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RTI Research Spotlight: Assessing Health Information Literacy Among Nursing Students Across Three Learning Environments

It became clear during COVID-19 that more communication among library units is needed to effectively instruct distance nursing students in health Information Literacy (IL). To identify areas in which nursing students already displayed confidence and areas where students might be weaker in their understanding of how to use library services, a study was conducted of nursing students in a nursing program that offers in-person, fully online, and hybrid programs. The study used an online survey to assess and compare nursing student IL skills, confidence levels, and needs in these three learning environments.

Survey results published in the Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning showed many similarities among nursing students in in-person, online, and hybrid programs. Nursing students across the programs felt most confident in finding evidence-based resources and peer-reviewed journal articles. Students were least confident when composing a PICO question. Nursing students across the programs used the library website as their primary portal to obtain health resources. This study showed consistency in nursing students’ health IL confidence levels and information-seeking behaviors, demonstrating that information literacy training could be equally effective across delivery platforms. Based on the study the authors recommend that nursing librarians incorporate the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework into the nursing curricula, regardless of the learning environment.

Ying Zhong is a 2019 Fellow and 2021 Peer Coach of the Research Training Institute (RTI). This study was the focus of her RTI research. The RTI project was possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (RE-95-17-0025-17).

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