Impact of health informatics on nurses' computer skills and the role of the library
Obafemi Awolowo University
Purpose - The concept of the paper is how the library can be a useful framework for designing nurses' computer skills. The overarching aim of the research is to focus on how the computer skills involved in nurses' increasing access to health informatics can be used to improve nursing practice, consequently leading to better health care delivery. The objectives involved in achieving this aim include: finding out the level of nurses' computer literacy; finding out nurses' quest for electronic information for problem-based nursing practice; investigating nurses' level of awareness of research-based nursing practice; and finding out areas of desirability of informatics in nursing practice.
Design/methodology/approach - The measuring instrument used was a self-administered questionnaire to senior nursing cadres in the Teaching Hospitals Complex, lie-He, Nigeria. There were 230 nurses in these categories, of whom 180 were given questionnaires to fill in. The questionnaire was pre-tested and validated. A total of 167 copies were returned and found to be usable. Simple percentages and a summation weighted index were used to analyse the data.
Findings - The paper provides empirical insight into nurses' computer skills and the library's role. The majority of the respondents did not have knowledge of computers; in the School of Nursing they learned it through various means while practising, while a few could access and retrieve information from the available databases. Some difficulties were expressed, such as workload, lack of skills, location of the library with regard to the hospital, etc. The desirability of the introduction of health informatics to the profession is high.
Research limitations/implications - The study is limited to a teaching hospital and the results may not be generalisable to non-teaching hospitals, hence the need for further studies. Practical implications - The impact of health informatics on nurses' computer skills and the library's role will save nurses from routine work, enhance their productivity, and will equip them better for the challenges that information technology presents for health professionals.
Originality/value - This paper fulfils and identifies the need to introduce health informatics to nursing practice in order to improve patient care.