Program Review – Gold Coast University Hospital Health Library – JBI training

The GCUH Health Library operates from with Queensland Health’s Gold Coast Hospital Services at Southport and Robina.  The mission of the library is to facilitate access to high quality information and customer service .. in information discovery, retrieval and management … deliver(ing) responsive and innovation services and resources in support of patient care, research, management…” for GCUH Health Service health professionals and students.

Within this overarching mission, the library  has sought to understand its users’ needs and information seeking behaviours through qualitative and quantitative analysis, including a consultative process with users, non-users, industry professionals and other stakeholders.  This aligns with a model recommended by Joanna Ludbrooke.    The library offers a suite of  regular short lunch-time programs to GCUH staff and students [patrons] designed to develop their navigation skills facilitating access to relevant information from any of the databases available online at any time.   In particular, nursing staff regularly refer to the Joanna Briggs Institute [JBI] database  in the course of their duty.  Therefore, their ability to quickly access information is essential, as it is can be critical to patient care.

The Joanna Briggs Institute database provides information to nursing staff and is designed to guide nurses to identify the issue, test their diagnosis, administer appropriate interventions at the point of care.   The two publication types most used are firstly, the evidence summaries based on structured searches of litérature and evidence-based health care databases and secondly, évidence based recommended practices providing the best available évidence including an equipment list, a recommended practice, OHS provisions and an évidence summary where available.

The éducation program for patrons was designed to run for approximately 20 minutes at 12.10 and again at 1.10 to fit with patrons’ regular lunch breaks.  The format of the program was an overview of the system, the main features, the popular publication types and the expected results from the program.  The research librarians created a PowerPoint présentation using screen captures and call-outs to indicate the preferred méthod of navigation.  The dedicated area within the library was set up with comfortable seating, side tables for note-taking and a projection screen connecter to a laptop.

A pre-run of the présentation ensured there were no technical glitches.    From my perspective with no health industry expérience and limited health library experience, the présentation logically and simply explained the pathways within the program for the benefit of any new users.

However, despite the well-planned structure of the program which had content, context, relevance, currency and relativity – busy hospital staff and health professionals did not attend.  Short lunch breaks are not long enough to include a serving of professional development,  as well as a deserved meal break.

Perhaps the library could consider delivering the présentations to staff rooms closer to clinics or wards so that patrons could benefit from their sharing of knowledge and information.  They could also trial social media as a means of communication.  However I believe that the major barrier to the ongoing délivery of this excellent program is dépendent on commitment and support of the parent organisation to give patrons more time to  take advantage of the librarians’ expertise and willingness to co-ordinate instructive sessions.

A further initiative of the GCUHH Library program was the issue of a Quality Scale Survey, enabling them to measure the success of the program and inviting comments about future programs.   The survey focussed on outcomes for the user asking questions about content, basis and navigation of JBI, ability to access JBI, available reports, understanding of advanced searching and overall satisfaction with JBI.   Unfortunately with the lack of patronage all of this excellent planning did not déliver results at this time.

Research and Library – a perfect partnership

https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfsregion5/3702463424/in/photolist-6Db6oh-dC3nTg-dC8BWY-dC8CkA-dC3Bo8-dC8M4A-dC8XfQ-dC3dkP-dC3meg-dC3sKZ-dC8SPC-dC3CHH-dC3emn-dC3ih6-dC91eN-dC37Ut-dC3xFV-dC3B3e-dC8TcS-dC3AzH-dC8Bx5-dC8DSA-dC8Kp7-dC3fJ6-dC3gmM-dC3g3c-dC8Egu-dC3paM-dC8AJj-dC3pw4-dC3oPK-nise7D-dC3yRr-hgar8q-dC8FdS-dC3Aeg-dC37bM-nZHue9-dC8Lkb-dC8vus-dC3tkr-dC3uW2-dC8Zqq-dC36s2-dC3zVi-dC8XNb-dC32p2-dC3xnM-dC3iUM-ejLAnB
Who’s the researcher?

So, why do I think that research and library are a perfect partnership?

The concept of a partnership between research and librarianship is not new, nor is it one that not been discussed widely and explored actively by academic and specialist libraries over many years. ALIA’s recognition of the connectedness of these skills was first adopted in 2002 and has since been amended in 2006 and 2015 to recognise the tumultuous evolution of information and data.

Library disciplines of organisation and descriptors perfectly complement the analysis and synthesis of information skills of researchers, placing librarians in a position to support research. This aligns with the ALIA’s basic principle on its role in research:

ALIA is committed to promoting and encouraging a research culture and research practice amongst library and information professionals in order to improve theory and practice.

Evidence-based practices are emerging in the form of research data management plans which are developed to meet the rigorous demands of professional standards.  Academic libraries are focussing attention on  data, developing roles for data librarians who manage and organise the data.

Emma Uprichards speaks of the v-dimensionality of ‘big data’, the top three descriptors are volume, velocity and variety with a second tier of value, veracity, validity, vitality and viscosity. The characteristics of data become increasingly complex.  With so much data being produced so quickly in so many formats, the big question is how to deal with that data in a meaningful way.  According to Alice Keller, Australian academic libraries are taking a lead role of research data management, with many dedicated data management roles being developed.

Similarly a survey of member libraries of the Queensland University Libraries Office of Cooperation (QULOC) revealed that 77% of their members have research plans in place.  This proactive and innovative approach to partnerships between librarians and researchers is further supported in a paper by  Janke & Rush, 2014 , who argue that librarians play a pivotal role in the investigative team for research because they have a suite of advanced skills in literature review, copyright issues, publication policies and compliance.   The partnerships deliver an amalgamation of skills to create structured plans that contextualise information and provide a framework for future projects.

Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport
Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport

During fieldwork placement at Gold Coast University Hospital and Health Library (GCUHHL) I observed firsthand the benefits of partnerships between librarians and health professionals.  With branches at Southport and Robina Hospitals, the library mission is to ‘provide a range of information and knowledge service … to support the provision of patient care, clinical research, professional development, education and management activities’.

The research librarians work closely with their users to deliver information that is relevant, current and accurate.  This aligns with the base principles discussed in a paper presented to ALIA 2014 conference Sharon Karasmanis and Fiona Murphy discussed the changing role of librarians supporting health researchers at La Trobe University, Melbourne (LTU).

They talked about collaboration and relationship building to create a connectedness that was a partnership between researchers and information professionals rather than support.   With an abundance of online resources and a myriad of pathways to information, librarians were key to guiding researchers to resources through improved information literacy.  The  La Trobe Future Ready: Strategic Plan 2013 to 2017 identified five Research Focus Areas to ‘measure and improve research quality, impact and volume and to increase cross-disciplinary research collaborations while developing and implementing strategically important research partnerships‘ (p.4).

Under the LTU 2013 Library Business Plan the traditional role of reference librarian expanded to include expert searching, training and research consultations.   Through consultation and collaboration with researchers and faculties, a system of evaluation of reference services was developed to measure the effectiveness of the new services.    This shift in focus has resulted in greater visibility for information professionals with better alignment with researchers and a plethora of opportunities for diverse professional development.