Applying Medical Theory to Daily Clinical Librarianship: Insights from Prestigious EBCP Workshop

To benefit their patrons – physicians, clinicians, medical and dental students – clinical librarians at the University of Louisville’s Kornhauser Library are actively seeking to deepen their understanding of contemporary medical theories and practice.

This summer, Assistant Director and Clinical Librarian Vida Vaughn attended the prestigious Evidence-Based Clinical Practice (EBCP) workshop at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.  Her main goals were to learn how to assess biostatistics in medical literature, expand her awareness of evidence-based practice, and become a better clinical librarian and teacher.

vida and dental students
Vida Vaughn, Kornhauser clinical librarian, interacts with dental students during a seminar break.

She soon realized that biostatistics analysis “is a graduate program in itself. But I came away knowing I can look at the literature more competently now.”

Vaughn’s work involves teaching students and clinicians on the Health Sciences Campus in the classroom setting, small groups or one-on-one, and also partnering with other medical educators. She said the workshop has helped her work more effectively, particularly with medical faculty at UofL.  Gaining their buy-in and confidence is a constant mission and based on hard work, she said.

“I learned how much physicians crave the assistance of a librarian. When they heard what I do for UofL Physicians, they were just amazed and wanted to know how to get something similar started in their organizations.”

“They have so much advanced medical knowledge and training that it can be challenging,” said Vaughn. “You have to work very hard to prove yourself, to begin to gain a level of trust. But when you help solve someone’s problem for them, they become your best advocate.”

The immersive, week-long workshop is designed to benefit physicians, nurses, dentists, clinical librarians and other health-care professionals, who learn more about EBCP – and how to teach it – in a small-group setting. EBCP is a contemporary approach to healthcare practice that “explicitly acknowledges the evidence that bears on each patient management decision, the strength of that evidence, the benefits and risk of alternative management strategies, and the role of patients’ values and preferences in trading off those benefits and risks.”

All attendees work for 10-hour days throughout the week to explore a broad curricula. Vaughn worked alongside three family practice physicians, two naturopath physicians, an optician, a research professor, a mentor in training, and another clinical librarian. “It was extremely extensive, very intense. Everyone leaves completely exhausted.”

What surprised her most was how clinicians truly view her work as a librarian.

“I learned how much physicians crave the assistance of a librarian. When they heard what I do for UofL Physicians, they were just amazed and wanted to know how to get something similar started in their organizations. The type of embeddedness and buy-in that exists at our institution is not readily available to many clinicians around the country.  At UofL, our clinical librarian team has made a concerted effort to be accepted as part of the medical teams. With some departments, I’m embedded to the point of being considered part of the furniture.”

Despite the asymmetry in medical training between the participants, there was no haughtiness or “lording it over anyone. Their attitude was, ‘We’re just here to help each other get through the workshop.’ It was an intense learning experience for everyone.

“I was pleasantly surprised by how supportive the physicians were on my process and learning. They were very engaged and mentored me through the workshops. In the critique of her presentation, her fellow group mates counseled, ‘You shouldn’t apologize so much for what you feel you don’t know because you know much more than you think.’

“I felt extremely sustained by that because I had felt quite out of my league at times.”

Vaughn, who is president of the Kentucky Medical Library Association, spoke about the workshop at a recent KMLA meeting and found a highly receptive audience.

“Now that we have made this investment in my learning, it’s my turn to come back and teach my staff and colleagues and impart the things I’ve learned.”


University of Louisville Libraries Faculty Present at Annual Library Conference

With trends shifting in technology and scholarship, University of Louisville Libraries’ faculty and staff are finding meaningful ways to transform their libraries. At last week’s Association of College and Research Libraries Conference in Portland, Oregon, U of L Libraries faculty presented their research and led roundtable discussions on a variety of issues pertinent to the changing landscape.

Libraries Dean Robert E. Fox, Jr. led several research presentations including one on best practices in managing student advisory boards to help increase their value to the library. Additionally, Fox and Associate Dean and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling led a roundtable on locating academic support services within the library to enrich students’ experience.

Other lecture topics included best practices on integrating new employees swiftly and seamlessly into their vocational culture. Melissa Laning, Associate Dean, and Keisling asked the question: “After payroll and parking, what do new librarians really want to know about their new jobs and places of employment?” The two also led a roundtable discussion on the topic.

Libraries Diversity Residency Librarian Rosalinda H. Linares led a lecture on “delivering value through innovation, leadership, and inclusion” and highlighted cutting-edge projects produced by current and former residency librarians. Residency librarians are new graduates who work for limited times, typically a year or more, in a University Library to gain experience in their new profession.

A full description of topics follows:

Paper presentation by University of Louisville Libraries Dean Robert Fox
Successful + Sustainable Student Advisory Boards
(With Meg Scharf, University of Central Florida, and Ameet Doshi, Georgia Tech)
Libraries use effective student advisory boards to receive ideas, feedback, and constructive criticism. But with good management, a student advisory board can increase its value to the library. This presentation discusses the key elements of successful student advisory boards and identifies best practices in board management in use by three libraries. The purpose of the board, recruitment of members, conducting meetings, creation of a comfortable, open meeting environment, and member communication practices are presented.

Roundtable led by Dean Robert Fox and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling
Partners Not Tenants: Co-Locating Student Academic Support Services in the Library to Promote Student Success
Colleges and universities are increasingly focused on helping their students achieve academic success, and the library is a logical academic support venue. Based on their experiences the facilitators will lead a conversation about building academic support services in the library by developing successful partnerships with non-library units and reorganizing spaces to integrate those units into the library.

Poster Presentation, Dean Robert Fox and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling
Build Your Program by Building Your Team: Inclusively Transforming Services, Staffing and Spaces
Having quantitative data can be an important step in planning any type of organizational change but it’s also important for leaders to gather input by listening and incorporating feedback from users, staff, and campus partners. Based on their experience in one university library, the presenters will demonstrate successful techniques for leading a sustainable transformation of services, staffing, and spaces that combined study data along with a highly inclusive planning and implementation process.

Poster Presentation, Associate Dean Melissa Laning and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling
Creating Organizational Community: The Role of New Employee Onboarding Practices
After payroll and parking, what do new librarians really want to know about their new jobs and places of employment? What do they wish their employers would learn about them? Based on interviews with academic librarians who have been in their current positions for less than three years, the presenters will share their findings about how academic library employee orientation programs can create a more cohesive organizational community and where improvements can be made.

Roundtable led by Associate Dean Melissa Laning and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling
Creating Community: What do you Really Want to Know the First Year on the Job?
After payroll and parking, what do new librarians really want to know about their new jobs and places of employment? Do orientation programs cover those issues? Based on their recent review of onboarding programs, the facilitators will share some findings about how academic library employee orientation programs can create a more cohesive organizational community and lead a conversation about enhancing new employee orientation.

Poster Presentation by Rosalinda H. Linares, Diversity Residency Librarian, University of Louisville
Library Residents on the Bleeding Edge: Delivering Value Through Innovation, Leadership, and Inclusion
(With Sara Arnold-Garza, Residency Coordinator, Towson University; Ariana Santiago, Instruction Librarian, University of Houston)
This poster highlights cutting-edge projects produced by current and former residency librarians. Projects will illustrate the pillars of a residency experience: the role of the residency librarian as a catalyst for innovation, the importance of leadership skills for imagining and executing work in new areas of academic librarianship, and the value of a diversity perspective to sustaining programs and services that support the variety of campus communities.


Today’s Headlines are Déjà Vu

“The New Flood Tide of Immigration”: You’d guess that was a headline from USA Today last month? Actually, it is a headline from 1921 which appeared in the Annals of the American Academy of Political Science. How about the headline “How good are cold and flu shots?” It’s from Science Digest, 1960. “New Hopes for Syria” is an article from 1937. All of these articles and many more that can provide students with a better perspective on today’s headlines can be found in the Reader’s Guide Retrospective database. Comparing coverage of a news story from the past and today can be illuminating to students in many disciplines: history, English, sociology, biology, psychology to name a few. This kind of exercise could be a great class discussion starter or an opportunity for a short paper or project.

This database is the electronic version of the old, green books that comprised the Reader’s Guide, stalwart source for most beginning research. The database covers magazines from 1890-1982. Many of the articles are available via full-text links and others are available in microfilm or even in bound print form in Ekstrom Library. For more ideas about how to incorporate material from this database or any of the other 200+ databases to which the library subscribes, contact an Ekstrom Library reference librarian in your discipline: http://louisville.edu/library/ekstrom/reference/