Essential Nursing Resources: A Crucial Tool for Nurses Seeking Information on the Web

This nursing resource will help you find anything you need to know

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Back in the dark ages, before the Web, when I was in school and researching a topic, I would go to the university library (in Manhattan, this meant a subway ride to the main campus), fill out a form, and hand it to the librarian. After a couple of hours, I’d check back and the librarian would have pulled up to eight “on-reserve” books (no more were allowed until these were returned) from the stacks and have them waiting for me. This cycle would repeat itself several times, and sometimes I’d have to wait for an “ILL”—an interlibrary loan. Of course, if I procrastinated, the material I wanted might already have been taken out by other students and I’d be out of luck, facing a deadline with no source material.

Of course, it’s all different now with the Web. This week, even the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica announced it is ceasing print production after almost 250 years and will only be available in digital format.

Now, researchers and students have virtually every article published available to them via the Internet. For nurses, there’s something called Essential Nursing Resources (pdf), an annotated listing of resources for nursing published by the Interagency Council on Information Resources in Nursing (ICIRN). 

Virginia Henderson

Founded in 1960 (here’s a brief history) by librarian and nursing organizations, including representatives from the Medical Library Association, the National Library of Medicine, the American Nurses Association, the National League for Nursing, and others (Virginia Henderson was one of the founders), it worked to organize and index the nursing literature.

The 26th edition of Essential Nursing Resources (updates happen biennially) is “a resource for locating nursing information and for collection development.” It lists “print, electronic, and web sources to support nursing practice, education, administration, and research activities,” plus other information to guide the user when pursuing nursing topics on the Web, like articles on signing up for RSS feeds, a list of nursing blogs of note (this blog is included!), and more.

This isn’t just a resource—it’s a truly essential stop for finding nursing content and Web resources, a gift from some forward-looking people back in 1960.

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Editor-in-chief, AJN

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