Year 2021
October 2021


Abstract Title
Comparison of attitudes towards electronic health systems between digital native and digital immigrant nurses in a Singapore tertiary hospital using Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT)



Tan Tock Seng Hospital1

Background & Hypothesis

Digital natives are individuals born after 1980, embracing technology from young. In contrast, digital immigrants are their seniors, adopting technology at a later age. With a multigenerational nursing workforce, it is important to examine if digital nativity affects nurses’ adoption of workplace technology. This study aims to compare attitudes of digital native and immigrant nurses towards an electronic health system.


Nurses in a Singaporean tertiary hospital were surveyed on their attitudes towards technology, measured using the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) scale from February – April 2021. Items were scored on a 5-point Likert scale, with higher scores reflecting greater positivity towards technology. Welch’s t-test was used to compare mean differences (MD) in UTAUT scores of both groups.


1,152 nurses responded. Nurses aged 21-40 were classified as “digital natives” (n1=900), with older nurses being “digital immigrants” (n2=252). Despite digital natives reporting greater technological savviness (MD=0.36, 95%CI: 0.24-0.47 p<0.001), no statistically significant difference was found for most UTAUT domains (MD=-0.03-0.05, p>0.05), apart from Effort Expectancy (MD=0.11, 95%CI:0.03-0.19 p=0.01). However, this was too small to clearly reflect a meaningful difference.

Discussion & Conclusion

This is the first study to examine the effects of nurses’ digital nativity on attitudes to workplace technology in Singapore. Although there were disproportionately more digital natives, this is reflective of a younger nursing workforce. Interestingly, despite the difference in self-reported technological-savviness, this was not reflected in their views of workplace technology. Hence, digital nativity might not affect the attitudes for technological adoption in our nurses.