Training needs analysis of healthcare library staff, undertaken for South Yorkshire Workforce Development Confederation

Christine Urquhart, Jane Durbin, Siân Spink

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Executive summary Aims and objectives The aims and objectives of the training needs analysis were to inform the planning and implementation of training strategies for healthcare library staff in the South Yorkshire Workforce Development Confederation by: · identifying the training and development needs of staff, using a matrix of technical/specialist, interpersonal skills and underpinning knowledge · identifying future training needs · developing an options appraisal, taking into account comparative costs of various delivery methods. Current skills needs Professional staff currently require enhanced skills in: · Design and evaluation of training · Financial management, quantitative data analysis methods, statistics · Principles of web design and intranet management Paraprofessional staff currently require enhanced skills in · Cataloguing and classifying · Preparation of promotional material (Section 4.2) Future skills needs Synthesising the various predictions, library managers and professional specialists should improve their skills in: · Strategic management of a virtual knowledge service · Knowledge management (to support clinical governance) · E-learning, educational principles (to support user training, CPD) · Leadership and interpersonal skills (to support service development, innovation) · (Sections 4.3-4.5) Perceptions of competence indicate that current confidence in team working needs to extend to bidding for, and managing, more innovative, cross-departmental projects. Similarly, current expertise in cataloguing needs to be transferred to knowledge taxonomies for intranets. Skills in print-based information presentation need to extend to electronic presentation and summarisation for different audiences. Paraprofessional staff need to upgrade skills in a wide range of areas if they are to supervise or manage the library when the librarian is doing outreach work. (Section 4.6) Activity logs conducted for the South Yorkshire survey indicated that librarians are probably not gaining enough practice in leadership skills. (Section 4.8) National and international developments in health informatics for library staff For the health sector, a recent report to CILIP emphasises the emergence of new specialist roles, noting that advancement should be via increased specialism, not merely via the management route (Section 2.6.1). In North America the development of the ‘informationist’ role reflects similar concerns to upgrade specialist skills (Section 2.6.3). Training needs analyses since 1995 in the UK indicate that health librarians, like other librarians, need to enhance strategic management and leadership skills, research skills and quantitative analysis, teaching skills, information retrieval, and ICT skills (Sections 2.5, 2.6.4 2.6.8). Policy and operational changes require health library staff to have improved ICT skills (for themselves, and to support others), and skills and knowledge to provide services to new user groups in the community, in social care and to support the provision of information to patients and the public (Sections 2.2.3, 2.3.1, 5.2) There are several groups of health informatics staff in the NHS, and library staff mostly fit into the ‘knowledge management’ group. The development of job profiles, against the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework, using the revised job evaluation scheme is currently underway (Sections 2.2, 2.4). Professional accreditation and registration via UKCHIP is on the horizon. (Section 2.6.2) Training options For training, health library staff prefer shorter (half-day) or one-day courses, with a high proportion of interactive activity. The costs of the main options for training depend on the extent to which external courses or in-house locally organised ‘study day/workshops’ are used. Heavy use of external courses, study days is less cost-effective, but requires little local organisation. More use of in-house, locally organised training can be tailored more easily to the range of expertise present, but requires more staff time locally. There is a huge difference, however, in the number of staff that can be trained. Locally organised courses provide four times the number of training opportunities, at a cost per ‘event’ under a third of the price of an external training course. (Sections 4.9, 5.3) A middle way option, with half-day and full-day events, plus some external training, could cater for the range of learning outcomes that might be desired. There should be good support after any training event, and it is recommended that coaching and/or mentoring schemes be established to ensure trainees get sufficient time to practise their new skills. Coaching is particularly important for the leadership skills. (Section 6)
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPrifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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