Thursday, 14 December 2017

Network Day for Band 5 & 6 NHS Librarians

I attended this network day held on the 30th of November, 2017 at St. Chads Court in Birmingham which was originally aimed at Librarians in the Midlands but it was refreshing to see Librarians from as far away as Essex in attendance. I found myself  agreeing to facilitate a Knowledge Cafe which turned out to be a valuable experience because to be frank I had no experience as a participant or a facilitator. Within 24 hours, I read and watched everything I could on Knowledge Cafes and felt confident that I could do justice. Catherine McLaren started off the day with some housekeeping and a run through what the content of the day would be. She also introduced Clare Edwards and myself as co-facilitators for the day. Participants were asked to write their expectations from the session on post-its and put it on a board. These were put together as themes and ranged from gaining insights from others to learning about social media.
The first session was the Knowledge Cafe led by me
What went right
I started off by asking if anyone had ever participated or led a Knowledge Cafe to which I got a few hands up. I then had those with the experience to share what the concept was about and it was pretty much spot on. "A knowledge cafe is an opportunity  to bring a group of people together to have an open, creative conversation on a topic of mutual interest. It is meant to be informal, unstructured, fun, social and time-bound. It gives participants the opportunity to share ideas, observe & reflect, tease out information, and gain a deeper understanding".

With the concept thus explained, I supplied the topic for the Knowledge Cafe "What makes a good library website or intranet page?"

The participants were then asked to split into four groups and with 16 participants, there was an even split of four people per group.

I then requested for 2 volunteers from each group and informed the participants that there will be 3 rounds of 15 minutes each. At the end of each round, my volunteers would move to the next table and begin the conversation again. At the end of the 3rd round all participants would reassemble as one large group for an exchange of ideas. This worked really well and there was a real buzz in the room.

What went wrong
At the end of the first round, it became obvious the volunteers hadn't realized they needed to move in their pairs. I had to clarify this and in hindsight should have mentioned it earlier.

Despite trying to stay in the background (I remained seated as much as I could), the buzz in the room seemed to die once participants reassembled into one big group. I had to intervene and elicit contributions but when the contributions came they seemed to be directed at me rather than the group which was not the intention. In hindsight, when the group reassembled I would have reminded them that the segment was the same discussion as before but as one big group and withdrawn myself to the back of the room.

After a quick break, there was a conversation on actions participants planned to take based on what they had learnt during the Knowledge Cafe, who they might need to discuss it with, areas to be changed or developed for quick wins, and how they planned to review what they had done. Participants shared the intention to follow up on ideas such as having Library staff names and pictures on the site and minimizing discrepancies in information on the intranet and internet pages.

The next session was facilitated by Catherine McLaren and it covered how we might measure the impact of social media. She shared some basic information of the average Twitter account in the West Midlands to give a feel for what the statistics were. A very interesting conversation then ensued on what actually constitutes impact of Twitter, tweets, following, followers, likes etc. I shared that I often link tweets to the Trust Twitter handle in the hope of reaching more staff and considered it a win if it was re-tweeted on the Trust account. Although there was no consensus on what would be the answer, the session definitely got everyone thinking. It got me thinking about how many followers of the Library account were actually Library users and therefore if tweets were reaching as many people as we thought.

At this point, we broke for lunch and an opportunity to network.
We returned for a session on Mentoring & Coaching led by Catherine McLaren where the attributes of each one were highlighted and usefulness discussed. There was also a sharing stories session where Liz Askew shared about co-presenting with a student nurse at the library induction for new student nurses. The student nurse shared her positive experience on the benefits of using library services and encouraged the new student cohort to make use of it too. I shared about my experience of professional development as a personal investment. I talked about how I commit personal time to make the most of opportunities, share goals with my line manager so that expectations can be managed, identify support from outside my organization, keep informed by subscribing to blogs and mailing lists, engage in the wider profession especially via Twitter chats, join free groups such as EAHIL & Health Libraries Group and reflect on my experiences which comes in really handy when it is time to revalidate.

After a short break, Clare Edwards facilitated a discussion on what the future holds for Library and Knowledge Services in the NHS. The contributions on this topic resulted in themes such as streamlining services and the effects it would have on demonstrating impact, mergers and more. Participants were asked to feedback on what went well and what could be improved at future events. I thought the day was well put together which gave participants the opportunity to brainstorm away from the hustle and bustle of daily service demands. I learnt a lot and established new relationships.
I have also received feedback that my revalidation for 2017 has been approved so I am really looking forward to a relaxed Christmas. Feliz Navidad and see you in the new year.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Midlands & East Health Libraries Summer Conference 2017

This is the first conference in a collaboration between Health Libraries in the East of England and the Midlands. The conference was held at Abax Stadium in Peterborough and my motive for attending was to try and shake off my impostor syndrome. I have been in my current post for almost a year and I still feel like the new professional on the block. I hoped attending this conference would enable me get a greater understanding of services within my region, put faces to names as well as foster new and stronger relationships for future collaborative opportunities. Coincidentally, the theme for the conference was Collaboration & Partnership and there were over a hundred attendees looking to do just that.

It started off with a welcome from Ruth Carlyle, HEE Midlands and East of England Head of Library and Knowledge Services, who went through housekeeping and also requested for Regional LKS Leads who were present to introduce themselves. David Farrelly, Regional Director for the Midlands and East Health Education England, gave the keynote speech. He talked about how far services in the region have come and the need to champion what we do and what we have accomplished. He also talked about the benefits of having the Knowledge for Healthcare framework and stressed that embedded services are the life blood of everything that we do. There are various challenges across the NHS and it is important for Library Services to focus on how to provide support to meet these challenges. He discussed how connections are being made with professional bodies and supportive services as part of the A million decisions campaign and links between Library Services and Technology Enhanced Learning. I found it to be a good introduction to what can be expected from the conference.
The next speaker was Doug Knock, Library & Knowledge Services Manager at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. He talked about the Impact Toolkit from the Value and Impact task and finish group. He emphasised that it is essential to show our worth and the value of our services and the need to do this on a regular basis. He went through the content of the Impact Toolkit and the tools available on the KFH Blog. The impact toolkit was created as a metric for success that was generic enough for use by all Library services. He stressed the need to use the questionnaires as they are so that the results can be pulled together nationally. He also talked about the need to know the difference between impact and feedback as well as the importance of not just collecting evidence but making use of them. The impact toolkit is used in my service and is without a doubt one of the most important tasks within the service. I believe it is also necessary to recognise obstacles to its use such as getting service users to participate in case studies and time to collect the evidence. I don't believe this should be a deterrent but it does make it a little bit more difficult.

After a short break where attendees interacted and examined the poster submissions, Mo Hussain, Knowledge and Evidence Specialist, East of England, Public Health England,  gave a session on how they support collaboration between the public health community and NHS libraries. He talked about the difference in the support their Library Services and Evidence Services offer. He also discussed the support they give to local authority public health teams such as access to PHE e-journals, EBSCO Discovery, Annual learning and networking events, practice examples, and searching guides on the Library platform, offering training and organised a mailing list. I intend to join the mailing list as a way of keeping up-to-date with current developments relating to our Public Health counterparts.
Up next, Peter Ransome presented on a collaboration between the Hospital Library services and Dementia teams at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He talked about the embedded services they offer to the dementia team such as current awareness, research support, promoting Library services within the team and during Dementia Awareness Week. Ali Thayne shared some practical examples on how this service impacted on patient care in practice. The results received from literature searches led to the use of memory dogs for patient care and had a positive impact on staff morale. They also led to introduction of dignity gowns which reduce indecent incidents with patients.

We broke up for lunch and some networking.
We return from lunch to a session with Ruth Carlyle on working with voluntary sectors and providing public patient information. With growing pressures on NHS services, patients and the public need to be able to access quality information to improve their understanding and support decision making for their care and that of loved ones. She stressed the need for services to work in partnership with other organisations across different sectors. She discussed the Information Standard Kite Mark which identifies organisations certified for generating high quality information and Accessible Information Standard which all NHS and Social Care providers are now required to follow by law.

There were several short breakout sessions. The first I attended was the Best Practice session facilitated by Pip Divall, Clinical Librarian Services Manager, University Hospitals of Leicester.This was very interesting because it was quite interactive rather than just listening to a presentation. Participants discussed whether services were following best practice or even able to identify what is considered to be best practice. This led to a very riveting discussion on whether we as information professionals practice what we preach  which is evidence based practice. There were a lot of reasons mentioned as barriers such as time constraints. Some suggestions made by participants for overcoming obstacles to sharing best practice include blogging about experiences in real-time, setting aside downtime for discussions with colleagues, job shadowing, and tweeting about experiences. Pip has put together a summary from the two sessions she facilitated.

The next breakout session I was at was on Skills modules and led by Preeti Puligari, Deputy Faculty Knowledge Manager/Outreach Librarian, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. She talked about a proposed suite of e-learning modules for delivering training for NHS staff called STEP. It is due for launch in the very near future and aims to provide a platform with seven e-learning modules on tpics such as searching principles and HDAS which can be adapted by any Library service for their own use. The modules are aligned to the health sector and incorporate interactive elements e.g. 3-D. It is created in a generic format to suit the needs of staff in all sectors including Public Health and will be centrally located with no requirement for a username or password. There is an absence of screen shots to ensure that it is future-proofed so that if interfaces change, it remains relevant. I look forward to introducing it to our users as a way of refreshing their memory on searching skills. I also wonder if an element of it might be useful for users who are new to searching.

The breakout session on Revalidation for nurses was led by Jane Cooper, Librarian, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Catherine McLaren, Library & Knowledge Services Manager, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust. Catherine talked about how they support nurses through writing reflective accounts of their practice or literature they have found for their revalidation. It involves small groups being engaged (no more than 4) in a confidential environment to enable positive results from the sessions. They talk to those undertaking revalidation and get them to hear from those who have completed it. The service also gathered information sources for revalidation on the Library website which has proved to be quite popular. The sessions provided by Jane involves showing ways of repackaging of existing knowledge over a two and a half hour period. Participants are required to book ahead and asked to bring a topic from their current practice as a basis of the searching they will do. They are shown how to navigate healthcare databases such as Trip, Cochrane and they conduct a search on the topic they have supplied. It is important to try and get participants to feed up to date evidence back into their day to day practice to garner continued support of the service from the Trust. At the end of each session, the participants fill in the reflective template for their revalidation.

Other sessions I was unable to attend were on CASH, Pop-Up Libraries, and the Technology Jam. The twitter comments proved a good way to catch up on these #mehln2017. The conference ended with presentation of prizes for competitions by Ruth Carlyle and Imrana Ghumra, Professional Advisor, Library & Knowledge Services Health Education England, East of England. On that note, I bid farewell to Peterborough.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Moving forward - a catchup post

I fear my blog has been sorely neglected in the past few months. I'm not sure if it was the exhiliaration of completing the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme or the prospect of dealing with the coming financial year but either way I'm back to share what I've been up to since February.

I attended a Synthesising and summarising workshop led by Tim Buckley Owen. The event covered a variety of methods for streamlining and categorising search results for users without losing valuable and relevant papers. The idea is to minimise the work the user has to do from the results received. What stood out to me was the need to scan through my results at least once to get a flavor of what my search retrieves which then puts me in a better position to select, reject and prioritise especially since my background isn't clinical. Although the concept of summarising seemed straight forward, the reality was much more daunting for me. Abstracts can be helpful but in the grand scheme of day to day tasks I find it difficult to incoporate this into my work. There was also a Finding and summarising evidence for service transformation worshop led by Anne Gray. The purpose of the course was to help librarians understand how to find and present evidence for different clientele such as commissioners and managers. I learnt about sources these clientele are normally familiar with and how it informs the decisions they make.

The Searching and beyond workshop led by Morwenna Rogers, Rebecca Abbot, Alison Bethel was a revelation for me. I have not had any direct experience in systematic reviews myself but I have often wondered how I would cope if such a request was made. This workshop put all my fears to rest. It had just the right mix of preparatory work, activities and teaching. I learnt about the various steps involved in completing a systematic revew and what each one entails. From scoping searches to protocols and data extraction, no stone was left unturned. It helped me to make sense of the process and establish questions I should be asking if supporting a systematic review. What I took away as the highlight was the need to determine who is on the systematic review team and identify my role within that team. It has led me to add support for systematic reviews as a service we offer which is currently being promoted.

I was involved in a discussion about the possibility of pursuing a Masters in Library Science without having to pay tuition. My investigation yielded results which really suprised me because apparently you can. It involves the expense of travel but I believe that is a small sacrifice. The University of Boras offers a Masters programme in Library and Information Science, Digital Library and Information Services which is free to EU citizens. It requires the completion of 120 credits over a 2 year period and never fear, the instrucion is in English.

As part of the Midlands E-Procurement Group, I am learning about the resource deals available and it is also giving me the opportunity to put faces to names within my new NHS Library Service region. I am happy to say my project work for the leadership programme proved useful for me when I needed to develop the Library survey. I am looking forward to Health Information Week #HIW2017 and the Midlands and East Health Libraries Summer Conference. I'll be keeping you informed in my next post.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme - One year on

The pilot of the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Development Programme is now over and it has been a very interesting journey. It was delivered based on the model of the CILIP Leadership Programme but tailored specifically for healthcare librarians, information and knowledge specialists. It had a cohort of 24 participants split into four project groups. Participants were encouraged to complete the Leadership aspect of the CILIP PKSB to identify skills that might need cultivating or improvement both before and after the programme. We were also required to attend a number of compulsory elements which were held at various locations in England.

Discussions, Webinars, and Workshops
We used the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) portion of the CILIP website to complete activities on leading others and one's self. Some of the topics raised in discussions include leadership, management, the impact toolkit, and networking skills. There were also webinars on leadership theories and approaches, people management, strategic thinking and planning, stakeholder analysis and engagement, project management, and elevator pitches. I found all these very fast paced especially as you try to incorporate it into your daily tasks. It helped that there were no deadlines for specific tasks and I did find it useful to come up with my elevator pitch for varying stakeholders. There were also a series of workshops all participants were required to attend which covered topics such as the introduction to leadership, different leadership styles and the situations in which they are used, communication, and change management.

Action Learning Sets (ALS)
The action learning sets were split into individual project teams. I learnt a lot about coaching and mentoring which serves me when I conduct one-to-one's with colleagues. I also learnt a lot about myself, my hopes, dreams, aspirations and most especially what I did not want for my professional career. It allowed me to share my anxieties in a safe environment and reflect on actions that I might be able to pursue to assuage them. I was also able to offer my support to colleagues and improve my listening skills. I honestly consider it to be the aspect of the course that I looked forward to the most and my team have decided to keep having them even though the programme is over.

The project I was assigned to involved the preparation, distribution, collation, and analysis of a survey of the development needs of health library staff. The other projects were:
  • Collaborative working across HEE Midlands and the East
  • Identifying the skills base for innovators: a knowledge management initiative for LKS staff to enableknowledge sharing to drive innovation at the Trust level
  • LQAF Peer Review in HEE East Midlands to contribute to the development of a national approach
My team started our project by ascertaining what the expectations were and investigating existing literature and the results from previous surveys. The responsibility for managing the project was split equally between members of the team and rotated as agreed. We were spread across England but with the help of teleconferences, webex and email, we were able to maintain a smooth flow of communication.

We piloted the survey with colleagues before rolling it out in December. It was closed in January and we were able to collect 758 responses. The analysis of the results is currently being carried out. We hope the report will help inform the direction of professional development for health library staff across England. It was a good opportunity to work efficiently with others towards a common goal by sharing ideas and responsibilities.
My wonderful project team

The programme has brought to the forefront of my mind that leading is not just about managing people but also being productive, improving one's self, reflecting on what you learn, and most of all contributing to the wider profession. It has afforded me the opportunity to foster lasting relationships with colleagues from various geographical locations. I have learnt so much and gained more confidence in my own leadership abilities. I have finally turned to the PKSB to identify gaps in my skill set, consider future career prospects and I also consider it a useful tool when completing my Revalidation.

With the support, understanding and encouragement of my project team and our facilitator, Jo Alcock, I was able to pursue a different role and move cities with a one and seven year old during the course of the programme. I hope this post goes some way in demystifying perceptions of what is expected of participants. Whatever your situation, I strongly recommend it as a positive career move. Whether you are wondering if you are suitably qualified or you have pressing family commitments, my advice is to apply.