Tablet, Smartphone, App Use Rises Among Nurse Community

A survey reveals a leap in smartphone, tablet and e-book reader ownership among nurses.

There was a jump from last year concerning the use of tablets, e-readers, apps and smartphones among nursing professors and practitioners, according to a survey by Springer Publishing.

The survey, which polled about 1,000 nurses on their ownership and usage of mobile devices, their preferences for nursing and medical apps and e-books, and their favorite Websites for professional use, revealed a leap in smartphone, tablet and e-book reader ownership by survey respondents, the slight majority of which were nurse educators (56 percent), the remaining others being mostly nurse practitioners.

The survey also polled participants on the Websites they use for professional purposes. LinkedIn scored highly (48 percent) but was, more surprisingly, closely followed by YouTube (40 percent). (29 percent) and Facebook (27 percent) were also very popular Websites for professional use, the survey found.

"Although there are some similarities between this year's survey results and last year's," Pascal Schwarzer, vice president of digital business development at Springer Publishing, said in a statement, "One major finding this year is the significant increase in mobile device ownership, especially in smartphone and tablet ownership. As may be expected, particularly considering this jump in smartphone and tablet use, app use has also increased."

This year's survey found that 83 percent of respondents own a smartphone (up from 71 percent last year), 43 percent own an e-book reader (up from 39 percent) and 63 percent own a tablet (a jump from 47 percent).

As with previous years, although the Amazon Kindle was the clear leader for most popular e-book reader (70 percent of those who own e-book readers own a Kindle), and the Amazon Kindle Store was the most popular e-bookstore from which to purchase e-books, only about 21 percent of those who read e-books reported even reading them on an e-reader, much less a Kindle.

Instead, computers (49 percent) and tablets (41 percent) were the most popular devices on which to read an e-book. As expected, the significant majority of those who owned a tablet reported owning an iPad (68 percent).

"These trends present a great opportunity for industries serving health care professionals, and point to more demand for content on mobile devices," Schwarzer said. We, for one, are pleased to be doing our part to meet the growing needs of this community through our e-books and aggressive digital product development program."

Although e-reader and tablet use seem to have climbed among the nursing community, only about 21 percent of survey responders indicated that they had purchased a nursing or medical e-book in the past six months.

More popular were professional apps, with 55 percent (up from 49 percent last year) indicating that they had downloaded a nursing or medical app in the last six months. The most popular apps among the nursing respondents were MedScape and Epocrates.