Monday, 20 June 2011

Negotiated project for Module 3 of UCPD in Web Enhanced Practice

This is a project to propose how the library can use social media tools (as yet undefined) in order to support, develop and enhance levels of information literacy amongst nursing students, given the specific characteristics of this group and the demanding requirements of graduate level nursing training.

Pre-registration nursing students receive library induction from library staff early on in their courses, and during those sessions, they are taught the basics in using the library catalogue, finding electronic journals and searching databases. However, librarians are dealing with large groups who function at different levels in terms of information and computer literacy; the time allotted does not allow for coverage of some of the more specialist resources they should be aware of, and they are learning these techniques early on in their terms, at the same time as being bombarded with lots of other information. Unlike many students in other subject areas they do need to get up and running with these basic skills very quickly. Evidence based practice is a key element of the material they must use, and they have to be able to demonstrate their use of proven, up to date, quality resources which take this into account. They will also be spending time on placement, and so must have the skills to work at distance and alone, without the support of colleagues, staff and the library. It is my intention to try and establish how using social media tools, probably including a Facebook group, and online screencast or video tutorials, the library can do more to support these students and help them to nurture and develop their information literacy skills.

A graphic representation of their journey can be found here:


  1. Hi Sharon,

    Looks good. Two comments follow.

    1. When you write "some of the more specialist resources they should be aware of" - which resources do you mean?

    2. What does "information and computer literacy" mean in reality? What is literacy in this context? Is it different for nurses from other learners? Is it just evidence-based practice?

    Best wishes,


  2. Hi Richard
    1.There's a focus on the academic journals accessible through databases which is essential; but what I had in mind was not enough coverage of Cochrane, NHS Evidence, King's Fund, government sources and so on; links are on the library's website but these sources are not highlighted enough.
    2.I intend to present a definition of information literacy in the context of this project, but not dwell on computer literacy - by that I meant general skills in using computers and technology - more of an issue with some of the post-reg students.

  3. In thinking about your project, I needed to read up on evidenced based practice to appreciate the importance of information literacy (IL) skills in the nursing profession. I can now see why IL plays such a vital role, i.e. improving access to health care research studies and improving the critical appraisal of this information as a primary way of informing best practice in nursing.

    You have chosen an interesting area of inquiry and have effectively illustrated the current situation facing learners undertaking nursing training via a higher education institutional, whilst also working in the field. I wonder if it would be useful for practitioners supervising students on placements to also become stakeholders in this research project.

    As you say, the need for more promotion of currently underused valuable resources such as Cochrane and NHS Evidence throws up opportunity to make use of web-based tools and can see that Twitter and Facebook would serve this need well. I found these examples of non-uk, accounts on Twitter (you may already know of them) @RNChat, @FutureofNursing and @RWJF_HumanCap

    I like your idea of using mobile learning through the use of podcasts as a way of supporting learning at a distance, whilst students are on placement. I can see that presenting IL materials in this way would also be a beneficial way of reinforcing learning for entry-level students.

    One tool that particularly sprang to mind whilst considering your project was Amplify. Students using this easy to use, blogging tool, could act as curators demonstrating skills in literature searches, making selections and providing reviews. The blog would also act as an e-portfolio, evidencing IL skills and reflective practice. This may create an incentive in developing research appreciation.

    I look forward to seeing your project develop.

  4. Richard, with regards to your second point, I have added something about information literacy in my blog on Posterous you think it appropriate I can copy it into a comment on here - just thought that makes it a bit lengthy.

  5. I think the Pre-Reg Nursing students are an interesting group to focus on. I know it’s dangerous to generalise, but (based on my experiences supporting them with Blackboard and other e-learning tools) my impressions are:
    1.) Due to the demands of their placement work, they have less spare time than many other students – so the extra "life-belts" provided by multi-media resources and social tools could be very useful to them.
    2.) For the same reason, many of them see technology very much as a means to an end – they are happy to use it if it has an immediate practical benefit for them, but are put off if they have to spend a lot of time learning how it works or if they are not clear about its purpose. I think this is something to bear in mind when you are designing training materials for them.