n Mousaion - A South African perspective on oncology nurses' need for current awareness services (CAS) via the WWW




An exploratory study on the information needs of a small group of South African oncology nurses (i.e. nurses specialising in cancer care), and especially their need for current awareness services (CAS), is reported. Participants included an oncologist, five oncology nurses and an oncology social worker from a medical oncology unit, as well as 16 nursing staff members and a unit manager from two oncology hospital wards in Pretoria (South Africa). They all serve the same patients. Individual questionnaires, focus-group interviews and semi-structured interviews were used for data collection. Although the tasks of the participants concerned are mostly not information intensive and therefore seem not to require the use of CAS, there is conditional interest in CAS. This conditional interest is a result of factors such as working conditions (e.g. working hours, demands of the job), a lack of access to information resources, a lack of computer skills and experience in using the WWW, a lack of motivation to use CAS, the expectations of and limited support from management, and the impact of specific tasks and responsibilities on the need for, and interest in, CAS. Findings of the study are used to suggest actions that can be taken for the purpose of intervention and further research in the South African context.


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