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P07 - Robots as Patient Sitters: Acceptability by Nursing Students

Background/significance: Science continues to evolve related to the safe and effective use of robots in health care. Researchers have demonstrated that robots can support the role of nurses through accomplishment of tasks and improvement of effective communications and can free professional nurses for more important critical-thinking and caring roles. In nursing education events and circumstances in recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to successful experimentation in the use of robots and artificial intelligence to support simulation and remote learning. Nursing students are an ideal population for which to test new and effective technologies, as they are just beginning to develop their attitudes towards, and comfort with, a variety of procedures and use of technology.

Purpose: In acute care settings, bedside sitters are often used for patients at high risk for falls, but they are expensive and their effectiveness is unclear. Thus, exploration of effective substitutes for human sitters is needed. The purpose of this study was to measure the acceptability, as perceived by nursing students, of the use of robots in a patient sitter scenario.

Methods: The study was framed by the technology acceptance model (TAM). The TAM instrument includes subscales to measure perceived usefulness (PU) and perceived ease of use (PEU) of the technology. The study was approved by the human subjects protection program of the university. The participants (n=24) were all undergraduate upper division and master's-entry accelerated second-degree students in the nursing program at a research 1 university. Students were recruited by in-class invitations from the research team. The students received credit for clinical/research hours for an undergraduate research course or capstone clinical course as compensation for participating in the experiments. Students signed informed consents upon enrollment. The adaptive robotic nursing assistant (ARNA) robot is a mobile manipulator that consists of an omnidirectional base with an instrumented handlebar, and a 7-DOF robotic arm. It is a service robot capable of providing physical assistance to a human user in pHRI, teleoperation, and autonomous operation modes

Results: Data indicate that students rated the technology’s usefulness at 3.77/5.00 with a standard deviation of 1.10 and the ease of use at 3.49/5.00 with a standard deviation of 1.12. This indicates a moderate to high acceptance of use of the ARNA robot in a sitter scenario. In terms of the relationship between perceived usefulness and ease of use, perceived usefulness had a 27.2% dependence on perceived ease of use (i.e. R2 = 0.272) with a p-value of 05.

Conclusions/implications: Fetching and retrieving items is just one of many possibilities for which robots can be programed. Nurses and engineers must continue to effectively collaborate to design and refine robots that meet the needs of health care facilities. Acceptability data should inform further development. Interestingly, an analysis of recent social media posts indicate public acceptance of the use of robots in health care which will potentially impact the openness of nurses and other health care workers to this labor-saving innovation.

Learning Objective:

  • After completing this learning activity, the participant will be able to assess innovations being used by other professionals in the specialty and evaluate the potential of implementing the improvements into practice.


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