The Relationship Between Self-Efficacy, Difficulty of Task and Retrieval of Internet Health Information by Nursing Students

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 11:05 AM

Sivia Barnoy, RN, PhD
Nursing Department, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify factors that are related to the student's success in retrieving health information from the Internet.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand difficulties the nursing student faces when retrieving health information from the Internet.


To investigate possible correlations between student self- efficacy perception, level of difficulty of information retrieval tasks, information retrieval competence, and the computerized information retrieval competence of nursing students. A possible link between all these variables has not been investigated. 


A total of 64 nursing students participated: 33 in their second year of studies and 31 in their fourth year. All filled in questionnaires evaluating perceived self Internet efficacy. The students were asked to perform two Internet health-information search tasks of different difficulty levels. The easy task was: "to find an article published in the last two years dealing with hypertension" and the difficult task was: "to find an article published during the last five years dealing with diabetic patients coping with hypertension". For each task time was limited to 30 minutes. Student behaviour and success in information retrieval were evaluated by the researchers.


The results show that for the easy task a significant difference between the success of fourth year and second year students was found. With the senior students demonstrating more success as compared to second year students.  In this task, Internet self-efficacy correlated positively with student success in retrieving information. For the difficult task, no difference in success was found between the two groups of students, it was observed that in both years the level of success in the difficult task was rather low. Student who succeeded in the difficult search task, had significantly higher Internet self-efficacy.


Difficulties observed in retrieving online health information highlight the importance of developing a training program for Internet search skills. Since retrieval of professional information from the Internet is important for nursing training, an appropriate program should be integrated into the curriculum at the early stages of an academic program.