Access All Areas: Exploring the Use of Library and IT Facilities by University of Salford Pre-registration Diploma Nurses During Periods of Clinical Practice Placement

Mike Raynor


Objective - To assess the scale of library and IT resource access issues reported anecdotally by nursing students on clinical placement. To map patterns of IT and library usage behaviour to inform future service plans for this population of students.

Methods - A multi-response self-completion questionnaire administered on a group basis to 78 pre-registration Diploma Nursing students.

Results - The survey group were heavy users of library and IT facilities while on placement (87% of respondents accessed library and IT facilities at least once per week). Survey respondents encountered barriers to accessing these resources, including lack of awareness of local facilities, lack of time to access facilities, supervisors’ attitudes towards use of library and IT facilities by placement students, and feeling inadequately prepared for accessing and using resources at a distance from the university. Respondents relied heavily on facilities in the placement location and university facilities and responses suggest that use by location was strongly linked to resource format. Use of public library facilities to support study while on placement was revealed by the survey. Respondents’ main source of help for library and IT issues was clinical mentors. The survey indicated that the experience of library and IT access varied greatly with location of placement venue. The study was limited in eliciting more detail about location-specific experiences and findings need to be explored further with respondents using focus group methodology.

Conclusions – Library and IT access problems encountered by the pre-registration nursing students included in this survey were not large scale. Although there is no evidence of behaviour to circumvent systemic problems, the study identified small but significant barriers. Five recommendations addressing these barriers will require collaborative service planning between University of Salford and National Health Service (NHS) learning resource staff to implement. This collaboration needs to include service users and the practice mentors who support them on clinical placement.


nurse education; clinical placement; library; information technology; survey

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