Program Session

5 - New Roles for Australian Clinical Librarians in Developing and Delivering an Evidence-Based Practice Program for Undergraduate Clinical Science Students

Sunday, May 28
4:05 PM - 4:20 PM
Room: 615

Objectives: To develop, implement and evaluate the first stage of a spiral evidence-based practice (EBP) curriculum that is embedded into an undergraduate clinical science program. Librarian-created online modules including a virtual game were piloted to evaluate their role in delivering innovative, blended learning activities. The role of a Library-Faculty collaboration in developing an EBP curriculum for undergraduate students was also assessed.

Methods: Non-academic clinical librarians were appointed as Faculty tutors and conveners to work with clinicians in developing, delivering and assessing an EBP curriculum for undergraduate students. Steps of the evidence cycle (ask, acquire, appraise) became modules of a spiral curriculum where learning was successively reinforced and extended during the two-year program. Clinical librarians took active roles in planning, tutoring and assessing student learning. Blended learning activities, linked to programmatic learning outcomes, underpinned the curriculum. Librarians developed ClinWise, an interactive, modular program to facilitate information literacy (IL) skills acquisition within a clinical context. An online game, Mission to Mars, was created to reinforce EBP understanding using a fictional clinical scenario and an evidence pyramid. The purpose of these self-paced learning activities was to stimulate and evaluate students’ curiosity and engagement with the principles and applications of EBP within an embedded curriculum.

Results: Evaluation of learning took place through student self-assessment, forum postings and tutorial feedback. An assessment task required the preparation of an annotated bibliography to assess knowledge of study design, synthesis of evidence and academic writing skills. Students also completed EBP quizzes, searches, and online learning activities. Reflective forum postings on their experience of the Mars game and ClinWise modules indicated an awareness of the importance of EBP knowledge in increasing research skills within clinical and scientific disciplines. Librarian and Faculty evaluation reinforced the librarians’ role in creating meaningful learning experiences that increase students’ understanding of basic EBP concepts. 

Conclusion: The utilization of current learning theory and innovative approaches to EBP curriculum development by a Librarian-clinician team promotes engagement and learning among this student cohort. Blended, self-paced learning activities within a spiral curriculum provided most students with challenging and enjoyable experiences. The Library-Faculty collaboration underpinning this program not only promotes student learning of IL and EBP, but demonstrates the vital role for librarians in contributing to Faculty curriculum development, delivery and evaluation.

Keywords: evidence-based practice undergraduate education curriculum development blended learning clinical librarian

Program Session

Mary Simons

Clinical Librarian
Macquarie University Library
Macquarie University
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Mary Simons (MAppSc)is a Clinical Librarian at Macquarie University Library in Sydney, Australia where she provides information and research support to health professionals within the University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the University Hospital. Mary also has an academic appointment as lecturer in the Faculty where, with her colleague neurosurgeon Dr Andrew Davidson, she develops and delivers evidence-based practice programs across the spectrum of medical training, from pre-medicine to postgraduate training. They have presented at national and international conferences and published papers on evidence-based practice education. In 2016 they won a University Learning & Teaching award for their EBP programs.


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Andrew Davidson

Macquarie University
North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia

Dr Davidson is a neurosurgeon at Macquarie University Hospital and is Head of Neurosurgery at Nepean Hospital in Sydney, Australia. His clinical interests include the multidisciplinary management of brain tumours, pituitary and skull base surgery and cerebrovascular surgery. Dr Davidson is a Senior Lecturer with the newly-established Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Macquarie University. He co-ordinates a program of academic meetings for neurosurgeons and scholars at Macquarie University Hospital, and, with the Clinical Librarian, designs and runs the Evidence-Based Practice units of study at Macquarie University.


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5 - New Roles for Australian Clinical Librarians in Developing and Delivering an Evidence-Based Practice Program for Undergraduate Clinical Science Students

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