Clinical Evidence Based Information Specialist Part IV

Natasha S. den Dekker
6 min readMar 25, 2019


This week has been rife with wonderful (tiring) experiences both at work and outside of work (but still kinda work related) BUT I thought I would focus on the work-related things for this post. Mainly because they add an additional facet to my work as Clinical Evidence Based Information Specialist. So what did I do? WARD ROUNDS, JOURNAL CLUBS Oh my! As anyone who has worked in a health library may be able to testify to — the act of ‘embedding yourself’ in a department is actually quite tricky. Mainly because everyone is normally so busy and the last thing anyone is going to do at the end of a long day instead of writing up case notes, is to answer emails right? However in a stroke of luck, I had a string of referrals from the Infectious Diseases department (one of my faves) and I took a punt and emailed the consultant and said that maybe we should try for a more formal arrangement.


The consultant not only emailed me back, he actually popped into our office to see me, with a request that myself and any of the team who were available to join in on Ward Rounds the next day! YEEES!! This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. Thing is though, when we rocked up at 8:55am the next day, it turned out that Ward Rounds were the day after, and instead, we got asked if we fancied popping along to a journal club. Clearly our answer was YES!! At this point, I was very grateful for the fact that we had brought tablets instead of laptops and/or notebooks as it meant that we looked more professional. As well as this, it was less to carry (less infections etc etc). I should add, that the journal club included consultants from Infectious Diseases and Microbiology — so a nice pool of people that we had never met before. But, what is ‘journal club’?

Journal Club

This is where different departments will have everyone read an article and critically appraise it. They may use the CASP (Critical Skills Appraisal Programme) method which is what I’ve been taught to use, or they may use something more specific to their needs. It turned out, that one of trainees did use the CASP method which was really helpful for myself and my colleague as it meant that we already kinda knew what the trainee would be talking about. We hadn’t read the article beforehand, but were given a copy during the session. Thanks to combination of previous journal club training and knowing some of the language from the referrals I had done, this session didn’t go completely over my head. It was one of the most educational experiences I’ve had to date (outside of training on the job), seeing how consultants, clinical scientists and trainees interact with each other and the questions they have and the way they approach those questions has meant that I have more context for the way that my job lands. It was an excellent experience and while it exposed the fact that I really needs to gets my stats training planned in (which I have done!) it also highlighted how far I’ve come in the past 7 months. It’s also important to note that my colleague and I were also ready to present on what we did, why it’s useful and why people should use the service as well. (I maintain that everyone in a LKS should be able to do this, for at least 5 mins at the drop of the hat).

We walked away from that meeting with a lot more work, a lot of emails AND I sneakily took a picture of the meetings list so we now know when the next journal clubs will be running so we can join as well. It also meant that we were a bit more at ease with the consultants which put us in a good place for….

Ward Rounds

I had no idea what to expect from these. We turned up the next day at 8:55am (again!) wearing comfortable shoes, t-shirts, hair tied-up and our fobs on those ski-pass extender things. We were walking around from about 9am — 1045am and that was because we cut one short because we realised that our presence was becoming a bit superfluous and made an exit. This was another incredible experience — again we took our tablets, and more so than the day before, they proved invaluable for looking things up. I had tried to preempt things a bit by downloading the NICE Guidelies app, Clinical Key and having shortcuts to my the library site as well as making sure that my Athens log-in was already good to go. I already had a notes tab open as well as well as one those spongy pens clipped to my pass <- for some reason I find it quicker to ‘type’ with one of these than with my fingers when using a tablet. But I digress, what you should take away from this blurb is that I wanted to be prepared, I fully own up to not knowing all the lingo and jargon that may get spoken in front of me. But being able to look stuff up on the fly? Yup I can do that.

Out first stop were a few patients with conditions that fell under infectious diseases. The consultant was excellent and allowed us to communicate with the patient and clearly outlined the conditions for us. (Yes I am CRB cleared). I ended up having to look up a few things via request and also for own information to understand the acronyms being used. We saw a total of 3 patients with this consultant before he passed us on to another consultant (while making requests for more work and sent us on our way. We then followed another consultant around who was focusing on cases on endocarditis. Again, really illuminating and my colleague and I spent a fair portion of time wondering why there are more social care workers in a hospital to help with the model of integrated care within communities (I suppose that that’s a question for another time). I won’t lie, we saw some pretty sad things, and heard some sad diagnoses. And potentially this part of the job may not be to everyone’s taste. My colleague is tied to the Ophthalmology department and she gets some equally gory referrals.

One of the best parts of being part of Ward Rounds is that we met more consultants who were actually really happy to see us?! OH SO YOU’RE THE NEW TEAM. CAN YOU HELP ME WITH…. So we walked away with even more work. Brilliant. But also exactly what we should be doing. Off the back this, we were also invited to an MDT (multi-disciplinary-team) meeting which I’m very excited to attend. Also #morework.

Directly helping with patient care is one of the core functions of my role. And I know I’ve already said but having more context enables me to perform more effective searches — because I have a clearer idea of what’s needed in that particular patient’s case. It was also just really eye-opening to see what actually happens in real time when consultants are with patients. Because up until this point my only references have been House and Hart of Dixie. Clearly not very accurate. In terms of my general job and how this will carry me forward — it’s being able to create more targeting training, building those relationships into those departments and raising awareness of what myself and the team can offer. It does mean I need to up my wardrobe game (slogan t-shirts are not clinically appropriate) :p

Originally published at on March 25, 2019.



Natasha S. den Dekker

User researcher, Ex-Librarian. Microsoft, Oxfam, NHS. Civica. Hyperlearning AI, Lexis Nexis exercise. Probably drumming, lifting weights or planning a holiday.