Librarians and Nurses: Partnering for Patient Safety

img_1423_v2Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a systematic approach to health care where providers, including nurses, apply the best available evidence from scientific studies to make clinical decisions and promote patient safety.

In order to support and encourage the use of evidence in patient care, UPMC Shadyside convened the EBP Nursing Council, which celebrated its one year anniversary in February. The council includes one staff nurse from each inpatient and outpatient area; representatives from ancillary disciplines involved in direct patient care, such as respiratory and food and nutrition; four advisors; and an HSLS reference librarian.

The librarian’s main role on the Council is to train its members to locate the best relevant evidence through use of resources such as MEDLINE and CINAHL. This step in the EBP process is often the most challenging and intimidating, especially for nurses who have limited time and are often unfamiliar with online databases and literature searching.

Members of the EBP council view the librarian’s involvement as a critical component in its achievements, as demonstrated in the comments below:

“The EBP Council’s success is due in large part to the dedication and in-depth investment exhibited by our library system and more specifically, by our prized librarian, Melissa Ratajeski…As the EBP Council continues to evolve, it is assured that the interdisciplinary efforts between council members and the library (and our librarian) will continue to strengthen the foundation of an effective change-making force.”–Rachel Nechyba, RN and Chair EBP Council

“The assistance and expertise that has been provided to all of the members of the group (by the librarian) in navigating the challenging area of the article search has been invaluable. We have moved from a model of dependence, of “allowing the librarian to do it, to becoming very active consumers of the literature and students of the ‘search.’”–Denise Verosky, Director Nursing Education and Research and EBP Council advisor

HSLS librarians also sit on other EBP Nursing Councils throughout the UMPC system, including Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

If you would like assistance on locating evidence for patient care, please contact the Falk Library reference desk at 412-648-8796 or Ask A Librarian.

~ Jill Foust

Posted in the 2009 Issue