by Katie Jefferson, MPH, Library Services Liaison
Mary Shultz, MS, Library Director
Savitt Medical Library
University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno
The Savitt Medical Library at the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine, received an outreach subaward from the Pacific Southwest Region (PSR) of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), running from May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019. This was the third year the Savitt Medical Library received outreach funding, enabling it to build on efforts from previous years. With this funding, we again partnered with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health to support the community health and behavioral health rural 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, flight nurses and nurses in the Nevada mines. Their area of responsibility covers more than 96,000 square miles and they average about 1,000 miles of travel per month. The rural nursing offices do not have online resources beyond those that are freely available.
In the first award year, 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. In addition we traveled to 11 (of 13) nursing clinic locations and introduced ourselves, the project, the nursing LibGuide and provided a training session. Traveling to each location across the state allowed us to see the environments in which the nurses work and allowed us to begin building partnerships. After the site visits the Savitt Medical Library created a project portal and continuously updated it with input from the nurses. During our visits, we received many suggestions for additional links and categories. It provides “one-stop shopping” for their highly used information resources. Prior to our visits, each nurse relied on their individual set of bookmarks or searched Google to seek resources.
In the 2018-2019 award year we focused on developing and creating new materials to provide a series of ten online training modules. We acquired continuing education (CE) certification for all three award years and will continue offering CE credit through April 2020. The modules are provided through 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 include:
The Savitt Medical Library will continue to promote the Project Portal and the Online Training Modules widely. The online training makes it possible for the nurses to access materials without having to travel. It was a challenge to make additional visits during the award period due to the nurses’ limited time and scheduling conflicts. We are making arrangements with the clinics to make another round of visits over the summer to continue building the relationships. Another barrier to note is that many of the clinics appear to be in transition, decreasing from the original 14 rural and frontier clinics to just nine. We suspect some of this is due to the recent retirements of several nurses and positions being left unfilled. Throughout the course of the award 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, our portal page and sharing the resources with their colleagues. They also welcomed us back when scheduling allows.
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. We are honored to have been the recipient of NNLM outreach funding for the last three years. This funding allowed us to reach health care providers in very underserved areas and provide services to this small but vital group of nurses providing care in the underserved areas of Nevada. We appreciate the funding and support we have received from the NNLM PSR and the great team of nurses we worked with!