INTRODUCTION: Reports on an exploratory study on the information needs of a
small group of South African oncology nurses.
METHOD: Individual questionnaires, focus group interviews, and semistructured
interviews were used for data collection from a convenience sample
of nursing staff, an oncologist and an oncology social worker.
Analysis. A qualitative analysis was done; recorded interviews were analysed
to identify main themes.
RESULTS: Tasks are perceived as not information intensive with limited
opportunities for decision-making regarding patient care. Although emotion,
stress and underlying anxiety feature strongly in daily tasks, these are not
linked to information needs. Limited interest in current awareness services is
influenced by working conditions, lack of access to information resources,
lack of computer skills and experience in using the Internet, lack of motivation
to use current awareness services, expectations and support from management,
and the impact of specific tasks and responsibilities.
CONCLUSIONS: Task-based information seeking models, context (organizational
and health care cultures), motivation for personal development, and the impact
of social organization in health care work and emotion and anxiety require
further exploration. Suggestions for the development of a model of
information behaviour and further theoretical grounding are offered.