Cost of Staying in Constant Cellphone-Contact with Students High

A nationwide survey shows that through constant smartphone use, health educators can become emotionally exhausted, then only break from work communications with students between midnight and 6 a.m.

by Judith McGinnis, Times Record News / January 27, 2015

(TNS) -- It’s a burnout device health science educators like James Johnston, Ph.D at Midwestern State University have studied into focus.

A nationwide survey, recently published in “Radiologic Technology” shows that through constant smartphone use, health educators can become emotionally exhausted — burned out — then only break from work communications with students between midnight and 6 a.m.

“The idea came about and the faculty became poster children,” for the research said Johnston, said the dean of the Robert D. and Carol Gunn College of Health Science and Social Service at MSU.

The study joined Johnston and Gunn College colleagues Jeffrey Killion, (associate prof. radiologic science); Jennifer Gresham (assistant prof. & chairman respiratory care); Martha Gipson (adjunct prof. nursing department); Beth L. Veale (prof. radiologic sciences); Phyllis Behrens (assistant prof. health and public administration); Benito Velasquez (department chair, associate prof. athletic training & exercise), Laura Woods-Fidele (associate prof. criminal justice); Daria Close (assistant prof, department of nursing).

Referring to “excessive connectivity to the workplace through smart device use” a total of 977 program directors and educators participated. More than 60 percent of them felt “connected to the workplace at all hours of the day.”

“A lot of us have students in field experiences and a number of them are in online courses,” Johnston said. “Students can be all over the world. Some are with Sheppard (Air Force Base) looking for completion online.”

“Students expect us to be available and some of them work at night.” Veale said.

Velas says he’s had cellphone contact at 2 a.m. to share power point information.

“Some students can demand immediate response through email and text,” Johnson said.

The study has produced a new prospective for educators, considering the possibility of planning new workloads and balancing the invasion of tech.

“There are symptoms of stress and burnout,” Johnston said.

Finding an answer includes the discovery that, “Others never ignore smart phones. They wake us up.”

©2015 the Times Record News (Wichita Fallas, Texas)

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