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Nursing is a part of the healthcare team. Evidence exists regarding the contribution of nursing to patients’ wellness. In addition, the literature indicates that nurses should work closely with other healthcare members, especially doctors, physiotherapists and social workers, to provide quality health care (Bakalis et al. 2003). However, there is a paucity of research papers regarding the contribution of the clinical librarian to healthcare team and the inter-relationship between them. Some countries do not, or cannot, employ a clinical librarian. This paper (Tod et al. 2007) gives the opportunity for nurse researchers, in other countries, to develop the concept of a clinical librarian. These are several reasons why this paper is very interesting and ‘productive’.

In addition, it opens a new ‘gate’ for collaboration between nurses and librarians. A collaboration, as author's support, that nurses could benefit in several ways. More precisely, because of shortage of nursing staff and heavy workload in clinical practice, nurses have limited, or no, time to search the literature for best practice evidence. Clinical librarians can enhance nurses with useful electronical addresses and support them technically. However, to achieve this, clinical librarians need to have basic knowledge about the nursing profession (especially knowledge for nurse specialisation) to use the ‘right’ key words and thus produce useful information. Furthermore, if the clinical librarian is a member of the ward team, it will ‘force’ nurses to spend more time on libraries. Finally, nurses are usually dealing with different aspects of care. They may need more information regarding other disciplines such as medicine and psychology, and thus, the clinical librarian could be used as a source.

The study is part of a larger project that seeks to implement and evaluate the role of the clinical librarian. The paper is well structured and provides useful information that can be used to all nurses. It provides advantages for such collaboration and also the problems for the implementation of the role. The authors used a qualitative approach to explore the role of the clinical librarian. Although the authors provide the information for the six consultation events, they do not point out how they choose the participants. What were the criteria for choosing the sample? In addition, limitations of the study should be mentioned.

The authors highlight two main reasons that the proposed role has not been used: funding and the contract of employment (part-time). It seems that funding can be the main reason that the proposed role will not be developed in other countries. Although the role of the clinical librarian has been established in the USA since 1971, this has not been developed adequately in other countries, especially European countries. Truly, the management in heath care worldwide has tried to reduce the cost and, at the same time, to improve the quality of patient care. It seems contradictory but this is a reality in healthcare scene. Thus, because of limited financial resources, the role of the clinical librarian seems difficult to be developed.

On the other hand, the literature indicates the benefits of evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice can predict the course of events in the treatment of patients with similar problems (Humphris 1998), describe different aspects of the patient condition and the care to be given (Duff et al. 1996) and finally healthcare professionals need to base their practice on research (Department of Health 2001). Many hospitals, worldwide, have implemented clinical guidelines and protocols and the results were positive (Johnson 1997). Consequently, the role of the clinical librarian, as authors point out, needs to be established and clinical managers need to find the financial resources for the development of this role.

References

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  2. References
  • Bakalis N, Bowman G & Porock D (2003) Decision making in Greek and English registered nurses in coronary care units. International Journal of Nursing Studies 40, 749760.
  • Department of Health (2001) Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care. The Stationery Office, London.
  • Duff L, Kitson A, Seers K & Humphris D (1996) Clinical guidelines: an introduction to their development and implementation. Journal of Advanced Nursing 23, 887895.
  • Humphris D (1998) Clinical guidelines: an industry for growth. Nursing Times 90, 4648.
  • Johnson S (1997) Pathways of Care. Blackwell Science, Oxford.
  • Tod A, Bond B, Leonard N, Gilsenan I & Palfreyman S (2007) Exploring the contribution of the Clinical Librarian to facilitating evidence-based nursing. Journal of Clinical Nursing 16, 621629.