November 2012: Sarah Thompson, Clinical Librarian, NHS Direct

Sarah Thompson, Clinical Librarian, NHS Direct

Sarah Thompson, Clinical Librarian, NHS Direct

I work as part of the Clinical Library team at NHS Direct, together we develop, maintain and manage an up-to-date library and health information service and provide relevant training to staff in the use of resources. I have recently become more involved with the clinical team to support the development of clinical content for NHS Direct by undertaking clinical literature research into designated topics, and suggesting appropriate content for relevant self-care information.

Over the years I have made efforts to make contacts with others in the health information profession outside of NHS Direct to maintain professional awareness. As a result of this I now sit on various committees and groups working to raise awareness of consumer health information and participate in the development and promotion of quality processes and standards. I also regularly deliver talks on patient health information at various events including Health Libraries Group Conferences, SHALL workshops, CILIP and PiF events.

I am currently acting as Chair for the CILIP group Libraries for Nursing (LfN), which is a subject group of the Health Libraries Group (HLG). On this committee I manage the activities of LfN and ensure we are working to the best of our abilities to provide a service for those who work in a library and information setting specifically for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals. I am also the study day coordinator for this committee and design and coordinate events such as “Tried and Tested Mobile Technologies: Find out what’s worth the effort in your Library” and “Information Literacy in Healthcare”. The next study day on 23rd November is focused on “Marketing your library with limited time and a limited budget”.

I represent Libraries for Nursing on the main Health Libraries Group committee, a UK based network of individuals working in or professionally interested in health and social care information, and sit on the CPD panel of this committee. Here I work as part of a team to develop CPD opportunities for HLG members, including upcoming training days such as negotiating skills and training skills and developing e-learning opportunities via the HLG website.

In February 2012, I was offered the opportunity to take on the role of PiF regional coordinator. This role involves roughly an hour a week of my time, during which I offer support to those in the Yorkshire and the Humber region to find resources, organisations or other PiF members in the area. I also offer support in any way I can with consumer health information issues. In June we held an event for PiF members in York exploring design in health information, which was well attended and received great feedback.

The final group which I belong to is the SHALL (Strategic Health Authority library leads) Consumer Health Information Group. Here I represent the Yorkshire region and NHS Direct to help raise awareness of consumer health information; to encourage joined up working, information sharing and networking; and to minimize duplication in the area of consumer health information.

On a day to day basis my role involves providing support to health information advisors in finding appropriate information resources to respond to enquiries. Recently this has involved training in the use of ebooks having made the transition from hard copy to electronic books. I also work on various projects, the current one being an update to a systematic review, which is a very interesting piece of work exploring the effects of telephone consultation and triage in out-of-hours care.