Exploding the Knowledge of NHS Wales Staff!

The NHS Wales Library and Knowledge Service (NHSWLKS) is a partnership of NHS Wales and Cardiff University health libraries. Within this partnership we have various groups working together on areas such as marketing, events and training. The NHS Wales e-Library for Health manages the digital resources within Wales for NHS staff and other authorised users.

In December of 2019, the NHS Wales Library and Knowledge Service training group created a lesson plan with accompanying slides to deliver a literature searching training session. The initial plan was for each of the group members to deliver face to face training within their own respective Health Board’s throughout the course of 2020. The training materials were uploaded to the national website for other health librarians across Wales to use and if necessary amend for their own purposes. It was hoped that in doing so we would take a consistent approach to information skills training across NHS Wales.

As things quickly changed with the outset of the pandemic the face to face training to groups of healthcare professionals was no longer possible. However, with the rollout of Microsoft Teams across NHS Wales an opportunity arose to deliver the training virtually. We recruited two more Librarians to our team and set about discussing how we could move our training online, adapting the interactive elements and promoting the sessions to all NHS Wales staff. The original literature searching lesson plan had contained lots of interactive elements where participants would be encouraged to complete activities to support their learning. As a group we were keen to ensure that the interactive elements were not discarded from the session. With the support of the NHS Wales e-Library we developed learning activities using Microsoft Forms that could then be incorporated into the training sessions. During the sessions we posted links to multiple choice questions regarding effective literature searching techniques in Microsoft Forms.

We planned to deliver three training sessions that were freely available to all NHS Wales staff and students. It was decided to hold a session each month throughout October, November and December to coincide with the start of the academic year. The times of the sessions were also staggered with morning, afternoon and evening sessions advertised to accommodate different working patterns and to maximise attendance. 

Example of training slide used during session.

In addition to a lead trainer we decided that for large groups we would need more than one trainer to be able to manage the training and therefore we also had the role of facilitator. The two main functions of this role were to introduce the webinar and answer any questions that appeared in the chat box or highlight them to the lead trainer. We also factored in that this facilitator role would be a back-up in case of technical difficulties for the lead trainer.

The NHS Wales e-Library for Health provided the coordination of the webinars and the engagement campaign. The campaign focused on two key areas: raising awareness of the training provided by NHSWLKS and creating e-resources that can be reused. First, three meetings were created on MS Teams, and the e-Library, as organiser of the meetings agreed to provide the “house-keeping” of the webinars. We created a route for registration on a free platform called Tocyn.Cymru, which is an online platform that can be used to promote events. This allowed all authorised users to be able to register in the public domain. All those registered were then added to the meeting invitation.

Tocyn.Cymru is an online platform for promoting events in Wales.

To promote the event and a route to registration, a digital poster series was generated. These could also be printed off and emailed to users as well as shared through social media. We found that some preferred to email their own library service, or email the NHS Wales e-Library directly.

Digital Posters were used to promote the events

To promote the event and a route to registration, a digital poster series was generated. These could also be printed off and emailed to users as well as shared through social media. We found that some preferred to email their own library service, or email the NHS Wales e-Library directly. We also created a short video series, which we called Exploring Evidence: miniseries for literature searching, which can be accessed through the e-Library website.  The training group worked together to help address in depth some of the topics that are covered in literature searching sessions. These were used to help advertise the events, but also to provide a focused look on topics such as Boolean searching and MeSH headings.

We also produced a two-episode podcast on Health Care Librarians in NHS Wales. The podcast was published on the NHS Wales Informatics Service podcast series, Digital Healthcare Wales, which the NHS Wales e-Library publishes on their website. The podcasts, the mini-series, and the posters all helped to promote and raise awareness of the training opportunities towards the launch of the webinars.


Podcast: Digital Healthcare Wales podcast series can be found in the Common Room area of NHS Wales e-Library for Health

So far we have delivered two of our webinars to a total of 81 attendees. There are a number of benefits that we can highlight already:

  • Generation of training material that is relevant to all users within NHS Wales
  • Making our library training available to NHS Wales staff who might find it difficult to come to training sessions in the library e.g. community staff
  • Improving our own skills in leading webinars and online training
  • Saving the cost of travel expenses to deliver or receive training
  • Enabling library staff from all across Wales to co-operate together in the delivery of training

We will be reviewing the feedback that we receive from the webinar attendees, but for now we’ll just share this feedback from a Speech and Language Therapist who joined one of our sessions:

“This was one of the best webinars I have attended.  Really professional.  Excellent organisation.  Well paced.  Informative and easy to follow.”

A fantastic start and we intend to continue with the provision of these webinars.

Pauline Goodlad, Librarian, John Spalding Library

Katrina Hall, Lead Library & Knowledge Services Manager, Glangwili General Hospital.

Rebecca Meyrick, e-Library Support Officer, NHS Wales e-Library for Health.

Angharad Simpson, Librarian, Ysbyty Gwynedd. 

Jodie Walker, Librarian, Princess of Wales Hospital.

Rhys Whelan, Library & Knowledge Services Manager, Morriston Hospital.

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