Establishing library 'key skill' confidence levels amongst a cohort of nursing students at an English university

Nurse Educ Pract. 2007 Jul;7(4):258-65. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2006.08.001. Epub 2006 Oct 27.


This article presents the findings of a small-scale preliminary survey of one cohort of students studying towards a Diploma/BSc in Nursing. The survey sought to establish student characteristics and indicate their confidence levels using identified key library facilities. From questionnaires (N=64), the data confirmed the 'typicality' of the student group illuminating a breadth of prior experiences in terms of students' prior learning and perceived confidence in using library resources. Whilst a number of respondents indicated confidence using identified library resources, a significant number of students (typically over one third n=14+) indicated that they lacked confidence in and did not utilise library facilities. This suggests that they may not be using the resources to full advantage. Over half of the respondents (53% n=23) had not attended library skills training within the last two years and 9% (n=4) had not used the library although they were completing assignments. This survey points to gaps in student confidence, and by implication, use of key library skills, particularly those involving electronic resources. At a time of widening participation and the explosion of information technology, this survey is a timely reminder of the need to revisit key skill development for nursing students studying in higher education.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Computer Literacy
  • Databases, Bibliographic / statistics & numerical data
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / methods*
  • Education, Nursing, Diploma Programs / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / standards*
  • Library Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Students, Nursing*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Universities