Current Patterns on Engagement between Librarians and Faculty in Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs

Liz Fine is the liaison librarian for the Health Sciences Libraries at the University of Minnesota and has been involved with the School of Nursing since 2005. Her theory is that the engagement of the librarian makes a difference. After all, if the faculty know about the library and use the library, they will value the library. By applying for a 3 month research leave, she was able to pursue this project (taken in two parts, December 2009 and Spring 2010)

Some background: the Doctor of Nursing Program began appearing in 2007 and is a professional doctorate in nursing practice. It is recognized as the new terminal degree for advanced practice nurses (replacing the Master of Science in Nursing). This proved as a convenient emerging population to research

Why this population? This is especially relevant for librarian involvement because of the focus on evidence-based practice. Also, this population is exploding–in December 2009, there were about 90 active programs. By September 2010, there are 129 active programs.

Goals were to get a picture of what’s actually happening in current engagement between DNP and libraries, collect the data to support the hypothesis, pilot for gathering this type of information, and perhaps even affecting the AACN

Research Questions:

  • How are DNP faculty currently working with their library/librarians
  • How do DNP faculty perceive/value collaboration with librarians?
  • Many secondary questions/correlations: survey was designed so that the dataset could be analyzed to look at those things

The Method

  • Created a survey in UMSurvey
  • Sent request for participation to program directors of all currently active DNP programs
  • Survey was open from May 5 – June 1 201 (designed to take less than 20 minutes to complete)

There was a 90% completion rate of people responding. (Complete responses were 114). This was through 53 different schools represented, plus 15 respondents who did not specify a school (approximately a 50% program response rate)

Some of the questions:

Is there a librarian specifically assigned to the nursing programs at your institution?

  • Yes: 61%
  • No: 25%
  • Not Sure: 12%

Have you ever interacted with a librarian?

  • Yes: 70%
  • No: 27%
  • Not Sure: 2%

How often do you seek advice from a librarian?

  • Often: 12%
  • Occasionally:52%
  • Rarely: 18%

How often do you refer students to a librarian?

  • Often 39%
  • Occasionally 38%
  • Rarely 18%

Librarians are useful in assisting with DNP teaching activities

  • Agree-57%
  • Neutral-14%
  • Disagree-13%

Awareness comments: completing the survey made Liz more aware of the resources librarians could offer in developing courses an research.

Words of advice given: “Don’t drink too much punch and make friends with the librarian”-one response from the survey

Liz notes that even with the limitations of the study, there is evidence that librarians are making an impact with the DNP population, whether through teaching classes or interacting with the students.

She plans on further data analysis and creating case reports at individual institutions.

Any questions or comments, email Liz at

–as always, reporting to you live


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