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Unit 2: The Internet, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1589

Essay

A:  Discussion Forum

Throughout my exploration of the Internet, I discovered that the quality of information available varies wildly. For example, if you Google “essay help,” the search engine produces results for everything from legitimate academic institutions like Owl at Purdue to personal websites in which students post their old assignments.  This illustrates the importance of considering the source when doing research to ensure that the information you incorporate into your own assignment is above reproach.  I also found that the Athabasca Write Site (2011) was well-organized and full of useful information, such as the guidelines for various citation formats and examples of different writing styles and formats.  Websites such as the Write Site are an invaluable resource because they provide concrete parameters regarding the rules and procedures of essay writing that can help guide students as they navigate the Internet in search of appropriate research to back up their arguments.

I encountered some difficulty in navigating some of the databases that provide articles and research on nursing issues, primarily because I had not determined the best search terms for my needs.  This illustrated the importance of having an idea what you’re looking for before beginning such a search; although the Internet is a vast library of information, you can’t just flip through books in a section the way you would in a brick-and-boards library.  I have a basic understanding of how to use filters to achieve specific results in Medline and Ovid, however, I ended up just going through Google scholar and typing in terms related to the history of nursing.  Again, it became a matter of culling through results and making my search terms increasingly more specific in order to locate articles that were relevant to my interests.  Like many search engines, Google Scholar has a function that allows you to specify the year of publication you’re interested in, which is especially useful in health care, where new research is constantly replacing outdated information.

Information literacy is crucial for health professionals so that they may become versed in evidence-based practice and thus stay up-to-date on elements of patient care and advances in the field. As Pravikoff and Donaldson (2001) point out, it can be difficult to keep up with the sheer breadth of research that is constantly being made available to both practitioners and the public. Evidence-based practice assists health professionals in picking and choosing what to read and how best to update their skill-sets and knowledge base so that they might, in turn, keep their patients informed about health education.

It is impossible for health care professionals to read everything  that is published on a given subject (not even counting the research that doesn’t make it into journals), especially considering that there are upwards of 400 nursing journals indexed through the CINAHL database and over six million medical articles published each year (Pravikoff, 2001).  Additionally, the more information literate health professionals are, the more able they are to emulate similar behaviors for the benefit of their patients.  We can’t expect patients to become advocates for their own health and wellness through the accessing of information unless we become equally proficient in the information technologies that are available.

Increased educational opportunities are one of the key ways in which Internet use can be encouraged among health professionals. This could be as simple as holding workplace workshops which review the variety of Internet databases pertaining to specific client bases and health issues.  Such workshops could provide concrete, practical information on how to use filters and other search functions to winnow down the available number of articles (Pravikoff, 2001).

In my own professional life, I’ve noticed that there exists a generation gap when it comes to navigating new technologies.  I know many nurses who are in their early fifties and sixties who feel that they have reached a stage in their career where they don’t have the time, patience, or ability to learn a new skill.  While they are open to learning new techniques, tips, and procedures from other nurses (who have gained this information from the Internet), they minimize their own ability to successfully use the Internet and other new technologies (cell phones, specific computer applications) in their daily life.

This presents difficulties when it comes time to educate clients about how to access health literature online.  Nurses that resist new technology tend to avoid or discount the efficacy of important e-tools available to everyone, and thus lose a valuable opportunity to improve overall patient care by empowering the patient to seek out information on their own.  Pravikoff and Donaldson write that “evidence-based nursing practice is similar to the nursing process itself, and so should feel familiar to nurses” (2001, p. 589), a comparison that would be helpful when attempting to encourage nurses to use new technologies in every way possible.  By demonstrating to nurses and other health care professionals that they already possess the tools necessary to navigate the essentially simple world of the Internet, pointing out their evaluative and critical thinking abilities, the Internet may become less overwhelming and thus seem much more accessible.

References

Athabasca University. (2011). Write site. Athabasca University. Retrieved from http://www2.athabascau.ca/services/write-site/

Pravikoff, D., & Donaldson, N.E. (2001). Online journals: Access and support for evidence-based practice. IAACN clinical issues: Advanced practice in acute & critical care, 12(4), 588-596. Retrieved from ADD THE URL FROM YOUR LOGIN

B. Discussion Forum

As a nurse clinician, I have the opportunity to use aspects of e-health every day in my practice setting. Primarily, this occurs through electronic health records (EHR), a vital component to the management of individual patient health and an understanding of the demographic needs of patient populations (McGonigle, 2009).  The EHR allows for me to update patient records, order medications and check for allergies and drug interactions, and communicate with other health care practitioners to ensure continuity of patient care.  E-health also encompasses the evidence-based practice that I use when conducting research through Internet databases such as Medline and online nursing/medical journals.  Additionally, I also make a point to educate patients about how to best become active participants in their own health and wellness through the use of e-health tools that promote self-care and connect patients with online support groups and further information about their various conditions and illnesses.

Email communications with patients have become one of my primary methods of following up with patients in both the short and long term. This frees up valuable time for both myself and the patient as it does not require them to leave their home to see me, and also provides a concrete and retrievable record of our communications (American Medical Association, 2002). One barrier to the successful use of this e-tool with all patients is a lack of access to computers and a fear of new technology on the part of my patients.  I work with a number of patients who can’t afford their own computers and are understandably reluctant to use public computers (such as at the library) to communicate about private health matters.  As well, some of my older patients have difficulty adapting to this new method of communication and prefer to discuss their health issues over the phone or in person.  Further patient education can be helpful in combating these barriers by demonstrating to the patient that email communications can be safe and highly confidential and not very difficult to navigate.

The Canadian Nurses Association provides a position statement that addresses potential ethical, legal, and practical concerns in regards to tele-health. Email communications are acknowledged as an important part of the nurse-patient relationship, but one that has very specific guidelines for conduct.  Client safety is a major concern, especially in regards to providing accurate information, as are issues of privacy, confidentiality, and security of patient information (Canadian Nurses Association, 2007).  The College of Nurses of Quebec provides a more general overview of health care informatics.  They mention the importance of communication and technology in the practice of nursing, but don’t specifically deal with any e-health issues (College of Nurses of Quebec, 2011).

Prior to completing this unit, I wasn’t aware of the ‘Health on the Net’ guidelines. However, after reviewing them I notice that many of them seem very practical and based in common sense.  For example, the HON policies on advertising and banner exchanges spells out what I think many people would notice intuitively:  the trustworthiness of a website can be directly related to the type and amount of advertising ‘clutter’ that one encounters on a particular site  (Health on the Net Foundation, 2010).  The voluntary regulation of such guidelines will certainly help to make many medical websites a safer source of health information.  I believe that sites whose administrators have good intentions, and who wish to demonstrate their overall trustworthiness, will be motivated to submit their sites to organizations like HON.  However, there is still a great deal of health information on the Internet that is lacking in a research-based foundation and can steer users in the wrong direction.  This can be very dangerous when it comes to patients engaging in self-care, which suggests that mandatory regulations may eventually be one way to ensure that the Internet becomes a repository of reliable and safe medical information.

References

American Medical Association. (2002). Guidelines for physician-patient electronic communications. Retrieved from http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/member-groups-sections/young-physicians-section/advocacy-resources/guidelines- physician-patient-electronic-communications.page

Canadian Nurses Association. (Nov 2007).  Telehealth: The role of the nurse. Retrieved from http://www.cna-nurses.ca/cna/documents/pdf/publications/ps89_telehealth_e.pdf

College of Nurses of Quebec. (2011). Scope of practice and reserved activities. Retrieved from             http://translate.google.ca/translatehl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.oiiq.org/&ei=dqVsTu7zIIrJgQeTo8jBQ&sa=X&

Health on the Net Foundation. (2010). HON code and guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.hon.ch

McGonigle, D. & Mastrian, K. (2009). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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