Davies & Taylor - Information Literacy skills and the transition to professional practice

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  • Welcome to our session on Information Literacy skills and the transition to professional practice. My name is Angela Davies and this is my colleague, Deb Taylor. We are health librarians at Sheffield Hallam University. In the next 30 mins we want to share with you some of our recent activity supporting final year pre registration nurses. We are not presenting a completed body of work and we certainly don’t have answers to all our questions on this. What we hope to do is give you a flavour of the issues we have been grappling with and hopefully to stimulate some debate and ideas from you. How many of you are working in the health area? How many of you are librarians? Our plan is to talk for about 15 mins. Deb is going to set the scene at SHU and talk about the initiative we have tried and our reflections on this. I will then present a case study of a newly qualified nurse and talk about our plans for the future. Towards the end of our presentation we will pause for a brief discussion on the issues raised.
  • We thought we'd set the scene and give a bit of background to our support for the nursing students at Sheffield Hallam. We have 2 large intakes of pre registration nursing per year on the 4 nursing branches. There are around 500-600 students per year so roughly 17 hundred students will be on the programme at any one time. The students spend 50% of their time studying on campus and 50% out on placement. The learning centre has an information literacy programme that covers all 3 years of their course, which fits into an Interprofessional education programme taken by all H&SC students. A large part of the programme focuses on evidence based practice. Just as an aside I feel the need to point out the background of the slide. This wooden background represents a student desk, with pizza and post-it notes, and later on we'll move onto a more hygienic nurse's station. The pizza represents our holistic support for the nursing students.
  • These are the modules that we teach on and we aim to build up skills and knowledge gradually over the three years. You can see the focus on evidence based practice from the module titles and the assignments assess students’ information literacy skills so in the 1 st year module "Using Knowledge and Evidence to Support Study and Practice" students learn how to find five articles on hand washing, and in their 3 rd year module "Generating and Evaluating Evidence in Practice" they carry out a literature review. We also help to prepare students for their placement by telling them what resources and services are available to them in the NHS libraries in the Trust they'll be working with. We’ve built up good relationships with the local NHS librarians and we meet every year to discuss our shared support for the students. We also put a lot of work into ensuring that students know how to access Sheffield Hallam library resources from off-campus.
  • So, how did this project on the "transitions to professional practice" arise? Well, we were thinking about the attributes a nursing graduate would possess and we wondered whether there was anything more we could do to equip our students for the world of work. Employability is obviously an important buzz word in the university and according to our Vice Chancellor it's recently become one of the top 3 issues for students. It's important that the uni course is relevant to the workplace, so things we had to consider were whether nurses are able to transfer the Information Literacy skills they have developed at SHU into a work context? whether the new resources and interfaces nurses have access to at work cause any confusion? and whether are there any barriers to nurses accessing information at work?
  • Both the Royal College of Nursing and the Nursing and Midwifery Council say that Information Literacy skills and evidence based practice are important and *POINT* the RCN has published its own Information Literacy Competences. We wanted to draw on these governing body requirements to reinforce our message that the Information Literacy skills students had developed here were not solely academic skills that they should leave behind when they graduate.
  • We identified an aptly named final year module called Transition to professional practice. in which students focus on transferring their nursing skills to the workplace. The module leaders were supportive of our ideas, and we decided to run a lecture that focussed on transferring the students' Information Literacy skills to the workplace. We wanted to reinforce that Information Literacy is a key professional skill, as stated by the RCN and the NMC, and we also wanted to prepare students for the loss of SHU databases and resources by introducing them to NHS and other professional health resources. Teaching on this module felt like the 7 th segment in our teaching and our support for nursing students. So, in Nov 2010 we ran the lecture twice for the September cohort, focussing on the theme of transitions. We used work-based scenarios to prompt our searching, and we used the information resource NHS Evidence which is the resource that nurses will have access to in the NHS. We showed students how to set up alerts and news feeds, how to search and how to browse the Specialist Collections, and briefly where they can find the Athens databases. The team behind NHS Evidence were interested in what we were doing, and volunteered to come along to the lectures so we gave them 5 minutes to publicise the resource.
  • However, when we reflected on the lecture it felt a bit like we’d jumped straight in without fully assessing the situation. We'd had an idea about helping students to make the transition to professional nursing, and since the module gave us the opportunity to try out it out we had to do the lecture immediately. In retrospect it would have been better to have had time to do research and to discuss the aims and intended benefits of the proposal with students. Was it even necessary to cram in that 7 th slice of pizza? Feedback from the module leaders suggested that the timing was wrong, as students were still concentrating on their academic studies, and (rightly or wrongly) thought that 8 months before graduation was too soon for them to be thinking about life as a professional nurse (!). There were also three groups of people involved in presenting the lecture, all with slightly different agendas – us, the lecturers and the people from NHS Evidence. Despite this though, the lecturers are keen that we remain involved in the module. Angela and I agreed that there was still a need to address, with students, the issue of transferring information literacy skills to their professional nursing practice, and we began to do our research. We investigated the information needs of newly qualified nurses, and whether our aims, which were based on the professional body requirements to use the best available evidence, were actually echoed by a need in the real world. You can see now that we're at the hygienic nursing station and there are no pizzas in sight! The research articles that talk about the information-seeking behaviour of nurses identify various barriers to accessing evidence, and Angela will look at these in a minute. Coincidently, the RCN recently carried out a survey on the information needs of nurses. The results were due out in February but unfortunately publication has been delayed although it’s possible they’ll be released during the RCN Congress that finishes tomorrow. So, in the absence of the official survey results, Angela’s going to tell you how we got in touch with our own ex-SHU nurses.
  • We were lucky at SHU as we run courses for nursing mentors and for qualified diploma students who want to top up to a degree. So we discussed information needs with different students. The messages that came back (totally unscientifically of course) tended to chime with some key points in the literature. Newly qualified nurses, it seems, tend to work under direction and don’t have much of a need to independently search for evidence. We interview one newly qualified nurse at length and we present her here as a case study. Kathryn is a newly qualified nurse (BA) working at a primary care hospital in Sheffield, caring for children. We asked her questions from the RCN survey. The key points from the interview were 1. Most of the time she has the information she needs. Care plans are a key source of information for her, also she would ask more experienced colleagues 2. There was only 1 computer on the ward and she didn’t get much chance in a busy working day to get access to it 3. There didn’t appear to be a culture of fostering evidence based practice, she didn’t really discuss it with her mentor 4. Interestingly, she did see a need for evidence in relation to her CPD activites. She is currently working for her IV exams. She realised that she did need to use good quality information sources in this respect. 5. She did remember using NHS Evidence at university but has not used it in professional practice and doesn't know where it is on the hospital intranet.
  • point to kick off the discussion. We could have a few issues to start the debate - should the approach be different between academic and professional contexts? - quality of resources / ease of use of resources - culture of evidence based nursing (student says impression is that EBP is up to the individual) - links with colleagues in NHS and other health related areas - what are others doing?
  • So to round things off, here is our thinking about next steps   We feel there is a role for us as academic librarians in helping the transition of our students to professional practice and to future success in their careers. We can help promote the messages around evidence based practice by stimulating discussions on the transferablility of their information skills using real world scenarios as well as academic to show how these skills might be used collaborating with health colleagues on strategies to keep information skills "warm" so that they are ready to be used when needed. One idea we are pursuing is to focus less on the resources and more on evidence based practice in reality, looking at advantages and barriers. Students may not need to be independent, in depth researchers early on in their career but they can be encouraged to use evidence to keep their practice current for CPD and career opportunities and to help their patients manage their own information needs (emerging need in the literature)   Our challenge is to suggest approaches and promote resources that allow them to achieve these objectives quickly and easily. So we plan on more collaboration with health librarians in the local area and want to learn more about good practice and innovative approaches in other institutions. We feel we will have opportunities at SHU to build on our early work. Our curriculum is being re-written for a Sept 2013 start. One of its themes will be around an increasing autonomy of practice for nurses so we think we may be able to use this approach to build in more real world evidence based practice sessions.
  • We think it is all about collaboration!


  • 1. ur re cyInformation Littra O poskills up s ansition& the tr or f s ur i g sl nto profesnionapractice Angela Davies Deborah Taylor
  • 2. Our ort p sup ursing n for1st yearUsing knowledge and evidence to supportstudy and practice1st year placement support2nd yearUnderstanding and evaluating evidence toinform practice2nd year placement support3rd yearGenerating and evaluating evidence inpractice3rd year placement support
  • 3. 1st year 3rd year Using knowledge and placement evidence to support support study and practice3rd year 1st yearGenerating andevaluating evidence placementin practice support 2nd year 2nd year Understanding and placement evaluating evidence support to inform practice
  • 4. e:Nam da nAma t No: en Stud C9O C !56X
  • 5. 1st year Transition to Using knowledge and professional evidence to support practice study and practice3rd year 1st yearplacement placementsupport support3rd year 2nd year Generating and Understanding andevaluating evidence 2nd year evaluating evidencein practice to inform practice placement support
  • 6. Jan 2011Reflection• Our impressions• Feedback from lecturersInvestigation• Messages from the literature• Feedback from nurses • RCN survey • Our investigations
  • 7. Case Study: Newly Q ualifiedNKeysmessages ur e • much of the information she needs is supplied locally (e.g. via care plans or from colleagues) • barriers - lack of time and lack of PCs • evidence based practice solely down to her • uses evidence as part of continuing professional development activities
  • 8. ur re cyInformation Littra O poskills up s ansition& the tr or f s ur i g sl nAcademic Librarians and Emto profesniona ployabilitypractice Is there more we ca n do to prepare stud ents for careers in health Angela Davies care? Deborah Taylor
  • 9. rInformation Littra e cy Ou porskilext stup ls eps N s& the traorition g ns f eaching nal n i Ac rofessio rs Tademic Librarians and Employabilityto p nu tere e on we cancare? prepare the ents of • focus ore discussions around st valueprac ic m in health do to Is th ud for careers d transferability of skills EBP an Angelamoreviels scenarios a • use D rea life Deboraborataylorhealth colleagues to • colla h T e with keep skills warm tice The hooks for evidence based prac • to keep practice current • continuing professional development/ career development. • to help patients with their information needs
  • 10. The next step SHU students SHU librarians Health librarians NHS Evidence Lecturers Royal Other College of Institutions Nursing
  • 11. ur re cyInformation Littra O poskills up s ansition& the tr or f s ur i g sl nto profesnionapractice Angela Davies Deborah Taylor