Use of Information Resources by Student Nurses.

Author:Olajide, Adebayo Afolabi

Introduction: Knowledge growth depends on information. Students enroll in university education for the purpose of acquiring knowledge, which is imparted to them through various sources of information. The library is one of the major sources of information for students, which is why every respectable learning institution maintains a supportive library. Use of information resources is even more important than their availability, because this is when information will transform into knowledge. Appropriate usage and processing within the mind combined with the already available knowledge of the user can lead to synthesis of new knowledge.

The slow pace of development in the developing world had been linked to a dearth of information in time past, but more recently, there seems to have been little improvement even with the greater availability of information resources (Lucas 2003). Popoola (2008) stated that productivity in academia is linked to information richness. The richness goes beyond availability to usage and assimilation. The information resources available in any institutional information system and now the vast array of open access resources must be accessed for use to occur.

The essence of every information resource is in its use and the impact it has on improving the knowledge base of the users. This work intends to explore the use of information resources by nursing students through the following research questions:

* How often do student nurses use the library?

* For what purposes do nursing students use the library?

* What are the major information resources used by nursing students?

* What are the factors considered when using information resources?

* What are the major sources of searching for information used by the student nurses?

* What is their level of relationship with the librarian?

* What are the challenges faced in the process of accessing information resources?


The library is the major traditional custodian of information, but with the advent of information technology, information may now be presented in various ways, sources and formats that are not necessarily restricted to the confines of a physical building or location called 'the library'. For learning to take place, learners must have access to information materials and resources no matter the format (Adeoye and Popoola 2011). Fatima and Ahmad (2008) stated that the use of library resources is necessary to help students meet their information requirements. Their findings show that textbooks and journals are the most popular sources of information for student course work.

Regarding preferred resources of information, print resources were highly used by nursing students with over 70% using print journals at least once a week (Bartha 1995, Cogdil 2003, Pravikoff 2000 and Urquhart and Davies 1997. Bartha (1995) also found that 73% of nursing students found nursing journals to be most useful. Dee and Stanley (2005) stated that the choice of print journals has to do with ready availability, ease of access, and reliability of the information, compared to electronic journals which were not readily available.

Research has shown that since the mid-1990s, medical professionals' use of online information has increased exponentially. Verhey (1999) reports an underutilization of the available nursing literature with a reduction in textbook use. Pyne et al (1999) stated that there is minimal reliance on print journals while (Willinsky and Maggio 2011) cited in (McCulley and Jones 2014) found that 27% of the respondents used PubMed, but the most frequently used sources for health information were Google and Wikipedia. Dee and Stanley's (2005) work affirmed that most nursing students used the internet, particularly Google and yahoo. According to the authors, nursing students reported that they used medical research articles from quality databases for school assignments. The authors further found that lack of knowledge among the nursing students about librarians' capabilities hinders them, and that nursing students felt medical libraries were for physicians alone so the information may be too technical and incomprehensible for nursing or school related information needs. However, in the work of McCulley and Jones (2014), one of the two students interviewed commented, "I feel more at ease about accessing information and knowing that there is always someone (a librarian) I can ask whenever there is some confusion."

Research has shown that nursing students first consult human resources before turning to the library. For instance, Lathey and Hodge (2001) and Dee and Blazek (1993) found that due to time constraints, many health care professionals prefer to obtain information from resources that are convenient, easy to use, and reliable. Connaway, Dickey and Radford, (2011) and Solomons and Spross, (2011) affirmed that convenience, in terms of access to and ease of use of resources and time, has a significant influence on where people seek information. Professional superiors, colleagues, and other health care providers, especially physicians, are favorite resources for nursing information (Fakhoury and Wright, 2000 and Cogdill, 2003). Fakhoury and Wright (2000) also discovered that among nurse practitioners, drug therapy and diagnosis were among the most frequent categories of information needs. The authors also found that nursing practitioners frequently used consultations with their primary supervising physicians, drug reference manuals and textbooks. Cogdill (2003) noted that 63% of the nurse practitioners preferred weekly consultations with physicians rather than non-human resources. Dee and Stanley's (2005) findings also confirmed that nursing students prefer human resources such as professional superiors, clinical supervisors, nurse colleagues, physicians and other health care providers. Pravikoff, Tanner, and Pierce (2005) reported that nurses often asked colleagues or peers or searched the Internet because they lacked the confidence and...

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