by Mary Beth Schell, AHEC Digital Library Director

PLEASE NOTE: Greensboro AHEC is now known as Piedmont AHEC. The organization’s name changed on February 1, 2023.

Charlotte AHEC is now known as South Piedmont AHEC. The organization’s name changed on June 5, 2023.

ahec digital library journal clubsDid you know that AHEC librarians can set up and manage online journal clubs for groups of health professionals?

Journal clubs are most popular with groups of nurses, who use them for continuing education. A group leader selects a set of articles, and their librarian works with AHEC Digital Library Director Mary Beth Schell to post the articles in a group on the ADL so that all can see and access the articles seamlessly.

Karen Martinez, Northwest AHEC librarian at Catawba Valley Medical Center, asked us to create a blog so they could easily obtain articles in the American Journal of Nursing’s Step by Step series by Mary Ellen Boznic, et al. The series covers the implementation of evidence-based practices in hospitals. Because each article in the series appears in a different issue, pulling the content together into one collection provides a level of convenience that frees time for more pressing work. The nurse educators are using these articles as teaching tools, and they have expressed appreciation for the ability to reorder the journals to match their outlines.

The MACRA & MIPS guides, MAHEC’s ob/gyn residency blog, South East AHEC’s graduate medical education blog, and the Nash nursing blog are examples of how the ADL can help completely build content around specific topics or subjects. The MACRA & MIPS guides, new to us this year, are an expansion of materials targeted towards NC AHEC’s practice support service line.

The Nash blog is an example of the synergy and resources that AHEC librarians and the ADL can share. Nash library staff work in close collaboration with the Nurse Education Department. Once they select their journals, they send the citation to ADL staff for placement in their ADL journal club space. ADL staff also work closely with Nash library staff and Nash nursing education staff to determine the categories in which they would like the articles to be placed. This is truly a virtual team and a great example of the strength of the AHEC Digital Library as a community partner. As of the 2017-18 fiscal year, Charlotte AHEC has 52 journal clubs, and MAHEC’s residency programs have four resource collections (ob/gyn, family medicine, psychiatry, and scholarly communications). South East AHEC’s library offers a journal club for their GME department, and Nash Healthcare in Rocky Mount has an active journal club. We’ve also created guides to meet the needs of specific topics.

WakeMed Health and Hospitals and First Health have chosen a different path. Rather than having a blog homepage, or housed journal club, the URLs for articles are sent to IT staff for placement in their learning management system.

ADL journal clubs originated at Charlotte AHEC and gradually spread throughout the state by word of mouth and advertisements at conferences. There are currently 62 journal clubs, plus the work that Wake AHEC, Greensboro AHEC, and First Health conduct outside of the ADL portal. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology readings posted for Maintenance of Certification are also housed in the AHEC Digital Library and fit the definition of a journal club.

AHEC librarians and AHEC Digital Library staff are always looking for opportunities to support journal clubs. There are a variety of formats for these collections—we like to believe there is some format that will work for every club request. Talk to your local librarian or AHEC Digital Library staff to begin creating your club today.