Case Study – Establishing a new Clinical Information Service by Michelle Maden

What did you do? Establish a new Clinical Information Service across 2 acute Trusts and 1 PCT (now defunct)

What worked?

  • The literature search service is the most widely used part of the service. Users can email their enquiries, fill in the request form on the intranet, telephone or call in to discuss their search requirements.
  • Look for projects/guideline groups within the Trust and offer to be on the Steering Groups/Committees (e.g. Guidelines/PDU/R&D/Med Ed)
  • Critical Appraisal/Statistics training is well received by Trust staff
  • One-to-one literature search training – more relevant and focused to user needs
  • Use your own strengths to develop the service (I specialise in critical appraisal/statistics and systematic  reviews)
  • Being prepared to go out of my comfort zone at times in teaching statistics
  • Attending departmental meetings/inductions/events to promote the service – Face to face promotion is best and follow up with an email
  • When promoting the service use real examples of how you have had impact
  • Ask users for feedback on what they want from the service
  • Good relations with the Medical Director, R&D and T&D to embed service within the Trust at the start
  • Small business cards with bullet point details of the service and how to access ejournals/Athens to hand-out at meetings/events
  • RSS feeds with Trust publications placed on the library homepage
  • Liaising with other CL colleagues in a network to share ideas/good practice
  • Being proactive as well as reactive

What didn’t work?

  • Ward rounds – too time consuming as I only work part-time
  • Workshops on literature searching – too much variation in skills and poor IT access

What did you learn?

  • Focus on the departments/people that show interest to start with
  • Don’t go all out to promote the service to everyone at the same time, or else you may be overloaded with responses
  • Word of mouth is the best advert…get users to recommend you to at least one colleague in return for the service
  • Don’t offer to do absolutely everything for users just to impress – e.g. obtain the full text for them for articles they can access themselves , focus on the task at hand and let other people in the library help out.
  • Never say no but do delegate.

What are your “next steps” Model works well for a part-time CL

Michelle Maden
Aintree Library & Information Resource Centre

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