Osborne, Antony (2013) Squaring the Circle:Student nurses’ perceptions of information literacy and its impact in the “real world” of the nurse. In: Information:Interactions and Impact, 25-28 June 2013, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK. (Unpublished)

This presentation is based on the results of a study carried out as part of my Doctoral research into the perceptions of the value of information literacy conceptions of information held by student nurses on a BSc Nursing Studies course at a UK University (2011)

The research adopted the interpretive paradigm with phenomenography as its
methodology. It used focus groups and twenty-one individual interviews to obtain
rich data from a purposive sample of students across the three years of the
course. Such data were analysed to produce categories of description
representing the collective experience of information literacy across the sample.

The second of its three objectives was to:

“To examine the value and relevance of information literacy in searching for
evidence-based materials within their placements as an indicator of its
place in the ‘real world’ of the nurse”.

This presentation compares attitudes to, and use of information literacy within the artificial
environment of the university and the ‘real world’ of the nurse as perceived by participants on their clinical and community placements. It examines briefly different ‘ways of knowing’ through informal and non-formal ways as well as formal methods. Furthermore, this theme goes on to include the wider context of information literacy in the workplace.

The thesis explores the nature and type of education received by student nurses at the University of Brownfield and describes their interactions with qualified nursing staff whose view plays a significant part in influencing student perceptions on the impact of information in their workplace. The findings reveal a tension between the academic and clinical aspects of learning to be a nurse which some students struggle to resolve. The study concludes that while information literacy is perceived as part of a nurse’s professional role in supporting evidence-based practice, participant observations suggest that its use is context dependent and variable. The thesis recognizes that the adoption of evidence-based practice may depend on the presence or absence of particular personal and organisational barriers.

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