Clinical Medical Librarian Services for Nurses. Clista Clanton, MSLS, AHIP Ellen Sayed, MSLS, AHIP University of South Alabama Biomedical Library.
Clinical Medical Librarian Services for Nurses
Clista Clanton, MSLS, AHIP
Ellen Sayed, MSLS, AHIP
University of South Alabama Biomedical Library
“As nursing became involved in this movement, the quest to define best practices began, often resulting in complex challenges that have no easy solutions. What is clear is the responsibility of nurses to deliver care based on evidence, for nurses to be able to access, evaluate, integrate and use the best available evidence in order to improve practice and patient outcomes (Rycroft-Malone, Bucknall, Melnyk, 2004). The imperative is to reduce the gap between knowledge development and knowledge use to improve the health of people.”1
Most clinical medical librarian (CML) programs have been targeted at physicians. In a literature review, only six articles were located that specifically discussed CML services for nurses, with four of them being published between the years of 1983-1985.
Librarian collaboration with Dr. Linda Roussel, a College of Nursing faculty member, on teaching evidence based practice to students in both regular and online courses led to participation on a hospital committee charged with revising a protocol on deep vein thrombosis.
Upon the suggestion of integrating clinical librarians into other hospital committees, the Medical Center’s Clinical Practice committee requested a CME on clinical librarianship. Response was very enthusiastic and a 6-month pilot project for a CML was adopted. Eight committees between the two university hospitals were identified for CML participation.
Critical Care Committee
Medication Use Committee
Multi-disciplinary Patient Care Committee
Pressure Ulcer Prevention Committee
Performance Improvement Council
Clinical Practice Committee
Medical Center Hospital Policy and Procedure Committee
Children & Women’s Hospital Policy and Procedure Committee
Clinical Medical Librarian Pilot Project
Sculpture garden at the Children’s & Women’s Hospital, Mobile, AL
The majority of questions were received from nurses. However, since the committees are multidisciplinary, questions were also received from physicians, pharmacists, and the hospital administrator for the Medical Center.
The majority of questions were received during committee meetings. However, now that a clinical librarian has been identified as a resource, questions are received by phone and email as well.
Observations:In observing dialogue between clinical staff during meetings, questions that could be answered by literature searches are discussed but probably would not be referred to the library if a librarian was not present at the meeting. Furthermore, some questions are raised in meetings that would benefit from a literature search but are not posed to the librarian present. Asking “would you like me to research this” is usually meet with an enthusiastic “yes”. Clinicians do not always accurately identify information needs that could be addressed by a librarian.Taking this active role further integrates the librarian into the committee and enhances their role as a team member as opposed to a guest.Regular attendance of the meetings by the librarian is important and leads to further opportunities for collaboration with clinical staff that would be otherwise missed.
Conclusions:The CML pilot program was evaluated by the Clinical Practice committee after 4 months with the decision to continue the service indefinitely. The time spent by the librarians on the CML program has thus far been well within the 8 hours/week allocated by each librarian.Searches pertaining to hospital policy and protocol development, as opposed to individual patient care questions, are predominant.Integration into the committees has been smooth and librarian involvement welcomed.Nurses are integral in developing hospital policy, procedures, and protocols. They recognize both their time and expertise limitations in searching the literature and are appreciative of CML services.Librarian involvement in hospital committees has helped to better inform the library’s educational programs for medical, nursing, and allied health students.
1. Sigma Theta Tau International’s Position Statement on Evidence-Based Nursing. Available at http://www.nursingsociety.org/research/main.html#ebp. Accessed 6/17/06.