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Keywords

Accessibility, Internet, Nursing Web sites, Readability, Usability, Web site quality

 

Authors

  1. CAMBIL-MARTIN, JACOBO PhD, BSc, RN
  2. FLYNN, MARIA PhD, MSc, BSc, RN, PCGE
  3. VILLAVERDE-GUTIERREZ, CARMEN PhD

Abstract

This article presents a study that evaluated the physical accessibility, readability, and usability of Spanish nursing Web sites and discusses the quality assurance issues raised, which are relevant to the wider nursing community. The Internet is recognized as an important source of health information for both nurses and the general public. Although it makes health-related information universally available, the wide variation in the overall quality of health Web sites is problematic. This raises many questions for the nursing profession: about what constitutes a good-quality Web site, about the nature of the information that nurses are finding and using to support their professional education, research, and clinical practice, and about the impact that Internet information ultimately has on health interactions and nursing care. The process of completing this small study showed that it is possible to usefully assess dimensions of Web site quality and suggested that it may be feasible to develop tools to help nurses evaluate national and international nursing Web sites. More research is needed to understand how nurses use the Internet to support their everyday professional practices, but the development and application of international Web site quality assurance tools may be important for maintaining professional nursing standards in the Internet age.