by Katie Jefferson, MPH, Library Services Liaison, and
Mary Shultz, MS, Library Director
Savitt Medical Library
University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno
The Savitt Medical Library at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno (UNR Med) received an outreach subaward from the Pacific Southwest Region (PSR) of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), running from May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017. With this funding, we partnered with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health to support the community health and behavioral health nurses working in state offices. These nurses provide health services to remote and underserved communities in ten frontier and rural counties. They also serve as school nurses in districts without a school nurse. Their area of responsibility covers more than 96,000 square miles and they average about 1,000 miles of travel per month. The nursing offices do not have online resources beyond those that are freely available.
The Savitt Medical Library provided training that highlighted freely available, quality resources, primarily from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Our plan was to travel to each of the 13 locations to introduce ourselves and the project, the nursing LibGuide, and to provide an initial training session. We have traveled to all but two sites. The final two trips will be completed during the summer. Traveling to each location across the state allowed us to see the environments in which the nurses work. More importantly, it allowed us to begin building those relationships.
We acquired continuing education (CE) certification for our initial session, which covered MedlinePlus, HealthReach, Google Scholar and Advanced Google Searching. Additionally, we highlighted the Loansome Doc service as well as Project Echo. Project Echo is a UNR Med service that provides rural and frontier clinicians with advice and support from specialists. The initial in-person CE topics were based on phone interviews and surveys of the nurses to determine their needs. After each session, evaluations were collected. All participants noted in the evaluations that they will make changes in their practice. Some examples included:
The Savitt Medical Library also created a project portal with input from the nurses. It provides a one-stop-shop for their highly used information resources. Previously, each nurse had been relying on their individual set of bookmarks or Google searching each time they were seeking a resource.
Additionally, we are developing and providing a series of ten online modules, each offering CE credit. The modules will be provided using the University’s course management system, Canvas. These topics were selected based on the initial phone interviews and surveys and then they were refined after meeting the nurses. The modules will include:
We received very positive comments from all the nurses we met. They seemed genuinely happy to have the support we offered and to “feel not quite so all alone.” They all expressed enthusiasm about the resources we covered and our portal page. Many had suggestions about what to add to the page and what topics to cover in the online instruction. This project was rewarding for the nurse participants and for the librarians. We saw, first-hand, the remote areas where they work and what resources they need. This is a great jumping off point for the Savitt Medical Library to plan and provide other resources and services to this small but vital group of nurses providing care in the underserved areas of Nevada.