Evidence-based information-seeking skills of junior doctors entering the workforce: an evaluation of the impact of information literacy training during pre-clinical years

Authors

  • Rowena Cullen,

    1. Professor, School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
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  • Megan Clark,

    1. Librarian, Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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  • Rachel Esson

    1. Head of Research and Learning, Library, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
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    • At the time of the study Rachel Esson was Medical Librarian at the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.


Rowena Cullen, Professor, School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6024, New Zealand. E-mail: rowena.cullen@vuw.ac.nz

Abstract

Objectives:  To investigate the extent to which junior doctors in their first clinical positions retained information literacy skills taught as part of their undergraduate education.

Method:  Participants drawn from different training cohorts were interviewed about their recall of the instruction they had received, and their confidence in retrieving and evaluating information for clinical decision making. They completed a search based on a scenario related to their speciality. Their self-assessment of their competency in conducting and evaluating a search was compared with an evaluation of their skills by an experienced observer.

Results:  Most participants recalled the training they received but had not retained high-level search skills, and lacked skills in identifying and applying best evidence. There was no apparent link between the type of training given and subsequent skill level. Those whose postgraduate education required these skills were more successful in retrieving and appraising information.

Conclusion:  Commitment to evidence-based medicine from clinicians at all levels in the profession is needed to increase the information seeking skills of clinicians entering the work force.

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