Literacy the Topic of Information Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The other sector of life where information literacy is vital and omnipresent is the career field. It is not simply a matter of preference or choice. Many businesses actively embrace the harnessing and day-to-day use of computer and informatics technology because the business being able to thrive in the marketplace or even survive in general as a business can literally depend upon it. Such a state of affairs requires employees and leaders that are well-versed and adept in literacy regarding information, computers and informatics, among other things such as project management skills, leadership traits, and so on.

Job descriptions discoverable online are bereft and thick with requirements that relate to information, computer and informatics literacy. Examples include prospective employees being familiar with the construction and/or use of database technology, internet technology, familiarity with operations systems such as Mac OS and Windows, software suites like Microsoft Office and so on. Failure to have these traits when they are cited in a job description, even if they are indicated as "preferred', is often grounds for a person being disqualified with no questions asked. One has to have impressive credentials independent of information literacy for there to be any chance of a person being hirable without them.

Information Literacy and Nursing

Everything said above can be applied to the nursing field as well as the medical field at large. This includes doctor offices, schools, and hospitals. Anywhere that has a nurse or other medical professional is typically subject to the facets of information literacy. The reason the medical field takes on special significance is that life and death is in play. Information not being available or retrieved in time can literally be the difference between life and death for some people. As an example, if a person is allergic to penicillin and the record that contains this information is not accessed by the person giving out medication and/or the person does not know how to access said information, this can lead to a severe if not fatal allergic reaction that was entirely preventable.

One dimension that is very important, but not solely related to, nursing is the storing and accessing of medical records and other information. In years past, all information had to be kept in hard copy format and stored for future use. Many argue for or against the use of the electronic medical records technology of today but few sane people can argue that hard copies of records and other information can be managed in a way that is superior to digital records, all else equal. Things can certainly go wrong when talking about computers and informatics technology. Indeed, losing the equivalent of reams of medical records is a lot easier to do with a computer than it is with a real set of paper copies, but to say that having informatics and information literacy relative to medical record handling is not important and vital would be specious and foolish.

In addition to the sizable amount of medical terminology and procedures that a nurse must learn about, they must also often learn a ton of information related to computer and informatics literacy relative to their industry. Margin for error and other miscues is exceedingly thin when speaking of the medical field. This makes it all the more important that nurses are up to speed with both medical and health literacy as well as information literacy. Nurses need to know all of the important facets of their job very well. Research sources are thick with examples of this going wrong and this is compounded with the fact that average age of nurses ranges somewhere in the 50's and older American are usually much less likely to have strong computer and informatics literacy and are much less likely to voluntarily embrace any of the above when it's solely their choice.

Literature Review

Research that speaks about information literacy and general as well as information literacy specific to the nursing profession is all over the place in academic journals. Below is a summary of ten sources that the author of this paper found on the topic of information literacy as a general topic as well as information literacy articles and topics that are specific to the nursing and/or medical profession.

The first article talks about staging an effective and timely intervention with students that are clearly below the necessary minimums as it relates to information literacy. The article, which emanated from a Canadian journal, recognizes that having deficient to no relative information literacy skills can have a dire effect on the quality of life of a person up to and including how well both their work and educational lives proceed. The article evaluates the proper way to stage said intervention and what does not work. The article notes the artificial and major factors that work for an against such interventions (Latham & Gross, 2011).

The second article vexes the author of this paper because the question posed in its title is quite odd and perhaps even ridiculous. The article asks whether business writing requires information literacy (Katz, Haras, & Blaszczynski, 2010). Considering that business writing is based on research and trends that have to be found out and evaluated, that question is almost laughable on its face if the author of this paper has anything to say about it. It would be equally obtuse to ask the same question about the medical profession as a whole. As an example, someone like a school nurse probably doesn't need a significant amount of information literacy to do their job but it is not all that hard to figure out situations where such skills would be important.

For example, if a student comes to the doctor's office, it would be very relevant and important to know whether the student was allergic to any major medications, whether they had any preexisting medical conditions such as epilepsy or diabetes, and/or whether they've been to the nurse's office before and for what. If the school is rather small, perhaps a file cabinet would cover these bases but for a school of any size it would be insane. This would necessitate at least a single computer being employed to store and track students as the come and go from the nurse's office so that this information is on hand when a student comes to the office or otherwise has a medical malady when they are on school grounds.

The third article makes talk about reinventing and revolutionizing the way in which information literacy is taught and focused upon given the start of a new century. It speaks of redesigning school curricula based on the way that life and technology have changed over recent decades. Indeed, life in 1990 is very different than what it is now given all of the computer and Internet advances that have been had since then. The article gives several suggestions on how to best harness computer technology and the importance in teaching the same to the students of today, and at all levels of education (McBride, 2011).

The fourth article speaks for the need for a fourth "R" when it comes to the principles held fast by many educators. The traditional three R's, even though only one of them actually starts with R, are reading, writing and arithmetic. The article suggests adding "Real Life" to those R's. This new R. would fall on teaching seven basic literacy skill sets to all students. These literacies are traditional, information, visual, critical, media, tool and digital. The ideas mentioned in this article include a heavy focus on Web 2.0 technology. The interactions and components of this technology are an integral part of what the article's author is suggesting (Schrock, 2012).

The fifth article talks about how information literacy needs to encompass so much more than just computer technology for students to stay ahead of the curve. The motive for this belief of the articles three authors is that there are such disparate and wide-ranging results on standardized tests and other measurement tools. It is quite clear to the article's authors that information literacy teaching is important but that solely pushing computer technology on people is not an all-encompassing solution. The overall learning structure used relative to information literacy needs to be changed so that different people with different life stories, perspectives and backgrounds are all able to learn effectively based on the particulars that surround their unique situation (Higntte, Margavio & Margavio, 2009).

The rest of the articles being covered in this report are all directly related to nursing. The sixth article is a study on the perspectives and words of actual nursing students who are asked about how they perceive their own information literacy. The students in question are third-year nursing students and they are asked a series of questions regarding information literacy and where they think they…

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