DOI: 10.1111/jan.15810 ISSN: 0309-2402

Digitizing nursing: A theoretical and holistic exploration to understand the adoption and use of digital technologies by nurses

Matthew Wynn, Lisa Garwood‐Cross, Cristina Vasilica, Marie Griffiths, Vanessa Heaslip, Natasha Phillips
  • General Nursing



With healthcare undergoing rapid digitalization, the effective integration of new technologies is crucial for nursing professionals, who form the largest group in the healthcare workforce. However, barriers within the nursing profession may impede digitalization efforts, leading to under utilization of available technologies and missed opportunities for enhancing healthcare quality and population health.


This article aims to investigate the adoption and use of digital technologies by nurses, considering how key demographics, such as gender, age, and voluntariness of technology use, interact to influence their acceptance and utilization of these technologies.


Employing the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) as a framework, we conducted a discursive exploration, supplemented by a literature review from diverse academic sources. Keywords related to UTAUT, digitalization, nursing practice and technology adoption were searched on PubMed, CINAHL and Google Scholar. Additionally, UK government and professional regulator reports were examined to understand current recommendations concerning digital technologies in nursing practice and the profession's demography. Searches focused on moderating factor domains, and the last search was conducted on 26 April 2023.


The study revealed that the successful implementation of digital technologies in nursing practice requires a nuanced understanding of the nursing workforce's characteristics and preferences. Gender, age and voluntariness of technology use were found to intersect and influence nurses' acceptance and utilization of digital tools.


By applying UTAUT in the context of nursing, this study highlights the importance of tailored implementation strategies for digital technologies. A technologically deterministic perspective is insufficient; instead, consideration of social factors specific to nursing is essential for successful adoption.


To maximize the benefits of digitalization in healthcare, it is imperative to address the barriers faced by nursing professionals. A comprehensive understanding of how key demographics impact technology adoption will inform targeted strategies, enhancing the engagement of nurses with digital tools and fostering innovation in healthcare practices. Further research and primary data are needed, but this study lays the foundation for future advancements in digital healthcare integration for nursing professionals.

Relevance to Clinical Practice

The issues highlighted in this article are relevant to nurse leaders and those responsible for implementing technologies within nursing contexts. They are also relevant to technology developers who may benefit from considering the evidence associated with the moderating demographic factors highlighted in this article. Without a holistic approach to the implementation of technology, challenges associated with the use of digital technology by nurses are likely to persist. By considering the moderating demographic factors highlighted within the UTAUT (age, gender, voluntariness of use and experience) nurse leaders and technology developers may have greater success obtaining greater clinical outcomes from digital technology. This work was completed in 2022.

No Patient or Public Contribution

Due to the focus of this article being one on professional challenges within the nursing profession, no involvement from patients or the public was sought.

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