The role of librarians in medical education at University of Botswana Faculty of medicine (UBFOM)
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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This study investigated the role of librarians in medical education at the University of Botswana Faculty of Medicine (UBFOM). The study and the libraries roles may add to the knowledge base of skills and attitudes needed for successful practice in all aspects of teaching and learning as users then are advanced with knowledge and know where and when to access the readily available information. The primary objective was to ascertain whether the services librarians provide meet the needs of physicians and students at UBFOM. The population included doctors, post graduates (residents) and undergraduates’ students. The data was collected through interviews and questionnaires and the study highlighted librarians’ requisite skills, knowledge and competencies that medical librarians in other countries possess, (Hannigan & Raimondo, 2016). The study revealed that all the librarians attached at FOM are not medical librarians, but traditional librarians with degrees in library and information science (LIS), archives and records management, and other general disciplines. They also lack sufficient technology modernization, inadequate resources to meet users’ needs, and the core competencies such as scholarly communication whereby they should work with faculty members to enhance their ability to share their research broadly and effectively by addressing a range of issues, including changes in publishing, funder requirements for sharing research, open access models for disseminating new knowledge, digital publishing, and exercising author rights to broaden sharing of research. Even though the users (doctors, residents and students) express satisfaction with the services librarians provides, the librarians still need more trainings and professional development to keep up with the latest trends in medical librarianship. The study recommends that librarians at the Faculty of Medicine should consider furthering their study and most importantly doing a course on medicine or health related topics and benchmarking with other medical schools. There are professional associations they can also join to learn more and be efficient and effective in service delivery. The findings from the study respond to the study’s research questions and helped identify the services librarians provides, their qualifications and experiences, the users perceptions and the challenges they face in delivering those services. Doctors acknowledged librarians as they are able to manage, access, evaluate and share information at the point of care and throughout the hospitals. The findings shows that even though the librarians do not have qualification as medical librarians, they tend to excel in trainings given to their clients. They understand the resources and they market them well to their clientele. Users explained that the knowledge and expertise they receive tend to affect their patient care practices in a good way as it is of great value and had changed the way they handle patients and are able to make the right and informed decision. They recognize the key roles librarians play in ensuring patient safety at the point of need to support clinical decision making and decreases mortality rate. The study has recommended further trainings for librarians and doctors and students to utilize the services librarians provides.