Harlow Hospital healthcare library gets thumbs up from staff

Health / Mon 22nd Jul 2019 am31 10:47am

Hospital healthcare library gets thumbs up from staff

How do clinicians keep abreast of the many advances and research in healthcare techniques and treatments? A key source of current and high quality information is through specialist NHS library and knowledge services for hospital trusts.

At The Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT), the Harlow Healthcare Library (HHL), located within the hospital, offers essential library services and evidence based resources for the hospital’s clinicians, students, junior doctors, therapists and practitioners in all services. It has a vital role in supporting clinical decision making and enhancing patient care and safety, as feedback from users testifies. The library’s value is also highlighted during the annual Health Information Week – a national, multi-sector campaign to promote high quality information for patients and the public.

Last year, HHL held a public information event in Harlow town centre together with Harlow Central Library. This year, the recent Health Information Week was an opportunity to demonstrate collaborative work and the importance of healthcare libraries to staff and visitors. Library staff hosted stands in the hospital to promote two themes: ‘Healthy lifestyles’, alongside a dietetics specialist, and ‘innovations for preventing illness’ with a PAHT physiotherapist.

HHL is gaining a growing profile within and outside the trust, particularly since taking part in a project to improve library services in Essex, running together with the healthcare library based at Basildon Hospital.

To meet the information needs of busy clinicians in the hospital’s working environment, HHL runs a clinical librarian service, which sees the librarian go out of the library and into the hospital, to provide quality assured information to clinicians at the point of need and patient care.

HHL’s recent annual report highlights the library’s activities in the past year. Among the many projects was setting up a ‘library in a box’ for the critical care unit and quality improvement teams, to enable a selection of relevant books to be kept in their departments. Another was “pop-up library” sessions, which takes library services to busy healthcare workers who can’t always get to the library.

The library also provides library skills tailored to the requirements of individuals, and offers training for clinical staff to find good quality evidence in specialist online resources. Working together with the PAHT medical education team, the clinical librarian holds training sessions on critical appraisal skills for medical students and staff to be used when reading research for assignments and learning for career progression.

One junior doctor commented: “I have to say this has easily been the best library I have been to in my five years in the NHS, as the team are so responsive and understanding!”

An anaesthetics registrar added: “I think the library service at PAH is excellent. It is a department that can sometimes be overlooked by junior staff (such as myself) as we only consider it a place where you can get a few books for exams from. I was particularly impressed by the role of Rebecca Parrott who liaises with ITU to provide clinically relevant and up to date practice. It is a service I would have only thought would be available at a teaching hospital and am very glad that we have it at PAH.”

Other activities include involvement in the Fab Change Academy programme, a nation-wide initiative to introduce changes in the NHS. To help showcase the huge amount of service improvement work within the hospital at a public display, HHL created QR codes for each initiative which visitors could follow on a smartphone. This proves that library services adapt to user need and expand beyond traditional notions – and it contributed to the trust winning the Academy’s Champion Trust title for the second year.

Clinical Librarian, Rebecca Parrott, said: “Demand for our library services has continued to increase as more time and resources have been committed to promotion, and to bridging the gap between finding the right information and delivering it for improved patient care. The Library has engaged in high-profile projects and activities across the trust and we are delighted with the positive feedback, which is testament to the hard work of the team and the value PAHT staff place on their library and information services.”

Andy Morris, chief medical officer at the trust, said: “Harlow Healthcare Library has grown into an effective library and knowledge service, supporting clinicians and managers in their work and underpinning the practice of evidence based healthcare in the trust. Rebecca and her team deserve a big thank you for their hard work in raising the quality of the service, which benefits not only our staff, but in the long-term is a huge asset in the care of our patients.”

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1 Comment for Harlow Hospital healthcare library gets thumbs up from staff:

2019-07-25 06:05:47

That's great. Are members of the public with a special interest (eg people from support groups) able to access the library? In the early days of HIV/Aids they allowed me to read various medical journals. Better still would be access for GPs who are often too busy to keep up with updates on particular conditions often having been taught very little about them in the first place.

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