School of Science and Technology 科技學院
Computing Programmes 電腦學系

An All-in-one Mobile Learning Application Assisting Nursing Students in Problems Solving

TSANG Heung Kam

ProgrammeBachelor of Computing with Honours in Computing
SupervisorDr. Vanessa Ng
AreasE-learning and Intelligent Tutoring Systems
Year of Completion2012


The aim of this project is to design a mobile learning application called Nursing Assistant in Android platform for nursing students and nurses to solve problems. This application mainly focuses on common difficulties that most of the nursing students and nurses may often face problems such as remembering nursing terminologies and knowledge, distinguishing the symptoms and situations and performing calculations in a fast and accurate way.

There are several objectives of this project:

  • Facilitate students and nurses on learning and problem solving
  • Enhance students’ and nurses’ ability of distinguishing the common diseases
  • Increase the accuracy of the calculation in clinical works
  • Facilitate interaction between students in learning and nurses in their works
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the application

Nursing Assistant contains two parts: firstly, some functions are provided for nursing students and nurses to learn without any restrictions by location and time. Through these functions, their professional knowledge will become more concrete in order to enhance their abilities and skills in problem solving. Secondly, some useful tools are also supplied for them to handle and solve their clinical problems in a quick and accurate way. On the other hand, Nursing Assistant is an extensible application to ensure the functions can be used from time to time and to suit the needs of nursing students and nurses continuously to reduce the medical accidents at the end.

Background and Methodology

To understand why mobile applications are needed for nursing students, we need to understand their difficulties and some existing facts and problems nowadays. As one of the professional occupations, public expectations for the nursing students and nurses are much higher that other jobs. According to studies from National Union of Nurses Associations and Taiwan Hospital Reform Foundation (THRF) in 2006, one nurse is required to take care of three patients on average. The number should higher than that in other advanced countries.

The following shows the most common difficulties that they face:

  • Students or nurse may not able to distinguish the clinical problems and to determine the situation is urgent or not.
  • If the information is complex, the amount of information is large or the under the time pressure, new graduated students will tend to make errors or wrong decisions.
  • Difficult to remember the professional terms, knowledge and the name of drugs.
  • Lack of adaptability to adapt the working environments.
  • Difficult and not convenience to find out the needed information.
  • Difficult to handle many requests by patients at the same time.

To develop a most suitable application for nursing students and nurses in learning and problem solving, I have searched around 200 mobile applications in Android version and found out 50 most related in different aspect such as drug or health care in the Android market to see what the functions they have and the functions they have can completely suit the needs of nursing students or not. After my observations and trying, I discover that these applications contain some problems which make them become fewer users friendly:

  • These applications only focused on some aspects such as glossary or symptoms classification, they are lacking of integration and only can fulfill part of the students’ needs. Students or nurses may require downloading many applications from time to time to suit their needs.
  • Some of these applications are trial version only, users need to pay over a period of time if they want to use more functions.
  • These applications are all in English version. It is not user friendly enough for Hong Kong people to use.
  • The information contained in the application may not fully useable for students or nurses in Hong Kong with different aspects.
  • These applications are not extensible and changeable, so users cannot enter what they want to suit their needs.

The following describes the main requirements, which are mainly concerned with glossary function as below:

  • It should be the vocabulary about nursing. It should be used by students without network connection.
  • It should be able for students to search and get the vocabularies in Chinese and English.
  • Inside the glossary function, it should contain some images, videos and pronunciation about the vocabularies.
  • It is better to allow students to search from the internet via the application directly.

This system architecture mainly contains three parts: “Learning and Practicum”, “Useful Tools” and “Instructions and Setting”. The usages of different parts are:

Learning and Practicum

This part mainly contains some functions for nursing students to learn and to provide some quick references in order to enhance their abilities on problems solving.

Useful Tools

This part provides some tools to assist nursing students in different ways under the clinical environment in order to facilitate their works and ensure the accuracy of their decisions. Also, it contains some supplementary functions to enrich the usage of glossary function.

Instructions and Setting

It goes without saying that it contains some instructions for nursing students if they don’t know how to use this application. On the other hand, they can select the knowledge of this application in this part.

The system contains both online and local parts with the architecture as follows:


This part highlights some of the implementation details in the technical aspects with some explanations with techniques and terminologies. Firstly, the system main interface is shown below:

The following shows the component of the abbreviation function:

The following shows the component of the game function:

The following shows the component of the online searching function:

The following shows the component of the glossary function:

The following shows the component of the symptoms classification:

The following shows the component of the laboratory learning:

The following shows the component of the laboratory values:

The following shows the component of the skills function:

The following shows the component of the recent opened references:


To estimate my application is really useful for nursing students or not, I have conducted a survey after finishing my project. This survey covers three types of people: 4 nursing staffs (13.3 %), 20 nursing students (66.7%) and 6 non-nursing users 20%) with totally 30 people:

At the beginning of the survey, I asked the interviewees to give the rate of every function and features in this mobile application. The results are shown in the following table:

 Very Useful or UsefulNeutralNot Useful
1. Extensible (E.g. Most of the data can be added / updated by yourself)28 (93.3%)2 (6.7%)0 (0%)
2. Chinese and English Version23 (76.7%)7 (23.3%)0 (0%)
3. Vocabularies Backup and Sharing21 (70.0%)9 (30.0%)0 (0%)
4. Voice Recognition in cover pages and glossary function26 (86.7%)3 (10.0%)1 (3.3%)
5. Camera and voice recorder for adding glossary and notes21 (70.0%)7 (23.3%)2 (6.7%)
6. Nursing Glossary with image, pronunciation, video and references28 (93.3%)2 (6.7%)0 (0%)
7. Sliding game in glossary function to facilitate vocabularies learning16 (53.3%)11 (36.7%)3 (10.0%)
8. Symptoms classification with a body part, character and classify in details20 (66.7%)9 (30.0%)1 (3.3%)
9. Send private messages and online discussion14 (46.7%)13 (43.3%)3 (10.0%)
10. Provide immediate and updated medical news25 (83.3%)5 (16.7%)0 (0%)
11. Learn Laboratory Equipment24 (80.0%)6 (20.0%)0 (0%)
12. Provide laboratory values and skills as some references23 (76.6%)7 (23.4%)0 (0%)

From the above table, I can conclude that most of the functions and features are useful to the nursing students because most of the functions have more than 60% of interviewees think that they are useful. Then, I asked the interviewees to select three functions that they like most in this mobile application. The three most popular functions are:

  • Nursing Glossary
  • Symptoms Classification
  • Laboratory Learning

Then, I asked for their opinions in three different aspects: the layout design, the utilization and the overall quality of this mobile application. The results are shown in the following three tables:

The following shows the design aspect:

Excellent & GoodAveragePoor & Very Poor
22 (73.3%)8 (26.7%)0 (0%)

The following shows the utilization aspect:

Excellent & GoodAveragePoor & Very Poor
27 (90.0%)3 (10.0%)0 (0%)

The following shows the overall quality:

Excellent & GoodAveragePoor & Very Poor
26 (86.7%)4 (13.3%)0 (0%)

According to these three tables above, around 90% of people think that the overall quality of my application is satisfied. At the end, 100% of people think that this mobile application can assist in learning and practicum works and they are willing to use it in the future. The overall scores of my application are 8.1 out of 10. It seems that the value of my project is achieved.

Conclusion and Future Development

As compared to the existing mobile application on the same platform, the new application can be said as an “All-in-one” application, it integrates all the functions together to fulfill the needs of nursing students and nurses completely for their learning and practice works. In addition, some new features such as online communication, web news, laboratory learning and personal schedules with alarm function etc. are also provided to make this application becoming more complete and useful.

In this report, I explain the motivation and the objectives of this project. Then, all of the background researches related to this project are all listed clearly in this report. In the methodology part, I state the methods of creating different types of functions to achieve different purposes to reduce the difficulties to be a nursing student. Also, all of the implementation details with the techniques involved are also explained in this report. Finally, an appropriate evaluation is conducted to survey this mobile application in different aspects and it seems that the aim and objectives of this project are successfully achieved.

In the future works, it must be much better to integrate new and up-to-date mobile technologies into this mobile application in order to make it to become easier and convenient to use. Also, some intelligent elements can also be considered to add into this mobile application. On the other hand, more researches should be conducted in a deeper way to investigate and understand more about the needs of nursing students, all of these must benefit the development of the nursing mobile application.

Copyright Tsang Heung Kam and Vanessa Ng 2012

Jonathan Chiu
Marketing Director
3DP Technology Limited

Jonathan handles all external affairs include business development, patents write up and public relations. He is frequently interviewed by media and is considered a pioneer in 3D printing products.

Krutz Cheuk
Biomedical Engineer
Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital

After graduating from OUHK, Krutz obtained an M.Sc. in Engineering Management from CityU. He is now completing his second master degree, M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering, at CUHK. Krutz has a wide range of working experience. He has been with Siemens, VTech, and PCCW.

Hugo Leung
Software and Hardware Engineer
Innovation Team Company Limited

Hugo Leung Wai-yin, who graduated from his four-year programme in 2015, won the Best Paper Award for his ‘intelligent pill-dispenser’ design at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering’s International Conference on Consumer Electronics – China 2015.

The pill-dispenser alerts patients via sound and LED flashes to pre-set dosage and time intervals. Unlike units currently on the market, Hugo’s design connects to any mobile phone globally. In explaining how it works, he said: ‘There are three layers in the portable pillbox. The lowest level is a controller with various devices which can be connected to mobile phones in remote locations. Patients are alerted by a sound alarm and flashes. Should they fail to follow their prescribed regime, data can be sent via SMS to relatives and friends for follow up.’ The pill-dispenser has four medicine slots, plus a back-up with a LED alert, topped by a 500ml water bottle. It took Hugo three months of research and coding to complete his design, but he feels it was worth all his time and effort.

Hugo’s public examination results were disappointing and he was at a loss about his future before enrolling at the OUHK, which he now realizes was a major turning point in his life. He is grateful for the OUHK’s learning environment, its industry links and the positive guidance and encouragement from his teachers. The University is now exploring the commercial potential of his design with a pharmaceutical company. He hopes that this will benefit the elderly and chronically ill, as well as the society at large.

Soon after completing his studies, Hugo joined an automation technology company as an assistant engineer. He is responsible for the design and development of automation devices. The target is to minimize human labor and increase the quality of products. He is developing products which are used in various sections, including healthcare, manufacturing and consumer electronics.

Course CodeTitleCredits
 COMP S321FAdvanced Database and Data Warehousing5
 COMP S333FAdvanced Programming and AI Algorithms5
 COMP S351FSoftware Project Management5
 COMP S362FConcurrent and Network Programming5
 COMP S363FDistributed Systems and Parallel Computing5
 COMP S382FData Mining and Analytics5
 COMP S390FCreative Programming for Games5
 COMP S492FMachine Learning5
 ELEC S305FComputer Networking5
 ELEC S348FIOT Security5
 ELEC S371FDigital Forensics5
 ELEC S431FBlockchain Technologies5
 ELEC S425FComputer and Network Security5
 Course CodeTitleCredits
 ELEC S201FBasic Electronics5
 IT S290FHuman Computer Interaction & User Experience Design5
 STAT S251FStatistical Data Analysis5
 Course CodeTitleCredits
 COMPS333FAdvanced Programming and AI Algorithms5
 COMPS362FConcurrent and Network Programming5
 COMPS363FDistributed Systems and Parallel Computing5
 COMPS380FWeb Applications: Design and Development5
 COMPS381FServer-side Technologies and Cloud Computing5
 COMPS382FData Mining and Analytics5
 COMPS390FCreative Programming for Games5
 COMPS413FApplication Design and Development for Mobile Devices5
 COMPS492FMachine Learning5
 ELECS305FComputer Networking5
 ELECS363FAdvanced Computer Design5
 ELECS425FComputer and Network Security5