CIEA in Nursing Information Literacy


A Compilation of Active Learning Small Group Scenarios for Undergraduate and Graduate Nursing Students


Small group scenarios provide students with the opportunity a) to collaborate in determining what information is needed, b) to investigate various resources to find the necessary information, c) to evaluate the the information, and d) to articulate their findings to the rest of the students in the class. They provide a means of actively involving students in the process of becoming information literate.

The following scenarios are recommended for use in nursing information literacy classes by groups of 2-5 students. It is necessary to have at least one computer for each group. The students should be advised that they can use both databases and search engines to gather information. Allow approximately 20 - 30 minutes including a discussion of their findings. The assignment of a small group scenario should ideally be preceded by an introduction to general and nursing information resources and followed by sample searches related to the scenario or a specific class assignment.


Alternative Healing Computerized Information Management Dalai Lama
Disease Information Job Stress Nosocomial Infections
Nursing Shortage Patient advocacy Patient Education
Patient Safety PDAs PowerPoint in Patient Education
Progeria Shift Rotations Smoking Cessation


Alternative Healing

The hospital where you are employed offers continuing education courses that can be taken only with a supervisor's permission. You and several colleagues would like to take a course in alternative healing that includes therapeutic touch and Reiki. Knowing that you supervisor is not knowledgeable about these modalities and has even made negative comments about them, you and your colleagues want to find information that will help to persuade her to allow you to take the course.


Computerized Information Management System

You have applied for a position as a nurse administrator at a small suburban hospital and been called for an interview. You are told that the hospital has received a large grant for a computerized information management system, but the Board of Directors believes that the nursing staff may be resistant. For your interview, you are asked to prepare a 30 minute presentation on the attitudes of nurses towards computerized information management. You enlist the help of several colleagues in preparing the presentation.

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Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is visiting New York and needs medical treatment while visiting with the Mayor at Gracie Mansion. You are a nurse in the hospital across the street from Gracie Mansion. Your nursing Supervisor receives a call that the Dalai Lama is being admitted and asks you and your colleagues to hurry and find some information about him that will help to positively impact his care.


Disease Information from Patients or Nurses Perspective

With your chosen partner, decide who will act as the patient or patient's representative and who will act as the nurse. From your perspective as the patient or the nurse, find information about one of the medical conditions listed below .

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma; Sickle Cell Anemia; Myasthenia Gravis; Parkinson Disease; Diabetes; Prostate cancer; Melanoma; Spina Bifida; Lyme Disease

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Job Stress

You are a nurse in a hospital with a large diverse ethnic patient population. There are several patients under your care who speak little English and are having trouble communicating with you and other hospital staff. You, and other colleagues, are feeling overwhelmed by the high patient/nurse ratio, unappreciated by hospital administration, and somewhat incompetent because of the communication problems. You and your colleagues realize that you are experiencing moderate to severe job stress and decide to find information about how nurses can cope with job related stress.


Nosocomial Infections

You are an ICU nurse and have been asked to be part of a small group that is to prepare a 20 minute presentation for new staff on combating nosocomial infections in the ICU. The hospital library has a computer with Internet access, a small journal collection and access to PubMed and several other databases.

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Nursing Shortage

The large urban hospital where you have worked for over ten years has a shortage of RNs. A representative group of nurses has asked to attend the hospital administration's next meeting to speak about the critical shortage and how patients are affected. The group has been charged with finding information on the effects of nursing shortages.


Patient advocacy

Your nursing supervisor at the hospital where you are employed has recommended you to become chairperson of a newly formed Nurses Committee on Patient Advocacy. You are hesitant to assume this role before learning more about the nurse's role in patient advocacy. You enlist the help of several colleagues in researching this topic.


Patient Education

You are a nursing student taking a patient education course. You are part of a group whose assignment is to prepare a class presentation on diabetes education for children.

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Patient Safety

You are employed in a small urban hospital. For the next monthly patient safety meeting, your team has been asked to prepare a presentation on fall prevention in consideration of the JCAHO patient safety goals.



You have applied for a position as a nurse administrator at a small suburban hospital and have been called for an interview. You are told that the hospital has received a large grant for the purchase of PDAs but the Board of Directors believes that the nursing staff may be resistant to this technology. For your interview, you are asked to prepare a 30 minute presentation on the utilization of PDAs by hospital nursing staff.


PowerPoint in Patient Education

The diabetes patient education team would like to incorporate the use of PowerPoint technology in their programs. It is your responsibility along with several others to find information on the ways in which Power Point can enhance the patient education process.

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You are a pediatric nurse in a small rural hospital and have just been told that an eight year old child with Progeria is being admitted the following day. You and your colleagues have minimal knowledge of this disease and are asked to find information that may help to positively impact the patient's care.


Shift Rotations

You work in the critical care unit of a large urban hospital.. You and some of your colleagues have been talking informally about your observation that patients seem to become distressed during shift changes and it is decided to bring the subject up at a staff meeting. A lively discussion takes place and a recommendation is made to find evidence to support your observation and to investigate different methods of shift rotation. A committee is appointed to find research studies about 1) the negative effects of shift rotations on hospital patients and 2) methods of shift rotations.

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Smoking Cessation

The hospital where you are employed provides smoking stations outdoors in several locations. You and several colleagues have noticed the many nurses and other staff who smoke .and would like to organize a smoking cessation program. The group decides to research this topic.



Contract negotiations for the nurse' union will be beginning in two months. In an effort to recruit new members for the new negotiating team, the nurses who were members of the previous team would like to put together a presentation about hospital labor issues and contract negotiations.

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Prepared by Professor Linda Weinberg, Library Liaison to the School of Nursing, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, 11530

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