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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Computer and internet use by first year clinical and nursing students in a Nigerian teaching hospital

Grace Ada Ajuwon

Author affiliations

E. Latunde Odeku Medical Library, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Citation and License

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2003, 3:10  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-3-10

Published: 18 September 2003



The internet is an important source of up-to-date medical information. Although several studies in different countries have explored the extent to which health science students use the computer and the internet, few researches are available on this subject in Nigeria. The aim of this study was to assess the uptake of computer and internet by health science students studying in the country.


One hundred and eighty three first year medical and nursing students of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria, completed a-25 item questionnaire during routine Library Orientation Program in the medical library. The EPI-Info software was used for data analysis.


The mean ages for medical students and the student nurses were 22 and 24.6 years respectively. Overall, 42.6% of the entire sample could use the computer, 57.4% could not. While more than half (58%) of the medical students are computer literate, majority (75.9%) of the student nurses are not. Slightly more than two thirds (60.7%) of the entire students had ever used the internet, 33. 9% had not. E-mail was the most popular of internet services used by the students (76.4%) and the cyber café was the common place where students had accessed these services. The students' mean scores on a 15-point perceived self-efficacy scale for internet-related tasks was 3.8 for medical and 0.7 for nursing students (p = 0.00). Students who are computer literate had superior mean scores (4.8) than those without (0.6) (p = 0.000).


First year clinical and nursing students in Ibadan Nigeria have not fully utilised the opportunity that the use of computer and internet offer for medical education. Improved efforts such as inclusion of computer education in medical and nursing curricular and establishment of computer laboratories are required to increase the student's access to computers and internet.