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Successful ENACQKT Project Comes to a Close- June 26, 2012

A project, which began in 2008, has recently come to a close and those involved couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. The Enhancing Nurses Access for Care Quality and Knowledge through Technology (ENACQKT) project assessed the role and impact of innovative information and communications technology (ICTs), such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), in enhancing clinical practice and patient care through access to relevant heath care information within selected public hospitals in Dominica, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts & Nevis and Saint Lucia.



The ENACQKT project celebration held in Regina on
June 26, 2012 to mark the end of the very successful
project.

The ENACQKT project lead by Dr. Pammla Petrucka and Dr. Sandra Bassendowski focused on clinical and educational applications related to major health challenges for the participating islands, through innovative ICT applications to identify, measure and inform practitioners at the bedside. Although ICTs are available in the Caribbean, health care practitioners have traditionally used paper-based, labour-intensive devices. "We envisioned, with our partners, the next generation - moving from pen to stylus - replacing the paper with an assistive device like a PDA or tablet.  It sounds simple, but 5 years ago we were just starting to even think ‘in the hand' devices, said Dr. Pammla Petrucka."

What are the results of the ENACQKT project? According to Dr. Petrucka, "we saw nurses take the technology and not only learn about it, but use it in ways not imagined. We saw the devices used in education, monitoring, data capture, personal organization and accessing real time, real need information. Nurses were seen showing patients the procedures they were to be undergoing through the animated programs on their PDAs. Student nurses used these invaluable tools in lieu of calculators, medical dictionaries, textbooks, notepads and innumerable other tools for practice and evidence access. There were nurses working together over a PDA looking at an article or discussing a new procedure; others were seen sharing a device to read about a new medication or treatment. The applications were endless, but the impacts were priceless. Nurses became more vocal about their practice and their needs; thereby, growing personally and professionally. The growing self-confidence yielded nurses returning to school, undertaking programs of study and even assuming leadership roles." 

The funder of the ENACQKT project was the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). When asked about the funding, Petrucka said "it was through IDRC's vision for applied research that we were able to take our idea immediately to the practitioners and let them challenge us to do more. IDRC constantly supported the efforts as the project developed within a context of change - ICTs became increasingly ubiquitous during our project life, and they allowed us to meet these emerging trends head on and to produce a meaningful and responsive research program with our participants and our team - they allowed the research to remain relevant for our Caribbean partners!"

The ENACQKT program concluded June 30, 2012. A celebration took place in Regina on June 26th to mark the end of a very successful project. Representatives from the College of Nursing, SaskTel, the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region and partners from St.Lucia were in attendance to discuss, share and celebrate the collective efforts of those involved.