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When a person begins nursing school it can be a bit over whelming. One is bombarded by not only new experiences but an overabundance of information. Clinical advisors demand an accumulation of information before setting a toe into a patient’s room. However, being a novice, the student has no idea what all that information pertains to or what to do with it. As the semesters of nursing school pass, the student begins to realize what the information is and what to do with it. The students acquire information literacy.

Information Literacy Definition Due to the enormous growth of the health care industry itself and the many changes of how information is delivered, it is more important now than ever that nurses have acquired information literacy. “Information Literacy is defined as the ability to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” (Cherry & Jacob, 2011, p. 306). Nurses need the ability to recognize when information is needed because they need to know what questions they need to ask their patients to be able to clearly assess their patient’s conditions.

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They also need to assess outside information to be able to establish the best evidence based practice to be used in their patient’s treatment. Information can be obtained from the patient themselves or evidence based practice journals, computer data bases, and facility protocols. “To be able to achieve any of these competencies nurses need to identify where relevant information can be found” (Glasper, 2011, p. 188). It is also very important to consider the level of evidence of your source of information. Once the nurse has gathered information, one must be able to understand what the information means.

Anyone can read the words on a lab report, but nurses must be able to know what lab values mean. They must also be able to know when values are critical and need immediate intervention. Not only is it important to ask the right questions but it is also important what the nurse does with the information gathered. If a nurse knows that a patient is trending in a bad direction, one must intervene in a proven way to stop the patient’s progression. For example if a person has a very high blood sugar, just knowing the sugar is high is not going to prevent a bad event.

One must intervene with the most evidence based practice to lower the blood glucose level. Importance of Information Literacy Information literacy is not only very important; it is the key to survival as a registered nurse. Health Care has begun to place a great emphasis on quality and safety of patient care. This is a wonderful thing but for the nurse to practice safely, one will have to be able to gather and apply information in a correct proven method. Wonderful safety measures are being developed every day but if nurses are not aware of them or how they work the practice will not improve.

Information is the key element to an evidenced based practice. Without a knowledge base sound decisions cannot be made. With an increasing amount of information available to nurse, it is of great importance as well to protect the patien’s personal information. “ It is also very important to have information literacy to be able to understand economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and the use of information” (Magee, 2011, p. 1). The most important reason however, is to be able to assess the correct information to be able to safely and effectively care for patients. Integration of Information Literacy

When the student nurse becomes a registered nurse she will make information literacy a key part of her practice. She will monitor current accredited nursing journals to find articles about best evidence based practices. She will access web-based information when she has a deficient knowledge of a medication. The registered nurse will also access facility information regarding policies and protocols. The registered nurse (RN) will utilize electronic charting and participate in all in-house education on informatics. She will also continue her education by attending seminars and web based education to further her knowledge base.

The RN will utilize all available information sources. She will take the time to accurately assess given information and decide on an affective course action for all patients in her care. Clinical Experience During the student nurse’s medical-surgical one rotation, she was assigned to care for a patient with a subarachnoid hematoma. The patient was exhibiting contradictory symptoms. On assessment the patients eyes were not reactive to light and accommodation, however the student nurse noticed that the patient was tracking her when she was cleaning in the room. The patient’s physician felt that he did not have much brain activity.

The student left the patients room and then returned to find that the patient had pulled all of his catheters out. The student talked with the physician about what she had seen with the patient. The physician somewhat laughed at the student and replied that it was very unlikely that the patient had any cognition. The student then talked with the primary nurse assigned to the patient. The nurse did agree that sometimes physicians give up too quickly on patients. The student nurse went home to find any information about subarachnoid hematomas. The student found lots of information on the subject.

The student used Medscape which is an accredited source. The student read that sometimes the swelling cause’s pressure within the brain that prevents the eyes from reacting to light and accommodation. When the level of inflammation and pressure is reduced the patient may function at a higher level. The article also encourage interventions to stimulate brain activity. (Liebeskind, 2013) The student is in no way qualified to diagnose the patient, but this information helped the student understand what the condition of the patient actually was and changed how the student approached the patient.

The student began music therapy with the patient. She talked with him and held his hand and he did sometimes squeeze back. The student did understand that the patient would probably have extensive brain damage but there was a possibility of some primitive functioning. The information gathered was not only valuable in the day- to- day care of the patient, but also in advocating for the patient to be placed in a rehab facility as opposed to convalescent care.

In the example above, the student nurse had deficient knowledge of a medical condition, so she took the next step to find credible information on the subject matter. Next she assessed the information and achieved a general understanding of the information. Then the student decided on a course of action and implemented it. The student learned to assess and access information to provide the best care possible for her patient. References Cherry, B. , & Jacob, S. R. (2011). Contemporary Nursing Issues, Trends, & Management (5th Ed. ). http://dx. doi.

org/9780323069533 Glasper, A. (2011, January 12). The RCN’s literacy competences for evidence-based practice. . British Journal of Nursing, 20(3), 188-189. Retrieved from http://web. ebscohost. com. bakerezproxy. palnet. info/ehost/delivery? sid Liebeskind, D. S. (2013). Intracranial hemorrhage. Retrieved from http://emedicine. medscape. com Magee, J. (2011, February 25). Information Literacy and Nursing Students. Librarians and Faculty Collaborating to Enhance Understanding. Retrieved from www. sciencedirect. com/science/article/pii/S875572230300…

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