Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Strategic Enhancement of Nursing Students Information Literacy Skills: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Strategic Enhancement of Nursing Students Information Literacy Skills: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Article excerpt

Abstract: Nursing students are required to keep abreast of evolving new health care information. It is important for nursing students to develop the skills and knowledge to access nursing and medical databases for their professional growth and development to perform evidence-based practice. A collaborative approach between faculty and librarians is one way to ensure the success of students in acquiring the skills on how to access and use new health care information. The collaborators of this paper discuss strategies of how to conduct database searches for research articles. This paper is written in collaboration with faculty, librarians, and a doctoral student who have experience teaching nursing students at a historically black college and/or university, or at minority serving institutions.

Key Words: Information Literacy, Health Disparities, Nursing Students

In our rapidly changing health care society, information literacy programs are becoming essential to the success of nursing programs. More specifically, nursing programs are incorporating information literacy programs into their curriculum to ensure students' success in developing lifelong learning skills for obtaining information useful for their professional development. Current literature suggests that the major advantage of incorporating information literacy programs into nursing curricula is to prepare students with the ability to recognize when information is needed and to develop the necessary skills to locate, evaluate, and use information legally and ethically (Barnard, Nash, & O'Brien, 2005; Little, 2006; Verhey, 1999; Wallace, Shorten, Crookes, McGurk, & Brewer, 1999).

Typically, nursing students will need information literacy skills to implement evidenced-based approaches to clinical practice, to complete classroom assignments such as scholarly papers and research projects, and to actively participate in class discussions on current and relevant health care issues in nursing. Ultimately, the goal is to create a scholarly environment conducive to a positive teaching and learning environment for faculty, students, and librarians (Dorner, Taylor, & Hodson-Carlton, 2001; Verhey, 1999; Wallace et al., 1999).

Several historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and/or minority institutions (Mis) have been funded through private and federal agencies to conduct health disparity research. One approach to assisting nursing students make a linkage between theory, research, and clinical practice is to have students focus on a specific research area such as health disparities. Selecting health disparities as a focus can provide nursing students with information about the problem. It will also ensure that they will work toward either eliminating health disparities or to help ensure that they do not exist in their personal health care practices.

The purposes of this paper are to: 1) discuss the benefits of traditional and integrative information literacy programs; and 2) describe activities to enhance information literacy among nursing students at a HBCU and/or MI. This paper is written in collaboration with one nursing faculty, two health science librarians, one statistician, and one doctoral student. All the collaborators of this paper have participated in health disparities research at HBCUs and/or Mis. The collaborators on this paper have also been advocates for providing instruction and guidance for nursing students to enhance their information literacy skills. In today's thrust to eliminate health disparities among racial/ethnic groups, it is essential to equip nursing students with the necessary information skills to locate appropriate quantitative and qualitative resources that address health disparity issues.


There are a number of areas that are helpful for teaching nursing students how to conduct database searches for quantitative health disparity articles. …

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