Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

The Value of Library and Information Services in Nursing and Patient Care

Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

The Value of Library and Information Services in Nursing and Patient Care

Article excerpt


Libraries are a primary resource for evidence-based practice. This study, using a critical incident survey administered to 6,788 nurses at 118 hospitals, sought to explore the influence of nurses' use of library resources on both nursing and patient outcomes. In this article, the authors describe the background events motivating this study, the sury.ey methods used, and the study .results. They also discuss their findings, noting that use of library resources showed consistently positive relationships with changing advice given to patients, handling patient care differently, avoiding adverse events, and saving time. The authors discuss the study limitations and conclude that the availability and use of library and information resources and services had a positive impact on nursing and patient outcomes, and that nurse managers play an important role both by encouraging nurses to use evidence-based library resources and services and by supporting the availability of these resources in healthcare settings.

Keywords: Evidence-based nursing, nursing care, nursing outcomes, library services, online databases, information technology, information services, information use, information resources, quality of care, survey research, multivariate analysis


A previous letter to the editor of OJIN (Guild. 2013) emphasizes the importance of comprehensive literature searches and open access publications for evidence-based practice and quality outcomes. Libraries provide essential resources for literature searches and access to open source and other forms of research-based knowledge in healthcare settings. Although nurses have been encouraged to use research-based information resources since the 1970s (Estabrooks, 2009), recent movements in clinical practice have placed even greater importance on the need to access the 'best evidence.' Evidence-based practice emphasizes the use of the best available research evidence in conjunction with clinical expertise and patient preferences (Sackett, 2000V Research has shown both that evidence-based practice improves quality of care and reduces costs, and that nurse managers play important roles in encouraging the adoption of evidence-based nursing (Doqhertv & Harrison. 2012: Grimshaw et al.. 2006: Solomons & Spross. 2011). In response to this movement, efforts to increase nurses' awareness of the benefits of integrating research literature into their clinical decisions have been renewed (Melny.k., FineQüt-Qv.erhQlt, .S.tillw.eiI"Williamson., 2.Q.Q.9; 2Q.1.Q). The rise of Magnet® hospital recognition has provided additional incentives for the provision and use of evidence-based resources.

A series of consensus reports by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has also provided strong arguments supporting the use of research literature by healthcare professionals. In 2001, the IOM report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, called for the implementation of interdisciplinary healthcare teams that focus on delivery of evidence-based practice (IOM, 2001). A more recent report, Knowing What Works in Health Care: A Roadmap for the Nation, explicitly stated that access to "...unbiased, reliable information about what works in health care is essential to addressing several persistent health policy challenges..." (p. 3), including the improvement of healthcare quality and constraint of healthcare costs (IOM, 2008).

However, participation in evidence-based practice is still relatively new in nursing. Earlier studies of nurses' information-seeking behaviors suggested that nurses as a group are unlikely to be consistent users of research journals and other evidence-based resources, preferring information obtained through 'social means' over that obtained from scholarly sources. For example, Marshall, West, and Aitken (2010) found that critical care nurses, when faced with a clinical question, were most likely to value and use information obtained from consultations with colleagues, while electronic and print resources, found mainly in libraries, were significantly less preferred options Similar findings have been noted by other researchers (Estab rooks, Ch. …

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