To be information literate in nursing means to have the current, relevant knowledge of the nursing practices. It also includes having the skills to find the information required to overcome a nursing challenge. Nursing information is found in physical and online libraries. It is imperative for nursing professionals to be skilled in navigating and making sense of the immense number of articles and locating the required information and data is paramount. Additionally, they are required to be informed and updated on the newest developments in technology that relate to the field. Modern information technology has made it possible for the nurse to access a lot of information in real time (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018). The only challenge it presents is that it provides both relevant and irrelevant information. The onus of the nurse is to sort out the information and use that which is actionable and applicable at the moment.
The patients need to be information literate to minimize incidents of preventable illnesses. Most of the information that the patients access online is not reliable and might even mislead them into making wrong decisions, such as self-medicating (Detmering et al., 2014). The best way for a nursing professional to ensure that the patients are information literate is to advise them on the best sites to seek medical information. Preferably the sites should be those that nurses have used. Encouraging the patients to seek the opinion of a medical expert instead of self-medicating is imperative. Besides effective treatment, health practitioners can arm the public with information that is essential to staying healthy. When the patients present information, it is not wise for the nursing practitioner to dismiss it right away even when it seems far-fetched (Detmering et al., 2014). Instead, the nurse should respectfully provide the patient with the correct information.
Information used in the nursing profession should be current. Checking the publication dates is an efficient means of ascertaining that information is current. Publications and other sources of information that is more than five years old are outdated hence should not be relied upon to make decisions (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018). It is unwise to use outdated data because of the fast pace at which medical technology is advancing. Essentially, the source of information primarily determines its relevance and appropriateness of the information found online. Social media sites, for example, are not good sources of nursing information because it is usually not verified. Therefore, suggestions given on such sites should be verified before being taken seriously. The web address suffixes offer information regarding the relevancy and appropriateness of the information contained therein. Domains that indicate learning and medical institutions are more believable compared to commercial domains. Information from online medical libraries is more reliable than conventional websites.
Evidence-based research has to follow a prescribed format of collecting data and presenting the findings in a manner that other nursing can comprehend. It is an undertaking aimed at improving nursing practice making use of new information gathered during the research (Lawless, Toronto & Grammatica, 2016). A satisfactory justification needs to be made regarding the new methods of providing services to the patients that are presented in the research. After submitting the details of the research and the approaches suggested with justifications, then the information can be considered to be evidence-based.
Information literacy is essential in the age of technological advancements. It keeps the nurse updated regarding the new approaches in his/her practice and improves competency. The informed a nurse is, the more efficient he/she is in disseminating the same to the patients. Indeed, knowing how to seek relevant information on nursing is a core skill for the development of information literacy. It is also imperative for the general public to understand the difference between excellent and bad sources of health information to avoid making erroneous decisions that could cost lives.
Detmering, R., Johnson, A. M., Sproles, C., McClellan, S., & Linares, R. H. (2014). Library instruction and information literacy 2013. Reference Services Review, 42(4), 603-715.
Lawless, J., Toronto, C. E., & Grammatica, G. L. (2016). Health literacy and information literacy: A concept comparison. Reference Services Review, 44(2), 144-162.
McGonigle, D. & Mastrian, K. (2018). Nursing Informatics and the Foundation of Knowledge. Burlington, MA: Jones & Barlett Learning