A trip to the coast

Slightly ahead of the crowd once again I went to Brighton last week to visit the library services at Royal Sussex County Hospital.

I was keen to visit this service as they operate across the NHS and Higher Education so there are similarities to my responsibilities.  They are also something of a powerhouse in terms of clinical librarianship and their work on current awareness.

A major difference is that the medical school library service is run from within the NHS Trust set up.  The Head of Service reports to the Director of Education and Knowledge (a multiprofessional structure has been created) who was previously the Director of Medical Education.

Brighton and Sussex Medical School is a partnership between the two universities and Brighton and Sussex Universty Hospitals NHS Trust.  The student cohort is much smaller than our medical school which sounds great in terms of student experience.  They have found some elegant ways to smooth the issues of needing to have multiple network logins with harmonized usernames for the universities and a free standing BSMS email system. An open source discovery layer is used to allow searching across the three LMS in use.

Resource purchasing is conducted in partnership and Trust OpenAthens is used for authentication from the outset.

Wifi appears to be challenging in similar ways to at many NHS organisations. The availability of Eduroam simplifies some things but it is not widespread in the Trust buildings.

Training is conducted jointly with two thirds of attendees undergraduates.  The shared nature of resources supports this.  A very popular course they have added recently is around reflective writing for nurses preparing for revalidation.  This looks like something we should investigate offering with others in the room having to add multiple sessions of this.

It was great to hear from Tom Roper about the work of the Clinical Librarian team.  I was interested to learn that an early experiment with this had been conducted by Jean Farmer as the Will’s Librarian at Guy’s – I am looking into this history further as I suspect it is little remembered locally.  The take away for me was quite how slow it is to get these services off the ground and embedded.  Any move in this direction must be prepared to be patient.

I had heard a fair bit about KnowledgeShare at various other events but it was good to hear more about it in use and see the various ins and outs.  I would love to have something of this kind for our users but the impact of the additional work around registration would be significant.

Always fun to go to the seaside.