Teaching Information Literacy Skills to Undergraduate Nursing Students: A Collaborative Approach

Monday, 18 November 2013

Suzanne E. Zentz, DNP, RN, CNE
College of Nursing, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Kimberly Whalen, BBA, MLIS
Library Services, Christopher Center, Room 267, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN

Learning Objective 1: Describe information literacy skills necessary in implementing evidence-based practice.

Learning Objective 2: Explain two teaching strategies that promote the adoption of information literacy skills.

An expectation of baccalaureate nursing education is to prepare nurses to implement evidenced-based practice (EBP). This expectation extends far beyond a basic understanding of the research process. BSN prepared nurses must be able to effectively and efficiently identify, analyze, and synthesize evidence (AACN, 2008). The acquisition of information literacy skills is foundational to the development of EBP. The study took place at a College of Nursing within a mid-sized, faith-based university located in the Midwest. Historically, students enrolled in their senior level undergraduate nursing research/EBP course underwent one library instruction session with the nursing librarian to reinforce search strategies for accessing single studies and higher levels of evidence. As part of the course, students conducted EBP group projects which required searching for the best evidence to address a clinical problem. Evaluation of EBP projects revealed that students were not effectively performing systematic searches. This deficit was interpreted as critical since the EBP process is built upon accessing the best evidence. To facilitate development of these skills, a collaboration between the College of Nursing and Library Services emerged. Literature regarding teaching nursing research/EBP and information literacy was reviewed. Specific EBP skills and methods to effectively teach those skills were explored. In spring 2012, a collaborative approach to teaching was instituted by embedding a librarian in the nursing research course and integrating information literacy content throughout the semester. Additionally, a research log which required students to document the systematic process used to access the best evidence for their EBP project was introduced. Students’ abilities to effectively and efficiently search, analyze, and synthesize the best evidence will be determined through comparison of student cohorts. Analysis of data from EBP projects and research logs across multiple semesters is in progress. Implications for nursing education, practice, and research will be discussed.