An Evaluation of a Collaborative Model for Preparing Evidence-Based Medicine Teachers

By Scherrer, Carol S.; Dorsch, Josephine L. et al. | Journal of the Medical Library Association, April 2006 | Go to article overview

An Evaluation of a Collaborative Model for Preparing Evidence-Based Medicine Teachers


Scherrer, Carol S., Dorsch, Josephine L., Weller, Ann C., Journal of the Medical Library Association


Purpose: The authors studied the effectiveness of a train-the-trainer collaboration model between librarians and medical faculty to instruct librarians and health professionals in teaching evidence-based medicine (EBM) principles.

Methods: A telephone survey was administered to graduates of an EBM course who agreed to participate in the study. They were asked if and how they taught EBM on returning to their institutions, if they felt competent to critically appraise an article, if their skill in searching PubMed improved, and if they collaborated with others in teaching EBM.

Results: Most respondents were librarians. The class was successful in that most taught EBM on return to their home institutions. Most initiated collaboration with health professionals. The goals of improving PubMed searching and achieving statistical competency had less success.

Conclusion: This model is effective in preparing librarians to teach EBM. Modeling and encouraging collaboration between librarians and health professionals were successful techniques. Librarians would like more instruction in statistical concepts and less in searching PubMed. Conclusions cannot be made for health professionals because of the low response rate from this group. As evidence-based health care continues to extend to other disciplines, librarians can position themselves to participate fully in the EBM educational process.

INTRODUCTION

Health sciences librarians have been involved in bringing research (or evidence) to the patient's bedside since Lamb introduced clinical librarianship in 1971. More recently, leaders in the field of health sciences librarianship have become aware of the need to teach evidence-based health care (EBHC) techniques and principles in the medical school curriculum for evidencebased medicine (EBM) to become a part of general practice.

In her 1997 editorial in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, Giuse explicitly urged readers to study the tenets of EBM and to become proactive in the clinical setting, with an equal voice on the health care team [1]. Librarians attending the annual meeting of the Medical Library Association (MLA) in Seattle that year could, in fact, attend a continuing education course McKibbon taught, "Evidence Based Medicine for Librarians: Panning for Gold."

One of the first reports of librarians being involved in a formal program in how to teach EBM principles was published in May 2000 in Academic Medicine. An EBM working group of internists and librarians under the auspices of the New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians began offering a course in 1996 for physicians and librarians "to learn the basic skills of EBM and to share experience about how these can best be taught, practiced, and disseminated" by forming a cadre of physician-librarian partnerships [2]. An evaluation of this model, published in 2003, showed significant changes in self-rated abilities to assess and teach article validity, with 28% training other faculty on returning to their home institutions. By the end of the class, 84% of internists felt able to teach statistical concepts such as absolute risk reduction, relative risk reduction, and number needed to treat, but only 30% to 50% of the librarians felt able to teach these concepts. The majority of the participants were "EBM novices," contrary to the expectations of the course planners [3]. The authors concluded that participation in a single class would not result in EBM being integrated into a residency training program but was an essential first step.

The "Rocky Mountain Evidence-Based Health Care Workshop," taught continually since 1999, was another attempt to develop a group of EBM instructors that included librarians as "fully acknowledged members of the faculty/tutor team" [4]. The class itself, with librarians included as faculty, was intended to serve as a model for how to teach EBM skills. The class developers also hoped "that when workshop participants return to their home institutions that they return determined to fully utilize the skills and services of their local librarians" [4]. …

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