A case study of the information needs of nurses at a university hospital trust in the East Midlands:
: looking towards how information provision could be improved

  • Sarah Wendy Thomas

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Economic and Social Studies


This research focussed on the information needs and information seeking behaviour of nurses. The purpose was to identify the means by which information provision for nurses could be improved. It looked at reasons for seeking information, and sources used by nurses in the clinical environment and in the context of continuing professional development. Barriers to information seeking were then explored, followed by a look at ideas as to how information provision for nurses could be improved.

A literature review was carried out looking at information needs as a broad subject, then focusing on the information needs of nurses. The empirical stage of the study involved a case study of one large hospital trust in the East Midlands. Semi-structured interviews with nurses from a wide variety of specialties were used. Information relating to drug therapy and information about policies and procedures were identified as the most popular reasons for seeking information in the clinical environment. The most popular sources used were human sources, followed by the internet and intranet. In the context of continuing professional development, the most popular sources used were: databases, followed by the library, the internet, journals, and books. Lack of time was identified as the biggest barrier to information seeking.

Other significant barriers included: lack of access to computers, levels of information literacy and issues around nursing culture. Ideas for improvement recommended were: the use of infobuttons and clinical librarians, information skills training for nurses, a time allowance for seeking information while on duty, and improvements to existing computer systems. In the context of continuing professional development, it was recommended that library based information provision is required
Date of Award2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorHugh Preston (Supervisor)

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