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Information Literacy in Nursing Education and Development

Updated: Mar 14, 2020

Review of research information provides support for change. Information literacy can act as a catalyst for changing not only practice, but also attitudes and culture. Providing reliable evidence-based research can assist in accomplishing this goal and also in attaining support from healthcare administration when necessary. Evidence-based research can be used to initiate change in practice across the healthcare continuum, as we as educators set these changes into motion. Whenever attempting to initiate a change to practice it is important to assess available research studies proving results elsewhere, along with rationales for change.

In encouraging information literacy as an educator, it is vital to teach learners how to evaluate resources. As nurse educators we ponder where to find the best evidence resources to share with our students and then teach them how to find their own best evidence resources. When reviewing whether or not evidence can be used to back a change, evidence must be reviewed for reliability and credibility. Evidence hierarchies are in place to help rank types of evidence sources according to the strength of the evidence they provide and the effectiveness of intervention to guide practice.

As nursing knowledge builds, judgment alters based upon deepened ways of knowing. With increased knowledge development and nursing experience, patient safety improves. The concentration of nursing knowledge is moving away from skill-based focuses to knowledge-based structures supported by the application of knowledge, science, and evidence resources. Advanced practice in nursing creates improved outcomes. As nurse educators, we can support lifelong learning with continued self-direction in seeking out information to remain current in evidence-based practice research developments. Information literacy serves as a foundational platform of knowledge and the ability to observe when further information is needed, such as in the cases of continued research on evidence-based practice and maintenance of lifelong professional work endeavors for strengthened ways of knowing.

As educators and leaders of development we are responsible for evaluating the evidence we lend to our learners. We should be reviewing textbooks, articles, web resources, amongst others, for reliability and credibility before using them to educate our learners. We also maintain a commitment to educating our students on how to continue to learn as new information becomes available in their future nursing careers. In addition to evaluating learning information resources and providing students with the tools to evaluate their own information resources, we must also provide students with reputable long-standing resource connections for continued competency growth and evidence-based research development. We should continue to strengthen our information literacy competencies by constantly maintaining our self-directed practices to develop further expert abilities on information review to better educate our current and future learners.


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