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Vital Pathways: Librarians' Magnet Contributions

Librarians’ Contribution to their Institutions’ Magnet Journey

Examples, Presentations, and Publications


Health sciences librarians are uniquely qualified by knowledge and skills to assist institutions on their Magnet journey. The following presentations and publications highlight librarians’ collaboration with nursing personnel. Members of the Medical Library Association‘s Hospital Libraries Section and Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section provided this document. Their institutions have either achieved Magnet status or are on the journey. The hospitals are large and small, urban and suburban. As one librarian at a Magnet facility stated, “Every hospital going for Magnet status NEEDS a library and a masters-degreed librarian if they are to demonstrate excellence. They need to have the expertise of a degreed professional librarian to rely on just as they rely on the skills of the advanced practice nurses on our staff. Hospitals hoping to become magnets--to attract and keep nurses and to exemplify the excellence in nursing--need to provide nurses with the knowledge resources essential to provide excellent care and to grow and develop as a nurse.”

Actual examples of nurse/librarian collaborations

1. A private, not-for-profit, urban hospital that has achieved Magnet Recognition:

  • The Clinical Librarian for Nursing attends progressive nursing rounds
  • The Clinical Librarian for Medicine attends medical rounds and responds to the needs of the doctors and nurses in our ICUs
  • The librarians support the work of Advanced Practice RNs and continuing education of nurses in Bachelor and Masters programs with mediated searches, teaching search skills, teaching Evidence Based Nursing Practice, and document delivery
  • The librarians provide just-in-time library orientations and teaching.
  • The librarians are actively involvement in curriculum development and as teaching faculty for the hospital’s Evidence-Based Nursing Practice Fellowship
  • The librarians support nursing research with teaching, literature searching and document delivery.

2. An urban health care system on the Magnet journey:

  • Librarians e stablished an online "survival kit" for nurses on the library web site. It includes all information about writing & publishing, links and tutorials for RefWorks, bibliographies for Certification Resources and other topics of interest to nurses, library request forms, tutorials for searching and more.
  • The librarians provide a Nursing Journal Watch current awareness service each month
  • The librarians routinely present workshops on using library resources more effectively. The service is so popular with nurses that they are writing an article on staff development and will include the librarian as co-author.

3. A private, not-for-profit health care system that has achieved Magnet Recognition:

  • Librarians are active participants in the Nursing Research Council subcommittee to promote nursing research
  • Librarians collaborate on the Nursing Research Journal Club to assist members in effectively analyzing research articles
  • Librarians assist the Nursing Research Council in developing an exciting presence on the hospital Intranet to promote research to staff nurses.

4. A private, not-for-profit urban hospital beginning their Magnet journey:

  • The librarian is an active member of the Nurse Practice Council
  • The librarian is a member of the subcommittee working on Force 9
  • As producer of the nursing newsletter, the librarian provided education and information to the nursing staff on the Forces of Magnetism.

5. A large, urban hospital that has achieved Magnet Recognition:

  • The librarians perform searches and identify articles to back up/assure that policies & procedures are accompanied by evidence
  • The librarians collaborated with a near by academic center to provide training for nurses at other system hospitals to learn how to search the literature for the best evidence.

6. A medium-sized urban hospital that has achieved Magnet Recognition:

  • Magnet surveyors interviewed the librarian because the staff nurses, randomly chosen for meals with the reviewers, talked about the great library services they receive
  • As a member of the Area Coordinating Team, a group made up of the project group leaders of the nursing units, the librarian teaches evidence-based health care concepts to the staff nurses.

7. A suburban community hospital that has achieved Magnet Recognition:

  • The librarian provides in-depth research to interdisciplinary teams reviewing nursing practice, updating policies, and doing research, all to improve patient care
  • The librarian has developed a print and electronic collection to support nursing practice in the continuous examination of options in patient care
  • The librarian provides Interlibrary Loan services to supplement the in-house collection.

8. A large, urban, not-for-profit health system that has achieved Magnet Recognition:

  • The librarian is an active member of the Nursing Research Council, supporting research conducted in support of proposed changes in hospital practice
  • The librarian supports nurses working on advanced degrees by providing literature searches and document delivery

9. A regional, not-for-profit health system that has been redesignated as a Magnet facility:

  • The librarians are actively involved in the Nursing Research Committee
  • The Magnet surveyor examined the collection and services that support nursing research and practice
  • During the survey the librarian was called upon to provide information relevant to the topics discussed during the interviews.
  • A not-for-profit community hospital that has achieved Magnet recognition:
  • The librarian created a Nursing Research Blog to communicate the nursing research activities of the hospital to staff. Communications may include, but are not restricted to, announcements of Nursing Grand Rounds, Nursing Journal Clubs, Nursing EBN classes, ongoing nursing research and relevant medical library announcements and news. The blog also serves as an open discussion forum for nurses and librarians interested in evidenced based nursing.

Example Presentations

American Nurses Credentialing Center Tenth National Magnet Conference, Denver, CO. October 6, 2006. SC304 - PICO's Peak: A Program for Staff Nurse. Liz Lemiska, BSN, RN, WOCN and Nancy Goodwin, MLS, Middlesex Hospital, Middletown, CT


The session was a re-enactment of two research education programs aimed at demystifying research for staff nurses and at teaching basic skills to identify and frame clinical questions, conduct a literature search, select best evidence, critique research articles, and refer to the IOWA Model as a decision making matrix.
1. Identify effective strategies to demystify the research process for staff nurses.
2. Describe specific techniques for writing clinical research questions, searching the literature, critiquing findings, and applying a model to make practice decisions.

Get Magnetized:  Magnet Recognition, Libraries, and Excellence. Sponsored by the Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section and the Hospital Libraries Section of the Medical Library Association. Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association, Phoenix, AZ, May 21, 2006.

Title: History of Magnet Hospitals . Invited speaker: Richard Barry, AHIP, Librarian/Archivist, American Nurses Association, Silver Spring, MD


Mr. Barry opened the presentation with a brief overview of the original study and research conducted by the American Academy of Nursing of characteristics leading to the recruitment and retention of nurses from the early 1980s. How this study, combined with other factors, lead the American Nurses Credentialing Center to launch an ambitious program in 1990 to promote and recognize hospitals based upon standards of nursing care and nursing service administration. A review of developments from the past fifteen years showed the growth of the Magnet Recognition Program.

Title: The Elements of Magnetism. Invited speaker: Christina Joy, DNSc, RN, Senior Magnet Program Specialist, American Nurses Credentialing Center, Silver Spring, MD.


Dr. Joy presented the current process and procedures that are involved with the Magnet Recognition Program. In her role as Senior Magnet Program Specialist she is involved with the ongoing research and evidence need to maintain the high quality of the program as well as working with those facilities that apply for Magnet Recognition.

Title: Magnet Recognition in the Real World, A Panel Discussion


The panelists shared their organization’s experience with the Magnet Recognition process, which includes lots of documentation and research. They also shared how much or how little they were involved in the process, stories, tips, insights and learned experience and how Magnet status has changed the information needs of the nursing staff in regards to research and evidence based healthcare.

Invited panel:   

Jan Baum, Coordinator/Medical Librarian, John C. Lincoln Health Network, Phoenix, AZ, "Magnet Status: Looking for Quality Patient Outcomes;” Sally Harvey, AHIP, Director, Learning Resources and CME, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ, "Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center Library Activities Related to Magnet;" David Howse, Arizona Health Sciences Library, University of Arizona, Information Services, Tucson, AZ, "Evidence Based Practice for Positive Patient Outcomes;" Dorice L. Vieira, Associate Curator; Coordinator for Search Services, Ehrman Medical Library, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY; Pamela Sherwill, AHIP, Librarian, College of Nursing, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in the Real World. Sponsored by the Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section, the Hospital Libraries Section, the Chiropractic Libraries Section and the African American Medical Librarians Alliance SIG of the Medical Library Association. Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association, Phoenix, AZ, May 22, 2006 .

Title: Building a Culture of Best Practice Requires Collaboration Among Librarians, Scientists, & Clinicians. Invited speaker:  Ellen Fineout-Overholt, Director, Center for Advancement of Evidence-Based Practice; Associate Professor, Clinical Nursing, College of Nursing, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.


Dr. Ellen Fineout-Overholt, co-author of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare: A Guide to Best Practice discussed how collaboration among librarians, scientists & clinicians is essential to advancing a culture of best practice. Foundational issues such as a common definition of evidence-based practice (EBP) and knowledge of the steps of and barriers to EBP were discussed. The roles of librarian, scientist, and clinician in using EBP to improve healthcare were described, with the Arizona Consortium for the Advancement of EBP (AZCAEP) as a case study to demonstrate outcomes that can be achieved through collaboration

Title : I t Takes Two: Librarians and Nurses Collaborate to Establish a Magnet Hospital Evidence-Based Nursing Project. Contributed paper speakers: DeDe Leshy, Irene Lovas, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.


Objective : Inspired by the Pravikoff study in AJN, September 2005, about nurses relying on colleagues to answer clinical questions, two librarians and three nurses at a large Magnet hospital collaborated to assist interested nursing staff to become familiar with evidence-based nursing skills.

Methods : At a nursing Magnet hospital, the Medical Library serves a large nursing and medical staff and provides several electronic bibliographic databases for medical literature and information. Two staff librarians offered their expertise to a core nursing group of two clinical nurse specialists and a nurse practitioner charged with establishing and promoting evidence-based research among the clinical nursing staff. The goal is to educate the nurses to develop clinical questions, and then find answers using evidence-based practice. Their original research is to be presented at a Nursing Symposium held in conjunction with Nurses Week. The librarian-nurse team organized three research pre-conferences covering question building and database searching skills. These sessions offer nursing CE credits for the participants. The librarians are available for consultations as the nurses develop their research topics.


Title: The Hospital Library as Magnet Force for a Research and Evidence-Based Nursing Culture: A Case Study of Two Magnet Hospitals in One Health System. Contributed paper speaker: Diane R. Rourke, AHIP, Baptist Health South Florida, Miami, FL.


Objective: With two Magnet award-winning hospitals in a five hospital health care system, the hospital library's role seemed large enough. What more could be done to enhance the research culture and provide expertise for the development of evidence-based practice in the "real world" of nursing?

Methods: Answers were many: get involved in two separate research committees and one system-wide research collaborative; work with those committees reviewing ("scrubbing up/editing") nursing research proposals before submission to the IRB; justify adding lots of nursing e-resources and including links to them in the new online catalog; teach basic evidence-basedpractice concepts to onsite critical care and emergency nursing academies; and participate in the development of a model for evidence-based practice in one Magnet hospital. This case study reveals the value of an active participatory role for the hospital librarian in the shift to a research and evidence-based culture in two Magnet hospitals, underscoring the value of the parent organization's investment in library-based electronic resources as well as adequate professional library staffing.

Title: Strategies for Creating an Evidence-Based Practice Nursing Culture. Contributed Paper Speakers: Tanya Feddern, AHIP, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Louis Calder Memorial Library, Miami, FL, Kathryn M. Ewers, Jackson Health Systems, Miami, FL.



The purpose of the project was to develop a strategic action plan to create a nursing culture that values and utilizes evidence-based practices for the delivery of nursing care. This paper summarized how to identify and develop educational interventions for fostering an evidence-based nursing culture at a university-affiliated public hospital. These interventions were implemented via collaboration between nurse educators and a medical librarian.

Brief Description:

To evaluate nursing culture and readiness for evidence-based practice, the nurse educators utilized the PARIHS (Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services) framework and adapted the RNAO’s (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario) Action Template. A descriptive survey was developed from the PARIHS framework and was used to assess cultural readiness for evidence-based practice. The RNAO template was used for identifying educational interventions. The nursing educators and medical librarian then collaborated on targeted educational interventions, such as selecting evidence-based filters for Ovid CINAHL, creating a unique evidence-based practice (EBP) certificate program consisting of collaborative continuing education classes, and brainstorming on other educational activities for the busy nurse clinician and researcher, such as an EBP online discussion list and an online journal club.

Results & Conclusions:
Inter- and intra-collaboration between nursing educators and the medical librarian have led to the successful creation and/or modification of educational assessments and interventions to bring about a change in nursing culture towards using EBP in clinical practice. Our survey results suggest that intensive educational strategies are resulting in a higher rate of evidence-based practice change, and that nurses’ knowledge and skills about evidence-based practice are above the national average.


We would like to thank the following health sciences librarians who contributed to these scenarios:

Arlene Freed
Lois Culler
Richard Maxwell
Margaret (Peg) Allen, AHIP
Linda Bunyan
Gay L. Taber
Joy C. Kennedy

Linda Counts
Jim Lander
Carmen Urich
Deniz Ender
Dixie A Jones, AHIP
Nancy Goodwin
Christine Chastain-Warheit, AHIP