Thursday, September 26, 2019

Your Medical Library and Professional Journal Access: An Employee Benefit

keywords: research literacy, professional practice, employee benefits for healthcare professionals, workplace, new hospital employee

As A Hospital-Based Healthcare Professional, You Have Medical Library and Professional Journal Access as an Employee Benefit

Did you know? 
You can look up journal citations at your healthcare institution’s online library.

Today's mission: Learn how to access your healthcare facility’s library and how to request an article or journal related to your work

At the Hospital Practice Handbook Project, we encourage practitioners to cultivate mentor-relationships and practice research literacy.

Contributors: Megan Kingsley Gale, Helen Ye

CINAHL = the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Its focus is on nursing and allied health and has a broad range of topics. A product of EBSCO.
EBSCO = a private company that is the largest provider of research databases, e-journals, and more to libraries.
MedlinePlus = focus is on answering health questions. It is a service of the National Library of Medicine. Has information from the National Institutes of Health, other government agencies and health-related organizations.
National Cancer Institute = The National Cancer Institute is the U.S. federal government’s lead agency for cancer research.[i]
PubMed® = a government site. PubMed is a service through the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.[ii]

Hospital-based clinicians! Does your system or facility have one of these?
1.       Graduate studies department
2.       A teaching hospital or hosts graduate school residents
3.       A library

Did you know a common hospital employee benefit is access to healthcare journals?
If your workplace does not have #1-3 above, you likely still have access to an online professional journal databases like EBSCO, CINAHL, or PubMed through your work.
Learn About Your Facility’s Library Benefits
Whether you are a new employee or have been there a few years, if library access is news to you, here’s a basic outline to learn more.
(1)    Look up your local medical library. Take a visit at your next break and learn more about it, what journals they have, and ask the librarian about online access to journals and how to access it. Sometimes these libraries are also called "reference libraries". Or, if the library is large and at an academic center, you will want to talk to the reference librarian.
(2)    If you can’t find a medical library on your workplace map but you do have a graduate studies department, you probably have some version of a medical library. Start with the graduate studies department. You can call or email them or stop by on your break and casually ask them about their medical library or online access to journals.
(3)    If you are in a satellite clinic that is associated with a larger medical center, your medical library may be a long drive away. In that case, it is more likely you have easiest access to journals via an online access point.
a.      Ask your supervisor how to access your system’s medical library, stating you need to review some journal articles for work-related study.
b.     If your supervisor doesn’t know, ask the physicians in your team. Ask the physicians how they access journal articles for work-related study. If the physicians are buying all their own subscriptions (none through work or an academic medical library), ask your hospital workers’ union about this. It should be a common question.

Requesting Access to a Journal or Article Your Library Doesn’t Have
Keeping up on literature in your field
How reference libraries and medical libraries work
As a clinician, you can go to your library (physical or just online) and request they subscribe to a peer-reviewed journal(s) in your field. Or, if there is a specific article that the library doesn’t have access to and you only need that article, not the full journal access, request to order a copy of that specific item.  You will need the full citation and to give the reason for the request. Examples: “necessary for a presentation I am working on” or “directly related to my professional practice.”

Before making a request for a new item, verify your item isn't accessible
Check to see if they (the library or your online reference system, depending on how your workplace is organized) already have a subscription to the journal you want. Verify what type of subscription it is. For example, subscription types may be physical, electronic, or both.

If they have it, learn how you can access it from work. Is it online through your web browser? Do you need to set up a username/account for access? Do you log in to a specific employee site? Or do you contact your library and order a print copy or pdf to be sent to you? 

If they don’t have access, you can request it.

If your clinical work is part of an academic institution, sometimes the medical library is connected to the medical school or the graduate studies building while your clinical space may be a long distance from the physical building. In that case, some institutions will do a modified “interlibrary loan” for a physical item request or (more likely) you will have electronic access.

"At Madigan Army Medical Center, I could go down the library, which was next to the graduate studies department, and review print journals and check some types of books or journals out. At my workspace, I had access through my computer to the library, a login, and the databases of journals the library subscribed to. I could also request journal access for journals in my field, as an employee benefit. It was up to the library’s process to decide if that subscription was electronic-only or electronic and print, etc.
"At Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, I could go to the library that had books and journals and many other items for perusal or check out. I could also work with the librarian to request items not available at that location or any other research help I may need." -Megan Kingsley Gale, MSAOM
 At the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), there are multiple library locations, as well as online access to journals.  The medical librarians are very helpful in providing support for specific requests you may have.  As a clinician you may be able to request full articles online through our access points with a username and password. If you are new to the [UCSF healthcare system] library, there are several classes to orient you to its resources and how to use them. These classes are extremely helpful and specific times and locations are posted.  Some classes are walk-ins, while others require registration ahead of time.  The library has its own mailing list, so you may also sign-up for this to receive its newsletter with updates of services and classes.” -Helen Ye, LAc, clinician at UCSF


  • You and your colleagues get access to it as an employee benefit
  • Easier to find references for your presentations or stay updated in current evidence-based practices in your field
  • Easier to quote citations and find the full article
  • Easier to share favorite articles with your hospital sponsors/advocates in your facility who also have access

Peer-reviewed journals unique to integrative health programs in hospitals

Research Resource Websites & Journals
For more on the topic of research
Research Review posts
More about Professional Practice and Basics of Being a Healthcare Professional Employee

[i] The National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine coordinates and enhances the National Cancer Institute’s activities in research on complementary health approaches. Contact information is 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)

[ii] It contains publication information and brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. NCCIH has a guidance article on tips for searching PubMed® for articles on integrative health, “How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed”.

Did you find this information useful or interesting?
You can request a pdf copy of this blogpost via the website for the cost of a cup of coffee. All proceeds go toward basic operating costs to keep this HH Project work going. Thank you.

Subscribe to our email list for the latest updates and follow us on the public Facebook Page.

You can support this community-wisdom-sharing work:
 buy me a coffee or sponsor a small Project via our website.  Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments clean and related to the post. Inappropriate comments will be deleted.