medical students in a resource-limited African setting
Boniface Eze1, Anthony Mba2, Francis Ozemena3
1Department of Ophthalmology, 2Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 3Department of Anatomy, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria
Objectives: To conduct a comparative assessment of information and communication technology (ICT) skills and resource utilization of preclinical and clinical medical students at the University of Nigeria.
Methods: Second- and fourth-year medical students of the University of Nigeria Enugu campus were participants in a comparative questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey between March 1 and April 30, 2010. Data on participants’ demography, ICT skills, and resource uptake were captured in a questionnaire, and examined using descriptive and analytical statistics. The P-value was set at P < 0.05, df = 1.
Results: The response rate was 93.9%. The 462 participants (preclinical = 310, clinical = 152) comprised significantly more males, 318 (68.8%), than females, 144 (31.2%) (P < 0.05) (gender ratio = 2.2:1), aged 18–40 years, with a mean age of 23.5 years ± 3.69 SD. Significantly more of the clinical students than preclinical students had previous ICT training (P < 0.05), higher ICT skills (P < 0.05), ICT access (P < 0.05), and more frequently utilized ICT resources (P < 0.05) generally. Specifically, the clinical students had significantly higher ICT resource uptake for study (P < 0.05) and leisure (P < 0.05), but not for research (P = 0.565) than preclinical students.
Conclusions: The survey response rate was high. The cohorts varied widely in their ICT training, skills, access, and utilization. This has critical implications for the future design of the undergraduate medical curriculum. Incorporating ICT training into undergraduate medical training curriculum, and enhancement of ICT access is instructive. Further related research, preferably of longitudinal and multicenter design, is urgently needed.
Keywords: ICT, skills, resources, utilization, students, Nigeria
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