Research and instruction services for online advanced practice nursing programs: a survey of North American academic librarians




Advanced Practice Nursing, Nursing Education, Health Sciences Librarians, Research Services, Surveys, Distance Education


Introduction: The increasing popularity of distance education has led many advanced practice nursing (APN) programs to shift to either online or hybrid models. To meet the needs of these students, some nursing librarians are using technology for virtual research and instruction. This study was designed to assess the extent to which librarians in North America are providing virtual research and instruction services for APN students.

Methods: An institutional review board–approved, ten-question survey was developed to determine how librarians are providing services for APN students. It was announced in October 2017 through several health sciences librarian email discussion lists. The survey ran for four weeks. Data were analyzed using Qualtrics and Excel.

Results: Eighty complete responses were received. The majority of respondents (66%) indicated that their universities’ APN programs were conducted in a hybrid format. Sixty-seven percent also indicated that they provide library instruction in person. Most librarians indicated that they have provided research assistance through some virtual method (phone or email, at 90% and 97%, respectively), and some have used online chat (42%) and video chat (35%). A strong majority of librarians (96%) indicated that they felt comfortable using technology to provide research assistance and instruction.

Conclusion: Opportunities exist to leverage technology to provide virtual research assistance and instruction. Greater promotion of these alternative methods can supplement traditional in-person services to provide greater flexibility for graduate nursing students’ busy schedules. Some outreach may be necessary to highlight the advantages of virtual services, and further research is needed to identify other barriers and potential solutions.


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Original Investigation