A comparative evaluation of three point-of-care tools by registered nurses





Point-of-care tools, evidence-based practice, evidence-based nursing, information needs


Objective: This study compared three point-of-care tools (PoCTs) to determine which PoCT was rated highest based on key features and characteristics by registered nurses.

Methods: The PoCTs reviewed were Nursing Reference Center Plus, ClinicalKey for Nursing, and UpToDate. Nurses were asked to use each PoCT to answer three clinical questions and then rate their experience based on the following areas: currency, relevancy, layout, navigation, labeling, and use of filters. They were also asked to indicate their familiarity with each PoCT, their overall opinions, and demographic information.

Results: Seventy-six nurses completed the entire survey. Ratings of PoCTs did not differ by participant characteristics. Participants were most familiar with UpToDate, and average ratings were similar across all three PoCTs. Answers to open-ended questions suggested that nurses’ experiences searching and locating relevant information to address clinical questions varied and that brand recognition might have impacted preference.

Discussion: None of the PoCTs was significantly preferred over the others, nor received high ratings, which suggests that organizations need to survey their nurses to determine which PoCT is preferred by their staff. Findings also suggest that institutional priorities can guide the decision whether a library should license multiple PoCTs, nursing, and/or non-nursing specific PoCTs. Research is needed to understand how PoCTs could better meet the information needs of registered nurses. Librarians should learn more about what types of information nurses are seeking and explore opportunities to educate nurses on how to better utilize PoCTs for their practice.

Author Biographies

Annie Nickum, University of Illinois Chicago

Assistant Professor & Information Services & Liaison Librarian

Library Liaison to the UIC Chicago Nursing Community

Rebecca Raszewski, University of Illinois Chicago

Associate Professor & Information Services & Liaison Librarian

Library Liaison to University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate Nursing

Susan C. Vonderheid, University of Illinois Chicago

Clinical Assistant Professor

Director of Nursing Research


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Original Investigation