Effective Ways of Using Databases To Seek Information On Line

The aim of this report is to outline the information seeking process undertook to locate current and relevant journal articles on the international shortage of nursing staff using databases online.

In preparing for this report a series of online workshops were completed regarding the effective location and retrieval of relevant information, researching with electronic tools and evaluating information. (Appendix 1)

Method

Chosen Topic

The topic I have chosen to research is the international shortage of nurses. The reasons I have choose this topic are because working as an enrolled nurse in a residential care unit I witness the effects of nursing shortages within the health care system on a day to day basis, within my workplace nursing shortages become apparent by the lack of time spent with residents providing social and emotional support. I felt this was a good opportunity to learn more about the subject from an international point of view. Another reason for choosing this topic was that because of nursing shortages being so wide spread there would be a variety of opinions in the articles located.

Location Process

To locate the relevant information needed to complete this report I undertook the following steps

* I located the University of South Australia library home page and used the link to the database home page

* On the database homepage I selected ‘N’ in the database subjects to bring up databases associated with nursing. To access these databases I had go to EBSCO host link, which gives an overview of what each database contained.

* The first database I choose was the Academic Search Elite Database. The reason I choose this database was because it provides approximately 2,050 scholarly journals in full text with in a wide area of academic study and is updated on a daily basis.

* In the database I completed an advanced search using ‘nursing shortages’ as the key words. To narrow my search I limited the search to documents published between January 2000 and March 2005.

* In this database I found my first article ‘Nursing a Shortage’

* The second database I choose was Health Source: Nursing / Academic Edition. The reason I chose this database was because it provides more than 550 scholarly journals in full text focusing on many medical disciplines and is also updated on a daily basis.

* In the database I completed an advanced search using ‘international and nursing shortages’ as the key words. To narrow my search I limited the search to documents published between January 2000 and March 2005.

* In this database I found my second article ‘Walking away: Leaving home and leaving nursing’

Why the articles were chosen

Article 1 – Nursing a Shortage

I chose this article because it discusses the topic in regards to the educational profession and gives a different viewpoint and perspective on nursing shortages.

The article talks about not having enough nursing instructors in universities due to pay rates and an aging work force this inturn limits university places for nursing students. I think this is relevant to the international nursing shortage because I feel not having enough university places is the beginning of an ever-expanding problem. (Moon. 2004) (Appendix 2)

Article 2 – Walking Away: Leaving Home and Leaving Nursing

I chose this article because it comes from discussions held at the Asia Pacific Nursing Congress held in Sydney 2004. This article discusses the impact of nursing workforce shortages across the board. The article discusses the ethical dilemmas of developed nations recruiting nurses from low and middle-income countries. The article also discusses the increasing demand for nurses. I think this is relevant to the international nursing shortage because talks about other countries having the same problems with nursing shortages as Australia. (Armstrong 2004) (Appendix 3)

What other strategies where used

Other strategies I used whilst researching the international shortage of nurses included using different databases such as Newspaper Source, this database covers selected full text articles for 25 national (U.S.) and international newspapers. I thought this would be useful in obtain articles with an international viewpoint. Other databases I attempted to find articles in where Health Source: Consumer Edition, this database contains collections of consumer health information available in libraries worldwide and provides information on many health related topics. I thought this database would be useful in obtain articles with a public point of view to the nursing shortages.

Other strategies used to obtain research information was using different word combinations when searching for databases such as:

* International nursing shortages

* Shortage of nurses

* Nursing and shortages

* Global nursing shortages

* Nursing staffing

* Nurse patient ratios

* Nursing and patient ratios

I also found when using Boolean operators in key word searches within the databases, helped to narrow my topic searches and give me a more diverse range of articles to choose from.

All searches that I undertook where limited to articles published between January 2000 and March 2005 this was completed so the information I received was relevant and current.

Conclusion

In completing the above research I have concluded that it is important when researching databases to use a variety of databases with relevant information to the chosen topic and to use a variety of different word combinations to get optimal results. For example when using the words ‘international and nursing shortages’ in the

Academic Search Elite Database I found 4 matching results where as when I used Health Source: Nursing / Academic Edition I found 9 matching results this broadened my search but gave me more articles to choose from.

It is also important to look at a variety of articles to find and assess a diverse range of opinions on your chosen topic in order to establish your own opinion, because it is through knowledge of a topic that we can make an informed opinion.