Increasing rural nurses’ awareness of a statewide health information resource: an educational outreach initiative

Kathryn Vela, Tania Bardyn


Background: HEALWA is an online library of evidence-based health information resources that are available to Washington state health practitioners. To increase awareness and use of HEALWA among health practitioners in rural areas, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region and Washington State University Spokane co-funded an outreach librarian position to provide instruction on using HEALWA.

Case Presentation: After attempts at frequent in-person workshops failed due to lack of attendance, a one-hour-long webinar targeted at rural nurses was developed to be delivered once a month. These webinars introduced participating health professionals to HEALWA, including how to set up their access and how to navigate the resource. To accommodate the busy schedules and different learning styles of the target audience, the workshops occurred both as monthly webinars and in-person, when available, in addition to an online self-guided tutorial. Continuing education credit was obtained through the Washington State Nurses Association, and a partnership with the Washington State Nursing Commission improved promotion of the webinars. Evaluations for both the webinars and workshops have been largely positive.

Conclusions: The webinar series, coupled with in-person workshops and an online tutorial, reached nurses in rural areas of Washington state to increase awareness of HEALWA. To further facilitate access to HEALWA instruction, a recorded version of the live webinar is in development.


Outreach, Rural; Health Professionals; Webinars; Workshops; Continuing Education

Full Text:



Washington State Legislature. Substitute Senate bill 6083 [Internet]. 28 Feb 2007 [cited 20 Jun 2018]. .

Arizona Health Information Network [Internet]. The Network; 28 Aug 2018 [cited 29 Aug 2018]. .

Hospitals and University at Buffalo Library Resource Network [Internet]. The Network; 2018 [cited 29 Aug 2018]. .

Welcome to GALILEO [Internet]. Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia; 21 Aug 2018 [cited 29 Aug 2018]. .

Washington State Department of Health. Rural and urban counties [Internet]. The Department; Apr 2017 [cited 20 Jun 2018]. .

Washington State Department of Health, Office of Community Health Systems Series on Rural-Urban Disparities. Percent change of population distribution for Washington State and its counties by percent population rural [Internet]. The Department; Feb 2017 [cited 20 Jun 2018]. .

Office of Financial Management. Population density and land area criteria used for rural area assistance and other programs [Internet]. The Office; 2017 [cited 20 Aug 2018]. .

Center for Health Workforce Studies. Washington State data snapshot: registered nurses [Internet]. The Center; Apr 2016 [cited 29 Aug 2018]. .

Center for Health Workforce Studies. Washington State data snapshot: licensed practical nurses [Internet]. The Center; Apr 2016 [cited 29 Aug 2018]. .

National Center for Health Workforce Analysis. Distribution of U.S. health care providers residing in rural and urban areas [Internet]. The Center; 2014 [cited 29 Aug 2018]. .

Fitzgerald CE, Townsend RP. Assessing the continuing education needs and preferences of rural nurses. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2012;43(9):420–527. DOI:

McCoy C. Professional development in rural nursing: challenges and opportunities. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2009;40(3):128–31.

Penz K, D’Arcy C, Stewart N, Kosteniuk J, Morgan D, Smith B. Barriers to participation in continuing education activities among rural and remote nurses. J Contin Educ Nurs. 2007;38(2):58–66.

Winters CA, Lee HJ, Besel J, Strand A, Echeverri R, Jorgensen KP, Dea JE. Access to and use of research by rural nurses. Rural Remote Health. 2007;7(3):758.

Preddi M. Time, cost, information seeking skills and format of resources present barriers to information seeking by primary care practitioners in a research environment. Evid Based Libr Inf Pract. 2007;2(3):105–7. DOI:

Pilcher JW, Bedford L. Willingness and preferences of nurses related to learning with technology. J Nurses Staff Dev. 2011 May–Jun;27(3):E10–6. DOI:

Riley K, Schmidt D. Does online learning click with rural nurses? a qualitative study. Aust J Rural Health. 2016 Aug;24(4):265–70. DOI:

HEALWA annual report 2014–2015 [Internet]. HEALWA [cited 16 Sep 2018]. .

HEALWA tutorial [Internet]. HEALWA; Apr 2018 [cited Sep 16, 2018]. .

BrightTALK. Reach high and meet your webinar goals: BrightTALK’s 2017 webinar benchmarks report [Internet]. BrightTALK; 2017 [cited 17 Sep 2018]. .

Elliott B, Dillon C. Online learning: an innovative solution to meeting the challenges of staff education. J Nurses Staff Dev. 2012 Nov–Dec;28(6):285–7. DOI:

Black A, Clauson M, Fraser S. Nursing education and research rounds: evaluation of a webinar-based education strategy to engage nurses and support practice. J Nurses Prof Dev. 2013 Sep–Oct;29(5):249–54. DOI:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Kathryn Vela

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.