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Librarians Supporting Nurses: Treadwell Library at Massachusetts General Hospital

Posted by on March 11th, 2019 Posted in: Communities of Interest
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Entrance of outpatient care facility.

Outpatient entrance at MGH. Meeting of old and new construction.

Last fall, I asked several New England hospital librarians to share their stories about supporting nursing education and research. My first interview was with Mary Shah, MLS, AHIP. She is a Medical Librarian and Archivist at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. The second interview was with Maureen Dunn, MLIS, AHIP, Library Director at Concord Hospital in New Hampshire. This third interview is with Lisa Liang Philpotts, BSN, MSLS. Lisa is a Knowledge Specialist for Research and Instruction at Treadwell Library at Massachusetts General Hospital. The Treadwell Library is solely online with no physical library space, and employs four librarians and three support staff.

Tell us how your library supports nursing education and/or research.

We have provided services to nurses in a wide variety of roles, from our CNO to our bedside RNs. We’ve found these opportunities by building relationships and making sure we are visible in our large organization. Our library director and a colleague serve on the Patient Education and Clinical Practice Collaborative Governance committees. Additionally, I’m a co-chair of the Research and Evidence Based Practice committee. Outside of Collaborative Governance, a librarian serves on the Nursing History committee and I attend quarterly meetings of an interdisciplinary group of individuals who promote research at MGH, facilitated by MGH’s Center for Nursing Research.

One program I play a major role in has been the “Advancing Evidence Based Practice” continuing education program. Offered twice a year since 2016 and drawing an average of 50 attendees, this program is co-led by a nurse and a social worker, and I serve as one of two course faculty. We teach attendees the skills to pursue EBP projects using the Johns Hopkins Nursing EBP model as a framework. Projects from this program have led to practice and policy changes, as well as the initiation of research projects.

What resources, services and programs are most popular with nurses?

The first thing that comes to mind is that nurses are heavy users of our Ask-a-Librarian service. Majority of nurses’ questions are prompted by patient care, and about 30% are for professional education, perhaps stemming from the fact that an increasing proportion of our nurses are returning to school to pursue advanced degrees. Our nursing specific resources include CINAHL and Ovid Nursing Database.

Specific examples of nurses’ use of the library were mentioned in our last application for Magnet re-designation. In fact, I was present in a meeting with one of the Magnet appraisers and they mentioned they were glad to see a librarian, as they planned to ask about library services. To have an appraiser commend the collaboration between nurses and the library was encouraging.

Lastly, one interesting trend I’ve noticed is that there is growing interest in integrative reviews as a review methodology among our nurses, versus the focus on systematic reviews that I see in physician users.

How do you align this work with the mission of patient safety and healthcare quality?

Patient safety and quality care are both key components of our hospital’s mission, and our library’s mission is aligned with the mission of the hospital, so everything we do ultimately has an end goal of enabling the hospital to provide the best possible care to our patients.

Any tips for librarians interested in supporting nurses?

Remember that nurses are a diverse population! Above all, be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions to learn about their individual needs. Nurses are busy, so bring the library to them: show up at meetings that nurses are at, make accessing the library (and you, the librarian) as convenient as possible, and if you seen an opportunity to contribute, no matter how small, speak up!

Contact for Lisa Liang Philpotts: lphilpotts@mgh.harvard.edu

Upcoming Webinar for Hospital Librarians

On Thu, March 28, NNLM NER will host a webinar on Librarians Supporting Nursing Scholarship. This session will feature Alice Stokes (Dana Medical Library, University of Vermont), Lisa Marks and Diane Almader-Douglas (Mayo Clinic Libraries, Phoenix AZ). During this webinar, they will talk with us about their learned experiences in working with nurses.

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NNLM New England Region
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This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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