Category Archives: Workforce Planning and Development

Evaluating the STEP literature searching eLearning modules

In September 2018, the STEP project team launched the final module of “How to Search the Literature Effectively”on e-Learning for Healthcare.

We are really keen to find out whether librarians are using the eLearning and to capture what they think. Please could you to take 5 minutes to complete our survey and to tell us how you are using these modules to develop the skills of your end users.

The survey will close on 24th May 2019

Survey link

If you have any queries, please contact or

Specialist Librarians Study Day

Know your worth….

…this was the message taken away by around 50 librarians from the Specialist Librarians Study Day held in London on 12th March 2019. Funded by Health Education England the day saw a variety of elements intended to provide attendees with a set of tools and tips to help manage some of the emotional aspects of working as a librarian in healthcare.

Emotional impact

Understanding and coping with the emotional impact of working as a librarian within healthcare was a recurring theme for the day. A sample Schwartz round led by June White allowed participants to share stories of difficult and uplifting experiences in a safe setting, and provided further areas for further thought about how to manage what can be traumatic aspects of our role. Effective support mechanisms, and the need for an outlet (such as Schwartz Rounds) for the sometimes emotionally hard hitting aspects of our roles was highlighted.

This was further explored during Amanda Stearn’s hour long exploration of tools to promote emotional resilience. Pulling together tools from the CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) based Penn Resilience Programme, we were taken on a whistle stop tour of six strategies to build resilience including the intriguing concept of active hope. Unfortunately the looming spectre of our excellent lunch meant that there was no time for more than an overview of the strategies, and perhaps time to explore one or two of the techniques in more detail would have enhanced this part of the day. It’s a wellworn expression, but from both of these sessions I took away the assertion that “I am enough”.

Who are you and why are you here?

The second clear theme of the day for this attendee was that of answering the question oft posed to librarians- “Who are you and why are you here?” with a panel of four librarians sharing their ways of answering the question, Pip Divall leading a workload prioritising discussion, and Jo Walley encouraging attendees to develop and deliver elevator pitches.

The panel of librarians in embedded roles (Lisa Burscheidt, Tom Kelly, Erica Rae, and Kevin Burgoyne) was, for this new Clinical Librarian, reassuring. Reassuring to learn that even experienced embedded librarians recognise the issues of advocating for the benefits librarians bring in healthcare settings. Key learning points were around developing relationships with clinicians, recognising and developing library champions, focussing on what we can do for them and then delivering, and (my favourite) knowing your worth.

Pip Divall’s section of the programme focussed on prioritising your workload, taking a different spin on this most difficult of areas. Presenting us with a series of scenarios from her own experience, we were invited to discuss how we might have responded to the specific demands set out. Again, I took away the need to know your worth as a librarian, to value your contribution and be able to articulate that in your workplace.

The final part of the day was devoted to developing an elevator pitch. This was a natural culmination to the day’s topics, as Jo Walley asked us to focus on our unique contribution to our workplace and how we embed it into practice. We each developed a pitch and delivered it to someone we’d not met before, also giving and receiving feedback. This felt like a tangible solution to the problem of “Who are you and why are you here?” Having a considered, practised, and (very importantly) brief answer to this question is a means of enhancing confidence in advocating for the contributing we’re able to make to healthcare.

Summing up the day, I’d describe it as an empowering experience, reassuring and challenging in equal measures, with enough take away messages and actions to keep me moving forward for quite a while. I am enough, and I know my worth!

Lisa Mason
Clinical Librarian
William Harvey Library
George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

Can you find out the longer-term impact of the “Making LKS Business Critical” Workshops?

This was the challenge set for the Knowledge for Healthare Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Group. Anne Gray delivered Making LKS Business Critical workshops between January 2017 and Spring 2018 and 148 people attended. This was a perfect opportunity to test the Impact Evaluation Form developed by the group in 2017.

The Evaluation Form was adapted into an online survey and sent to all particpants. 29% responded and here are some of the key findings:

Word cloud of summarised general feedback
  • 87% of respondents said that the information, knowledge or skills gained have led, or might lead, to improving service delivery to customers.  Over 60% respondents said that personal or professional development and sharing information with, or advising , other staff or colleagues were gained.
  • 68% respondents said they gained new knowledge and 58% considered that the information, knowledge or skills gained had generated new ideas.
  • 53% respondents stated that the training had impacted by contributing to service development and delivery and 5% indicated that the training had an impact by saving money or contributed to financial effectiveness
  • Of those that had not used the skills or knowledge from the session 26% said they will probably use it in the future.  16% cited lack of time/capacity, 11% stated that the session did not meet their expectations.
  • Replies to the question What have you done differently as a result of attending this event? were grouped into the following themes:  Approach to searches, outlook about handling this type of enquiry, approach to presenting search information, use of specific resources, skill development and confidence in approaching senior management. 

            “I am more confident in offering and providing this service to the members of  the Trust’s board”

  • When asked about the impact upon service or service users, responses included greater consideration of business objectives, improved quality of service and saving users’ time.  A couple of responses were very specific:

     “In the recent organisational change, I managed to get recognition of the chartered librarian as a job profile and ensure me a role with my teams for the next 3 years.”

     “I was able to do an evidence search for a manager in the Trust shortly after attending the course. I was able to expand the search beyond the usual HDAS which led me to find more pertinent results. I regularly use the additional sources in searches now”

  • Respondents were asked to describe any ideas or work undertaken to consider the specific objective of the course – to generate ideas or work for collaborative resources to support LKS knowledge services to NHS Managers/Commissioners.  10 respondents said they had undertaken work or had ideas and these ranged from working collaboratively with other services to provide a business critical information service to more shared evidence bulletins.

Seeking the longer term impact of training is not always straight-forward – the reponse rate is often low as people have moved roles or are facing a change in cirucmstances since attending the workshop and at least one respondent had difficulty completing the longer term impact evaluation as they felt too much time had lapsed between taking the workshop and completing the evaluation. However, the responses that we did receive showed that some respondents welcomed the opportunity to re-visit the workshop materials and that significant developments had resulted from using the newly acquired skills and knowledge. Click below to download the full evaluation responses:

The CPD Group would like to express thanks to Anne for using her workshops as a”guinea pig” for the impact evaluation and to all of those who took the time to complete the survey.

Don’t forget that the full Development Needs Analysis consultation will begin in the Autumn this year. This will be your opportunity to say what skills and knowledge devevelopment you need for your role now and in the future. Start planning now by taking a look at the Health Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) to help you spot any gaps.

On behalf of the CPD Group