Library users in healthcare need to be able to search the evidence base using databases provided through the NHS Core Content scheme, which a national purchasing programme of core resources identified as essential for NHS staff. Databases of medical literature are available to search, as well as point of care decision support systems, and a selection of full text journals. Many of these resources can be accessed via the NHS Evidence site.
Library users need support in using the databases to access the evidence, and health libraries offer training sessions in order to get the best from these, while also offering a service to save the time of busy clinical staff in providing mediated literature search results.
Nationally, electronic learning is available for healthcare staff to make best use of the NICE Healthcare Databases Advanced Search (HDAS), which was developed with NHS Health Education England.
Clinicians may also need assistance in reading and appraising the literature available to them, and libraries can provide training on ‘critical appraisal’ and research methodologies.
Health literacy (of the public and patients) is increasingly important, and the Knowledge for Healthcare strategy emphasises this also. Programmes are being developed to train healthcare staff in understanding the information needs of patients and the public.
Many NHS staff are embarking on programmes of learning and continuing lifelong learning as a part of their career, and look to the library service provided by their organisation to complement the library service they receive during the course of their studies. Some are returning to learning after a break since qualifying in their chosen professions and require refresher training in using electronic resources effectively.