Information Literacy in Nursing

Submitter Information

Author: Paula Jarzemsky, MS, RN
Title: Clinical Professor
Institution: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Coauthors: Cassie Voge, MSN, RN Tim Piatt, Information Processing Consultant

Competency Category(s)
Evidence-Based Practice, Informatics

Learner Level(s)
Pre-Licensure ADN/Diploma, Pre-Licensure BSN, RN to BSN

Learner Setting(s)
Clinical Setting, Independent Study, Online or Web-based Modules

Strategy Type
Audiovisual Aids

Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate the importance of regularly reading relevant professional journals
  • Value the concept of EBP as integral to determining best clinical practice
  • Describe reliable sources for locating evidence reports and clinical practice guidelines
  • Read original research and evidence reports related to area of practice
  • Use high quality electronic sources of healthcare information

Strategy Overview

When surveyed about how they sought information needed for clinical practice, our students indicated a preference for using internet sources (such as Google) over bibliographic databases such as CINAHL or PubMed. In contrast, our library instruction emphasized how to search the latter sources. Based on this data, we developed an online tutorial that incorporated a wider variety of information sources. In addition to traditional bibliographic databases, the new online tutorial explained how to search for clinically relevant information using reference textbooks and personal digital assistants (PDAs), along with health portals such as Medline Plus and decision support tools such as UptoDate. Tips for assessing the credibility of information from popular open sources such as Google and Wikipedia were also included.
This activity was intended to help students locate and evaluate information, in preparation for clinical. Independent study of an online tutorial was assigned by first-semester clinical instructors, each working with a group of 8 students. After completing the tutorial, each student searched one of the sources mentioned above, using a term that was relevant to his/her particular clinical setting (provided by instructor), and then described their search results using parameters defined in the tutorial (see Word attachment).

Submitted Materials


Additional Materials

Note: you may use this link to view the online tutorial

Evaluation Description

Informal student/faculty feedback on the tutorial and assignment has been positive. Students seem to be citing from a wider variety of sources.
Plans are in place to survey students about their information-seeking patterns at the end of this semester.
Note: you may use this link to view the online tutorial