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.