Pavanya Mantena

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Stephanie Isham

25 January 2018

Information Literacy and Professionalism Response

The 21st century is an era of growth and expansion. The number of new discoveries made in the past few years are more than what we have made in the last couples of decades. With the rapid changes in technology and novel discoveries in medicine, information literacy has become increasingly important. Information literacy is undoubtedly the foundation for living in a continual growing society. It is especially important in the health professional field, where a great number of people’s lives are directly influenced by the healthcare professionals. When other’s lives are in danger, it is an ethical responsibility for people to be information literate, so they can seek diverse perspective and use information responsibly and effectively.

It is an ethical responsibility to be information literate for any profession because there are people in society who are directly and indirectly dependent on professionals’ decisions and choices. As Forster, alarming reminds us, many professions, and those who work in them, have great power over people’s lives. They can adjust the restorative, social, or lawful parameters of those lives, even to incorporate whether existence precedes (Forster, 2013). We are gradually phasing out the era in which everyone uses the internet to find solutions to their problems. Due to decreasing credibility of the internet at times, people are proceeding to rely heavily on professional people to produce accurate conclusions and imperative decisions. Information literacy is imperative for every learner as it promotes problem solving approaches, evaluating sources and most importantly making decisions that contribute to the society. Specifically focusing on the medical profession, fearful citizens come with problems expecting the doctor to make the accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan. However, if the doctor or healthcare professional is not information literate, he will not only put the patient at risk but endanger himself with malpractice and lawsuits.

Both Forster and Marshall in their articles emphasize the use of both information literacy skills and information seeking behavior by health professionals. Their ideas are very realistic and achievable for people of all health professions. In Marshall’s article, he performs a study on nurses to see how effective access to information is. The results showed a positive correlation between nurses who used the library or library- related electronic resources. (Marshall 2014) Over a period, the nurses found themselves saving hours of time when dealing with patients and reported avoiding adverse and inaccurate conclusions. This method is very reasonable and realistic for professions to implement in their lives. Although many professionals have been in experience for many years, it is easy to forget the basics when not frequently handling certain issues that raise after a long period of time. Therefore, executing methods like associating with a library or reading up on research evidence will guide health professions in working more efficiently. I have personally seen this in the workplace when volunteering alongside an elderly nurse at children’s hospital. When a young child was found having seizure like activity before passing out after a surgical procedure, the nurse immediately started performing an old technique. However, the old procedure failed to help the child so the nurse started hollering for help to see what was going on. Another nurse, who had recently come out of nursing school, immediately saw what was occurring and came to identify the problem. She immediately took over and controlled her seizure and called the doctor immediately. The elderly nurse found out later that the seizure like symptoms was actually not seizure related rather, the curling of the hands and slight jerking movements of the legs was just from decreased blood in her legs from having very low blood pressure. This is a great example of how important it is to be information literate. I see myself using this in the future because I would have just learned about all the new and most effective techniques for new diagnosis. I would be able to avoid the issue described above by learning from the nurse’s mistakes and using my new information literacy techniques to look up unfamiliar symptoms presenting in a patient rather than drawing from my head.  As time goes on, novel conditions start developing and keeping myself educated through new times will help avoid any negative outcomes.

Information literacy is a phenomenon that everyone uses daily in their workplace to ensure safety and quality of care. I’ve recently started a job as a registered dental assistant at an outpatient dental clinic in Dallas. I had volunteered at various dental clinics, but every clinic has a special way of running their place. During my first week as a dental assistant, we had a patient who needed a crown because she had a very large filling in the past which led the tooth to be highly prone to fractures. The initial steps of preparing for a crown were managed by the doctor. The next step was to take impressions. This was when the doctor requested me to collect the materials needed to set up a temporary crown. Since it was my first time handling a crown procedure, I didn’t know what material I needed. So, I initially had to identify what exactly was the need. Thinking back to my textbooks and notes, I knew I needed an impression paste and a tray to place it in the patient’s mouth. Now I needed to identify how I can get the material. Since every dental office is unique I didn’t know where to find the information, so I proceed to read the instruction page posted on back of the door which located where all the tools and materials were. Once I read the instruction page I got the tools for setting up the impression. Then I realized there were multiple materials in different sizes, small, medium, and large tray. To move further I needed to evaluate what I found and see which one was fit for the patient. I immediately went to the patient and check each of the trays to see what fit more accurately to her mouth size, which helped me evaluate which tray was needed. Then I took the required material to continue the procedure on the patient. Although this was done in just one to two minutes, it shows how being information literate is not only used for major scenarios but also in everyday life. If I wasn’t information literate in that circumstance and picked up the wrong material, not only would I have been in trouble with the doctor, but the patient would have suffered from using a different material that could have been too harsh on her gums and teeth.

Overall, with increase in innovations of efficient medicine and technology is it imperative to keep with up with the change to help consumers in most effective way possible. Ultimately, it is an ethical responsibility to be information literate to evade unwanted circumstances that could lead to risky situations.









Forster, M. (2013). Information literacy as a facilitator of ethical practice in the professions. Journal of Information Literacy, 7(1), 18-29. doi:10.11645/7.1.1783

Marshall, J. G., Morgan, J. C., Klem, M. L., Thompson, C. A., & Wells, A. L. (2014). The value of library and information services in nursing and patient care. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 19(3), 1. doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol198No03PPT02