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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

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Introduction to Health Services Research : A Self-Study Course

Module 7: Librarians' Role in Health Services Research (Page 7 of 12)

The Education and Training of Health Sciences Librarians (NLM)

Acknowledging the role of the National Library of Medicine, MLA called on NLM to convene a panel on health sciences librarianship education.

Snapshot of Education and Training of Health Sciences Librarians. This image will open in a new window. Close the new window to return here.

In response, the National Library of Medicine organized a Planning Panel on the Education and Training of Health Sciences Librarians and published The Education and Training of Health Sciences Librarians in 1995 to:

  • assure that society benefits from the skills of health sciences librarians; and persons who choose health sciences librarianship will be properly educated and trained, and that they have opportunity to engage in the most important work concerning information and health care (National Library of Medicine, 1995)

The Panel noted the extremely rapid changes occurring in health care:

  • changes in the organization of health care delivery from large tertiary care centers to more community based networks
  • the sophistication of information technology to deliver information and education
  • the development of new information products and providers
  • demands for more consumer health education, and
  • the need to organize different types of data, such as patient-based information, aggregate data, and knowledge-based information.

National Library of Medicine's Planning Panel on the Education and Training of Health Sciences Librarians noted the extremely rapid changes occurring in health care.

One major area of expansion in health research is the study of health systems organizations, staffing, financing, utilization, evaluation of health services, outcomes research, and clinical practice guideline development.

The Long Range Plan lists several goals:

Goal 1.1: Prepare for the new forms of information, new users, and new practice patterns that may be required for health sciences librarianship. Health sciences librarians should foster partnerships with other information professionals in their institutions and expand their roles in health services research ... Page 1.

and this goal:

  • Health sciences librarians should become familiar with information resources related to health services research ... Page 8

Discussion Questions

  1. This document enforces the notion that librarians need to keep up to date with changes in the health care system and health services research. How do you keep up with changes in health care? In new information resources related to health services research? How does the National Library of Medicine help keep you informed of changes in health services research and system change?
  2. The Education and Training of Health Sciences Librarians document lists a sample library and information science curriculum in Appendix 5. This document is now ten years old. Can you think of any additions to the list of courses that might be useful for librarians serving health services researchers or is the list of coursework still relevant?
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