A pilot of the use of Short Message Service (SMS) as a training tool for anaesthesia nurses


  • R Duys University of Cape Town
  • S Duma University of Cape Town
  • R Dyer University of Cape Town


anaesthesia nurse, eLearning, mLearning, nurse education, Short Message Service (SMS)


Background: Anaesthesia nurses form a critical part of the team providing perioperative care to patients, but no accredited training exists for them in South Africa. In this setting, short in-service training interventions are a pragmatic attempt at improving nurse performance and patient outcomes. Traditional didactic teaching formats have limitations, and mLearning (the use of mobile telephones to facilitate education) has proved equivalent or superior to traditional teaching methods in several settings. Despite very high levels of mobile phone ownership amongst healthcare workers in Africa, this form of educational delivery has not been tested in the hospital-based nursing population. Methods: A telephonic true/false pre-test was performed with 12 nurses of varying levels of training, to assess their preexisting knowledge of anaesthesia. A pre-learning package was then delivered to them in the form of daily SMSs for a month, covering relevant anaesthesia content. A telephonic post-intervention test was performed to assess whether anaesthesia theory knowledge had improved. Results: Median test scores out of 30 were compared using a Wilcoxon signed rank test and were statistically higher in the postintervention test: 25 (IQR 20–26) vs. 21 (IQR 20–21.25) (p = 0.018). Conclusions: The results demonstrate an association between a cheap and widely available educational vehicle, and an increase in nurse knowledge scores. The use of mobile telephones in medical education in limited-resource settings should be explored further. (Full text available online at www.medpharm.tandfonline.com/ojaa) South Afr J Anaesth Analg 2017; DOI: 10.1080/22201181.2017.1317422

Author Biographies

R Duys, University of Cape Town

Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine University of Cape Town Cape Town South Africa

S Duma, University of Cape Town

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences University of Cape Town Cape Town South Africa

R Dyer, University of Cape Town

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences University of Cape Town Cape Town South Africa






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