Well over 250 library and knowledge specialists attended part or all of a training bundle on synthesising and summarising. The courses combined face to face training with follow up activities and 117 people have responded to our survey to gauge its impact. Synthesising and Summarising courses were run in every region of the English NHS during 2016 and 2017.
Knowledge for Healthcare reported that “users value literature searches and synthesised, pre-packaged information” including “briefings that present synthesised evidence”. Hence, the strategy identified that there “needs to be a greater focus on synthesising evidence” and that the healthcare library and knowledge workforce required enhanced skills in this area. These courses were delivered in response to this training need and were designed to develop the techniques and practice necessary to be able to produce reviews and research syntheses
The courses consisted of initial one-day sessions led by one of research and information skills trainer Tim Buckley Owen or Anne Gray, Knowledge Officer at Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit, followed by three half-day problem-based sessions, spread over three months, at which attendees prepared syntheses and summaries of documents in advance, and shared problems they had encountered, and their solutions.
The Course Impact Evaluation
Feedback from the impact evaluation was very positive. Attendees reported improved confidence, enhanced skills and a better service to end users. For some, the course informed service redesign and helped deliver a more meaningful impact on their organisations. The majority of attendees felt they were able to put some of the skills developed into practice.
The impact evaluation provides ample evidence of success. The full report can be read here. Attendees described how the course supported organisational development:
“This course has had a significant impact on the library services presence at a senior level. The summary provided to a senior ward manager led to change in the wording of text message appointment reminders sent out to patients to reduce ‘Did not Attends’. On the back of this success it led to further requests for summaries some of which have been presented at MDT meetings.”
and how it allowed libraries to increase their presence, and demonstrate the impact of their expertise
“I have gained new skills and confidence and improved our evidence search service. This has had a particularly positive impact on our Embedded Librarian Service and the feedback from users has helped to demonstrate the positive impact of library services”.
No further courses are scheduled at present. However, watch this space.
We encourage attendees to share what you have learned, and to enhance further these skills. Please continue to feedback on how you are using these skills and how it feeds into the impact of library and knowledge services. And how will you keep synthesising and summarising skills live and fresh? One way might be to form local action learning sets in a service or services. Feed back in the comments below, or to your LKS regional lead.