Ouma, S, Gathoni, N. The Impact of Information retrieval skills training for nurses: a case study of KEN-AHILA/INASP course in Nairobi, Kenya, 2009. 12th AHILA Conference, Maupto, Mozambique, October 2010
Abstract / Summary:
Nurses would normally seek for information for three basic reasons: Patient care; practice development and lastly for professional/personal development. In this study, KEN-AHILA identified nurses as the largest group of healthcare providers who are in dire need of skills to know when they need healthcare information, where and how to find it and efficiently and effectively put it into use.. The HIFA2015 challenge for 2009 spelling out the need for nurses tot have access to the information they need for diagnosis, appropriate care and treatment and save lives, gave KEN-AHILA the added incentive to source for funding and eventually mount the training and hence this evaluation study. KEN-AHILA approached the National Nurses Association of Kenya who agreed to provide a forum for the training and thereafter submitted a proposal to INASP who again readily offered the much needed funding for the four training sessions. The course was offered to a group of Senior Nurses drawn from various institutions within the Republic of Kenya who had already been selected to attend a Leadership for Change course mounted by the International Council for Nurses. The course was spread out throughout 2009 and the IL which was facilitated by KEN-AHILA was slotted in during the four sessions.
(1) to evaluate the information retrieval skills training given to nurses, (2) to collect practical lessons learnt that can guide future training and share experiences on the same. (3) to evaluate the impact of the training on to the nurses competencies to access and use electronic health information.
A total of 21 nurses who went through the training were sent self administered questionnaires with both closed and open ended questions. The questionnaires were e-mailed to participants and a further hardcopy was also mailed by post to ensure that those in areas where internet facilities are not readily available also had an equal opportunity of participating in the study. Follow up SMS and phone calls ensured higher recall. 15 questionnaires were returned. The survey sought to find out the following key issues among others: (1) Improved performance on the job as a result of gained IL skills. (2) Whether skills and knowledge acquired contributed to professional development. (3) Whether initiatives were taken to share knowledge and skills gained with other teams in the workplace. (4) Whether the course content and organization met their needs
Participating nurses were at different levels of IL and computer skills competency at the beginning of the course. This meant that the trainers had to pay individual attention to those whose competencies were low. Some of the competencies whose ratings improved included: Internet searching, use of search engines Free versus controlled vocabulary searching and managing search results among others. By the end of the sessions, there was improved competency in all participants. All participants agreed that they had benefited from the training and concur that it has helped them in their job performance and professional development.
Ken-AHILA hopes to continue with these series of training when funds allow and have plans with the National Nurses Association of Kenya that the association will continue to volunteer to give IL sessions to Nurses. Participants were eager for more training on online information retrieval skills. The need for better computer skills was also appreciated. Generally nursing professionals need a wide range of health information to meet their clinical and educational needs and this provides an opportunity for health information professionals to contribute to better healthcare by imparting knowledge and skills of knowing sources of e- health information and being able to retrieve it and use it for improved health.