Journal of the Medical Library Association (Oct 2019)

Communication tools and sources of education and information: a national survey of rural and remote nurses

  • Julie Kosteniuk,
  • Norma J. Stewart,
  • Erin C. Wilson,
  • Kelly L. Penz,
  • Ruth Martin-Misener,
  • Debra G. Morgan,
  • Chandima Karunanayake,
  • Martha L. P. MacLeod

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 107, no. 4


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Objective: This study examined accessibility of communication tools in the workplace, use of education to update nursing knowledge, and use of information to make specific decisions in practice among registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in rural and remote communities in Canada. Methods: Data were analyzed from the cross-sectional survey, “Nursing Practice in Rural and Remote Canada II,” of regulated nurses practicing in all provinces and territories of Canada. Data were collected from April 2014 to August 2015. Results: The survey was completed by 3,822 of 9,622 nurses (40% response), and the present analysis was conducted with a subsample of 2,827 nurses. High-speed Internet was the most accessible communication tool, and nurses used “online/electronic education” more often than “in-person education” to update their nursing knowledge. Internet searches were used more often than several other online/electronic sources to inform decision making. Compared to LPNs, RNs reported greater workplace access to most communication tools and greater use of online/electronic education as well as information sources in online/electronic and print formats. Compared to nurses in community-based health care and hospital settings, nurses in long-term care settings reported lower access to most communication tools, lower use of online/electronic and in-person education, and lower use of online/electronic information. Conclusions: Access to continuing education and up-to-date information is important for effective patient care. This study points to a need for further research on the continuing education and information needs of rural and remote RNs and LPNs, and on their capacity to incorporate and apply new knowledge in practice.