The Importance of Information Literacy in Healthcare

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Information Literacy

Information literacy entails the process of sorting, sifting and evaluating information and ensuring understanding the importance of the process, and how it can be applied to practice. The advent of technology has seen the concept of information literacy teaching being embedded in healthcare education (Carroll et al., 2018). The healthcare professionals have the fundamental duty of ensuring that they grasp the concept of information literacy to utilize the same in practice. The understanding of the process is critical because it empowers the ability of the healthcare professionals in ensuring the attainment of better outcomes with regard to its use in enhancing the process of providing care. Information health literacy is the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, process and comprehend basic health information and services which are critical in making appropriate health decisions (Bo et al., 2014). Therefore, the ability to harness the utilization of information technology is vital since it defines the overall process of providing care to the patients (Buchanan and Nicol, 2018). Healthcare professionals have the fundamental duty of ensuring that they recognize the need to synthesize information, identify how it can be used and the sources needed to retrieve it for use in any given situation.

Importance of being Information Literate

Healthcare is a dynamic field owing to the nature of services they provide. The healthcare professionals are faced by different challenges on a daily basis. Therefore, the ability to be information literate is critical since it empowers the healthcare professionals in ensuring adequate provision of healthcare services (Rioux, 2017). Further, information literacy puts an individual in a better position to handle any case which they face. For example, one can be able to search for any form of evidence and determine how best it can be used in ensuring the provision of healthcare services to the patients.

Information literacy is important because it promotes the ability of an individual to solve problems and address any issue which they encounter. Further, one is in a better position to ask critical questions that would be essential in making informed decisions. Further, information literacy is important because it enables an individual gain the ability to determine how best to use manage the information and use the same in solving various problems (Lyles and Sarkar, 2015). Poor decisions are made for lack of vital information. In addition, an individual is limited regarding how best they can handle a particular issue in the prevailing circumstances because of the lack of information (Gilmartin et al., 2017). However, through information literacy, one is in a better position to determine how they can manage the given information at their disposal.

The other importance of information literacy lies in the fact that it equips one with the skills needed to understand how to search for the information through available resources. For example, healthcare providers may need evidence to support the decision they are about to make when providing care to the patients (Hamilton, 2015). A healthcare professional who is information literate is well equipped to search different databases to look for information that can be utilized to inform them on the decision which about to be is made (Suka et al., 2015). In summary, the identified factors are critical in determining the most appropriate way of ensuring that information is utilized for realization of better outcomes with regard to information literacy (Wilson et al., 2015). Therefore, healthcare professionals can use the same to improve on the manner in which services are provided to customers.

Elements of Information Literacy

The five elements of information literacy are; identify, find, evaluate, apply and acknowledge. The first component is based on identification of the information needs. For example, healthcare providers have the fundamental role of ensuring that they understand what they are looking for. The determination of the information need helps in guiding how it will be searched and utilized. Next, it would be essential to find the information. There are numerous sources for identification of the information. For example, the internet can be used to search for the content and find the information needed to address different information needs (Sonya, 2014). The process is facilitated by a literature search. After accessing the information, it can be evaluated to check its ability to address the question which had initially been raised. The evaluation is essential because it helps in deciding whether or not the information is vital and can help in addressing the identified questions (Tennant et al., 2015). The evaluation can be done through benchmarking against an established standard. The next step is applying the information to the relevant scenario. For example, if the healthcare professional was searching information to address a particular health problem, following its adoption, it can be vital to apply it in answering the question. However, it can be done in collaboration with other care providers as a way of promoting its authenticity. Finally, the information can be acknowledged for the role it could have played in ensuring the success in answering the identified question. For example, it can be done by citing the source of the information at the end of the entire report. In addition, the information can be communicated to different people so that it can be utilized by others.

Skills needed to be information literate

Information literacy is a skill. Individuals need to possess certain competencies as a way of ensuring that they can execute their functions effectively. An information literate person has the capability to execute the following functions; determine the nature of information which is needed, access the information in an effective and efficient manner, evaluate the information and its sources in a critical way, incorporate the selected information into their specific database, use the information to accomplish a specific purpose and understand other factors associated with the use of the information (Cuevas-Cerveró and Soriano, 2019).

The first skill needed to be information literate entails knowing what is needed to answer a particular question. For example, a healthcare practitioner needs to have the basic understanding of what is needed in a given assignment and answer the same question. Next, access is a skill that one requires to be information literate. For example, it is critical that an individual can select appropriate search tools and information sources to address a particular question. The skill entails being able to assess the results that have been obtained for searching the particular information.

Why is information literacy important to healthcare Professionals?

Healthcare professionals work in an environment that is defined by unique challenges. Patients present to the hospital with different healthcare problems, some that may or may not have been documented (Wahoush and Banfield, 2014). Consequently, there is a need to ensure that one is in a better position to understand how to address a particular problem that is at their disposal. Information literacy is a critical skill that puts the healthcare professionals in a better position to address any medical problem that they may encounter (Peter et al., 2017). For example, it enables the healthcare professionals to understand how to analyze the information needs in the current situation (Buchanan and Nicol, 2018). In addition, information literacy enables the care providers to understand how best to retrieve the information and use it appropriately to address any of the identified problems.

How to know when information is reliable and trustworthy

The source of the information, backed by relevant sources, can help determine if the information is reliable and trustworthy.

Assessment Task Two

Identification of Learning Skills to help underpin the learning on the course

The learning skill which works best is the use of visual approaches. Mainly, the ability to use pictures, images and spatial understanding is critical in promoting the learning process. The technique is critical because it provides an opportunity to visually evaluate the material that is being studied. The understanding is based on the score which was obtained in the VARK questionnaire.

The management of skills is critical in ensuring the realization of better outcomes. Mainly, there is a need to understand how to balance work, study and home life. Consequently, in doing so, a timetable will be designed that would be helpful in ensuring that such components are balanced effectively. For example, work will be done strictly during the established timelines and within the recommended period. Attempts will be made to ensure that no amount of work is carried home. The approach would be essential since it would ensure that no work is done at home. As for studying, this can be done within a created timeline. For example, two hours will be created to help facilitate the studying process. Time will be created to ensure that home life is spent with family with no interference from work or study work.

The most suitable place to study is the library. After work, two hours are spent in the library because of the serenity and calmness which it provides. The library has the resources which can be used to help in gathering information needed to execute the learning process. For example, there are books, Internet, and it is quiet and calm to facilitate the reading process. Therefore, the most appropriate learning environment is the library.

Reading Styles

The reading style which works best is the extensive approach. In particular, there is a need to understand the content which is being studied. The technique involves reading long text not only for increasing the overall amount of knowledge but to gain an understanding of what the text is about. In addition, the intensive style is equally appropriate because it ensures that detailed information can be obtained from the reading process. The identified approaches are what are used in the process of reading to gain information.

Writing Skills

The writing skills used are based on the adoption of writing everything that has been read. Mainly, it involves taking notes for any of the content that is being read. The approach is essential because it facilitates the overall process of enhancing comprehension. The process is done regularly as a way of understanding how best to understand the information that is being read at any given moment.

Researching Skills

The researching skills are those based on evaluating the available evidence and determining its authenticity for use in answering a particular research question. Mainly, most recent evidence is adopted because of the authenticity which it provides regarding the overall process of searching for information. The research is conducted in an intensive manner to ensure that quality information is used to help in obtaining any form of information. For example, the skills used are critical in helping promote information literacy. In addition, one needs to have skills that enable them to recognize and summarize the specific ideas obtained from the search results. In particular, the use of the evaluation criteria is critical in enabling one to perform such functions. Finally, the individual needs to be able to use or incorporate the information obtained into relevant scenarios, including communicating the findings to others. For example, the healthcare practitioner needs to possess such skills for them to be able to execute such functions effectively for the attainment of quality outcomes.

IT Skills

I have basic to moderate IT skills that are essential in facilitating the overall research process. In particular, I have the ability to utilize the computer resources to search for databases that have content which can help in answering the identified research questions. In addition, I am able to use IT skills to generate a report that can help in making meaningful decisions.

Clinical Skills

The clinical skills are appropriate in helping execute the identified day-to-day functions. I have skills needed to meet my clinical services. However, this is supported by the use of evidence which is derived from different scholarly articles. However, the skills can still be improved through appropriate training as a way of ensuring quality service provision to patients.

Table One: Personal and Professional Development Plan

Learning Skills

Learning Objectives

Personal and Professional Development Objectives


Problem solving

To be able to solve the day-to-day challenges related to work

To continue with education

Enroll in an institution of higher learning.


To be creative and ensure its application to daily life

To participate in professional organizations

To register and be part of the different professional organizations.


To be a leader of exemplary performance and be able to address various issues

To engage in intensive scientific research

Engage with different partners to answer research questions of fundamental significance.


To work in collaboration with other professionals to ensure the attainment of quality outcomes

To improve job performance

To adhere to the job requirements and perform duties as stipulated in the job description.

Information management

To be information literate and acquire skills required in achieving the established goals

To utilize evidence-based practice in clinical research

To perform scientific research and use the information to create a report for use in the subject.

The course has been instrumental in promoting the information literacy process. I have gained the ability to utilize multiple sources to improve my understanding of various concepts.


Information literacy remains to be an aspect of fundamental significance. Mainly, it ensures that one gains necessary skills to utilize the information as evidence in providing care. There is a need to ensure continuity in understanding how best to utilize the information for the achievement of quality outcomes. Further, it should be possible to share the information with colleagues for the achievement of proper care.


Bo, A., Friis, K., Osborne, R.H. and Maindal, H.T., 2014. National indicators of health literacy: ability to understand health information and to engage actively with healthcare providers-a population-based survey among Danish adults. BMC public health, 14(1), p.1095.

Buchanan, S. and Nicol, E., 2018, September. Developing health information literacy in disadvantaged and dependent circumstances: the everyday role of Family Nurses. In Sixth European Conference on Information Literacy.

Buchanan, S. and Nicol, E., 2018. Developing health information literacy in disengaged at-risk populations: Insights to inform interventions. Journal of Documentation.

Carroll, A.J., Hallman, S., Umstead, K., Ozturk, H., McCall, J.V. and DiMeo Sr, A.J., 2018. Healthcare economics and information literacy: Resources for success in undergraduate biomedical engineering education.

Cuevas-Cerveró, A. and Soriano, M.A.A., 2019. Research on Information Literacy and Social Inclusion of Female Inmates. In Infocommunication Skills as a Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Tool for Inmates (pp. 86-104). IGI Global.

Gilmartin, M.J., Santamaria, J. and Brody, A.A., 2017. Inadequate health literacy (HL) is associated with impaired healthcare choices leading to poor quality of care. Our primary purpose was to estimate the prevalence of inadequate HL among two populations of AARP® Medicare Supplement insureds: sicker and healthier populations; to identify characteristics of inadequate HL; and to describe the impact on patient satisfaction, preventive services, healthcare... Geriatric Nursing, 38(4), pp.334-341.

Hamilton, L., 2015. Embedding information literacy into the prehospital care curriculum. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, 6(1).

Klerings, I., Weinhandl, A.S. and Thaler, K.J., 2015. Information overload in healthcare: too much of a good thing?. Zeitschrift für Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualität im Gesundheitswesen, 109(4-5), pp.285-290.

Lyles, C.R. and Sarkar, U., 2015. Health literacy, vulnerable patients, and health information technology use: where do we go from here?.

Peter, J., Leichner, N., Mayer, A.K. and Krampen, G., 2017. Making information literacy instruction more efficient by providing individual feedback. Studies in Higher Education, 42(6), pp.1110-1125.

Rioux, K., 2017. Teaching social justice in an information literacy course: An action research case study. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, pp.23-30.

Sonya, L., 2014. The importance of knowing how to get things: information literacy and the healthcare professional.

Suka, M., Odajima, T., Okamoto, M., Sumitani, M., Igarashi, A., Ishikawa, H., Kusama, M., Yamamoto, M., Nakayama, T. and Sugimori, H., 2015. Relationship between health literacy, health information access, health behavior, and health status in Japanese people. Patient education and counseling, 98(5), pp.660-668.

Tennant, B., Stellefson, M., Dodd, V., Chaney, B., Chaney, D., Paige, S. and Alber, J., 2015. eHealth literacy and Web 2.0 health information seeking behaviors among baby boomers and older adults. Journal of medical Internet research, 17(3).

Wahoush, O. and Banfield, L., 2014. Information literacy during entry to practice: Information-seeking behaviors in student nurses and recent nurse graduates. Nurse Education Today, 34(2), pp.208-213.

Wilson, M., Sleutel, M., Newcomb, P., Behan, D., Walsh, J., Wells, J.N. and Baldwin, K.M., 2015. Empowering Nurses With Evidence-Based Practice Environments: Surveying Magnet®, Pathway to Excellence®, and Non-Magnet Facilities in One Healthcare System. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 12(1), pp.12-21.

October 05, 2023
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