Journal Club: Measuring impostor phenomenon among health sciences librarians

Meeting Date: September 26, 2019

Presenter: Brianna Howell-Spooner

Citation: Barr-Walker J, Bass MB, Werner DA, et al. Measuring impostor phenomenon among health sciences librarians. J Med Libr Assoc. 2019;107(3):323-32.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6579590/

Article Abstract: Objective: Impostor phenomenon, also known as impostor syndrome, is the inability to internalize accomplishments while experiencing the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Previous work has examined impostor phenomenon among academic college and research librarians, but health sciences librarians, who are often asked to be experts in medical subject areas with minimal training or education in these areas, have not yet been studied. The aim of this study was to measure impostor phenomenon among health sciences librarians.
Methods: A survey of 2,125 eligible Medical Library Association (MLA) members was taken from October to December 2017. The online survey featuring the Harvey Impostor Phenomenon scale, a validated measure of impostor phenomenon, was administered, and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to examine relationships between impostor phenomenon scores and demographic variables.
Results: A total of 703 participants completed the survey (33% response rate), and 14.5% of participants scored >=42 on the Harvey scale, indicating possible impostor feelings. Gender, race, and library setting showed no associations, but having an educational background in the health sciences was associated with lower impostor scores. Age and years of experience were inversely correlated with impostor phenomenon, with younger and newer librarians demonstrating higher scores.
Conclusions: One out of seven health sciences librarians in this study experienced impostor phenomenon, similar to previous findings for academic librarians. Librarians, managers, and MLA can work to recognize and address this issue by raising awareness, using early prevention methods, and supporting librarians who are younger and/or new to the profession.

Questions

1. As a health librarian, how did this article make you feel?

–  feel a little bit better that other librarians feel the same way

– interesting topic, first time heard of it, able to relate to a lot of the feelings from the beginning of career

– Not sure, a lot of the issue that came up in the scale appear in any job, it a reality but it’s also part of the process; for me I had similar feelings in other library jobs, in those jobs I felt like the information I was giving wasn’t something I made happen, but people didn’t notice

– The anxiety is normal, only really a problem if maybe it existed after the first

– Could be a problem in workplaces that feed those anxieties-

2. Were you surprised by the results?

– a little bit surprised that the results were so comparable to the study on academic librarians

– depending on the setting a lot of librarian’s have advanced degrees in the area they are working

– is this the same for academic health librarians, not everyone, seen it happen at academic libraries where the subjects weren’t the ones they studied but they are liaising with departments they don’t have a background in.

3. Even though this was an American based study, do you think it applies to Canadian health librarians?

– Yes

– Not much difference

4. Do you think there might be other factors affecting imposter syndrome in health science or hospital librarians than the ones hypothesized by the authors (hypothesized factors: less educational background and work experience in the health sciences and yet expected to be subject experts).

– I hypothesize that health librarians who were interested in science in their earlier education or have always had a personal interest in science, but did not pursue a university degree in the topic might have an ambivalent score on imposter syndrome scale.

– Would they feel that they didn’t belong because they don’t have the paper to back them up, were they discouraged earlier in their education by others who didn’t think they could hack the hard sciences, or did they find a different interest in their undergrad but never lost interest in the topic on a personal level?

– Mental health issue, some of the participants could be more prone to self-esteem or feeling that they are not up to the work

– Type of workplace; if the workplace isn’t supportive, that might contribute, if it’s open to collaboration that might help alleviate feelings of needing to go it alone

– The type of work that we do is very challenging to parse the searches; (other agreement)

– Some of the terms are difficult to parse

– More collaboration makes it feels less burdensome, in workplaces that are competitive, that vulnerability might be turned back on you

– New concepts and new ways to work can be destabilizing, feedback and support helps

– If someone doesn’t deal well with stress and anxiety, can compound it

– Mentorship: difference between academic and special?

– Special: asking is expected

– Academic: how many colleagues are working with the same material/subject?

5. Did anybody download the supplementary materials and score themselves on the survey instrument? Did you feel that it reflected what you perceived?

–  difficult to score yourself without throwing it off

– some of questions depend on where you are in your career, changes the answers

– always learning, so some of the questions didn’t reflect some life philosophies

– in the moment feelings will affect the outcome

6. In relation to the supplementary materials, the authors were trying to match the study to a previous one so the questions they could ask were limited. Assuming that limitation was removed, are there questions you would have liked to ask if you were researching this topic?

– experience that participants had before their position in the health sciences library, were they in a similar environment, what tools do they have, did they ever have to learn new things on the go?

– “how many years in health science” versus “how many years in library work do you have”?

– more qualitative questions; did they NEED the job because of economic constraints or did they seek it out? What is their history with health care or even science?

– different types of academic libraries, what were the types?

7. Are there any weaknesses that you would want to address in follow-up studies?

– Interesting to see a more global scale

– Compare American versus Canadian context

– Could they have gotten around the MLA selection bias; convenient but limiting

– Listserv

– Social media

– Reach out individually

– more representation, demographically,

– they did list their limitations

Other thoughts?

– Enjoyed the article, new topic, more possibilities for studies, good starting point

– Fairly good job getting started

– Coping strategies? That might’ve been something they could’ve added, we’ve all gone through this, what could employees/employers do to make this an easier thing?

– Try to remind myself that I might not be a content expert but I am an expert in searching for the things,

– Clinical staff don’t realize that we don’t have the background, if we point that out they do help us with figuring out terminology and thought process

– There’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ search strategy, you learn how to put it together day by day

– Don’t be afraid of new things; acknowledge that you’re starting at square one and take it one step at a time.

– Remind yourself that people want you to succeed

– It’s a growth process

– Has anyone had to help someone with imposter syndrome? What would you do to help?

– Had an employee who wanted to quit because he didn’t think he was learning things fast enough

– Explained the reasons why he was hired, I believe that you have the skills, not expecting you to become a super librarian overnight, it’s okay to ask when you don’t know, you won’t get in trouble, what is it that you’re struggling with, what are your needs?

Journal Club: Critical librarianship in health sciences libraries: An introduction

Meeting Date: July 24, 2019

Presenter: Michelle Dalidowicz

Citation: Barr-Walker J, Sharifi C. Critical librarianship in health sciences libraries: an introduction. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA. 2019;107(2):258-64. DOI: 10.5195/jmla.2019.620
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466494/

Article Abstract:

The Medical Library Association recently announced its commitment to diversity and inclusion. While this is a positive start, critical librarianship takes the crucial concepts of diversity and inclusion one step further by advocating for social justice action and the dismantling of oppressive institutional structures, including white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. Critical librarianship takes many forms, but, at its root, is focused on interrogating and disrupting inequitable systems, including changing racist cataloging rules, creating student-driven information literacy instruction, supporting inclusive and ethical publishing models, and rejecting the notion of libraries as neutral spaces. This article presents examples of the application of critical practice in libraries as well as ideas for applying critical librarianship to the health sciences.

Critical Appraisal:

Questions:

1) Critical Librarianship is usually defined as applying the principles of social justice to our work as librarians. Is there anything that you would add to that definition?

– critical theory is really the basis

– more than just saying ‘social justice’ has to state actual ‘anti-‘ statements

– but when do you stop naming anti- stances

– are there certain ones that are more insidious, that just can’t be not stated

– power differentials, important piece of these discussions

2) In undergrad or in post grad, did you ever receive instruction on critical studies? Do you feel comfortable engaging with it as part of your work?

– English undergrad covered critical theory, inclusion and anti-inclusion; it comes up a lot

– sociology covers it; milder conversations but the same stuff

– race relations in Canada were covered in a gender studies course

– Not as much convo in the gender studies on critical theory

– nothing in MLIS; hope that changes

– MLIS talked about homelessness

– MLIS only exposure was in cataloguing, used examples that showed how things weren’t reflective of anti-oppressive critical librarianship; but it wasn’t presented as critical librarianship

– history, topics came up as we talked about American history and immigration but it wasn’t critical theory

– pop music course brought in critical theory

– want to say “yes” am comfortable engaging, being outspoken about social justice

– barriers include politeness, people might not say anything but they will be silently judging you for speaking out about it [critical theory/social justice]

– it’s more insidious [oppressive systems], unless you’re an oppressed group or have studied critical theory/social justice theories you’re unlikely to recognize the problems with the systems that are in place.

– Needs more critical mass from society, people don’t know how to respond and they don’t ‘see’ the offense

– in terms of our practice, I use examples of contentious terms and how much the ‘outdated’ words are used versus more appropriate terms.

– it’s becoming easier to talk about privilege; but not everyone understands it

– the fights and the backlash might cause people to refrain from getting involved out of fear or wanting to avoid discomfort

3) What would critical medical librarianship look like and what might it encompass (e.g. social justice, health disparities)?

– health disparities is one we get often asked about

– it becomes apparent in the searching you do, indigenous, rural ect. We as librarians get an idea of ‘where the money goes’, the lack of research when oppressed population is combined with ‘x’ health condition

– more patient advocate role; the librarian as a patient advocate (paper from the states)

– how do we engage with patients? Consumer guides, who’s looking at what we’re making?

4) Do you feel like you are already using critical librarianship in your health library practice?

– not enough

– article was a good reminder of what we can control: what we find, reference interview questions, instruction that touches on access (the privilege of being able to access paywall journals, the services we provide),

– selection of articles, how can we build that into library instruction, throwing in a critical article

– often patrons are looking for ‘support’ for their question, but what if the opposite is better care? Do you want all the evidence or only what supports your opinion?

– is publication bias a social justice issue? Possibly, it’s definitely a bias

– articles that we don’t include because we don’t ‘trust’ the source or the population is ‘not the same’

5) Different areas of library work and how they can be affected by critical librarianship were touched upon in the article. Were there areas which you felt could be more readily changed in your library practice than others and how would you like to be able to do so?

– cultural heritage, would be interesting to curate articles and materials for indigenous health or educational materials of indigenous methods of healing

– the search results, what we’re picking out, what we’re supporting; more inclusive questions in the reference interview

– involving patients in their care

5a) Were there areas of library work you think were missing that could be found in critical health librarianship?

6) Are there ways that we, as health librarians, make choices in our work that go against critical librarianship ideals?

7) What are ways that we can use critical librarianship in our health libraries right now to encourage social justice critical thinking and engagement in our patrons?

– using search examples in teaching; using social justice topics in our library search instruction to keep it in the fore front

(Note: We ran out of time so we skipped questions 5a and 6)

Chapter Update: Fall 2017 Meeting

The fall SHLA gathering kicked off with a round table on current activities from each organization. This was followed by a continuing education session led by CADTH Liaison Officer Saskatchewan Kathleen Kulyk on the development and critical appraisal of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). CPGs play a vital role in health policy formation and care delivery; yet guideline implementation has suffered due to varied adherence to basic standards of development. The Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation II (AGREE II) Instrument is a framework for ensuring guidelines are rigorously developed and reported and based on best available evidence. During the session, members had the opportunity to assess guidelines using AGREE II, and to discuss the strengths and shortcomings of the instrument and its applicability to the practice of library and information professionals.

The SHLA Fall Meeting included reports from the executive and information items by the web manager and Journal Club coordinator. A proposal to change the length and frequency of Journal Club was raised and tabled for discussion at the next Journal Club meeting. The day ended with a discussion about the upcoming SHLA Constitutional Review and a general call for members to participate on the committee.

Chapter Update: Fall 2016 Meeting

During the morning portion of the session Brendalynn Ens (Director, Knowledge Mobilization and Liaison Program at Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health [CADTH]) lead 11 librarians and library technicians through the critical appraisal process of medical literature, including randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and practice guidelines. Thousands of critical appraisal tools (CATs) are available, but all are based on three basic questions: “Can I believe the results?”; “What are the results?”; and “Will the results help me in my decision making?” CADTH has created a set of four (non-validated) CATs available for use (Registered Controlled Trials, Systematic Reviews, Clinical Practical Guidelines, and Qualitative Research), which they distributed to the attendees. Brendalynn spoke in depth specifically about bias in Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs), which includes five different types of bias associated with CPGs: financial, publication, conflict of interest, expert influence, and external commercial bias. She also shared her five-minute shortcut to critical appraisal of a CPG.

critical-appraisal

The afternoon portion of the meeting began with Valerie Moore, who provided the attendees with a tour of the new SHIRP website at their new URL: www.shirp.usask.ca

SHIRP’s new logo is featured on their website, along with a new “Quick Links” section, and the new LibGuides. In the last three months the website has seen 19255 visits, with the Pharmacist and Physician pages seeing the top hits. Drug databases are the most popular. There has been a lot of anecdotal positive feedback on the newly designed website.

shirp2

The afternoon continued with a pre-recorded video presentation from Catherine Boden entitled “Learning Needs Across the Continuum from Beginner to Expert: A Survey of Health Sciences Librarians Working in Canada and the U.S.” Catherine provided the group with some background on a project, which is a partnership between the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Orientated Research (SCPOR), to develop, deliver and evaluate a series of online modules aimed at building skills in literature/information searching, and reviewing and synthesizing methodologies to support evidence-based practice for healthcare professionals across the province; and, to coordinate and present workshops on systematic reviews and meta-analysis across the province, delivered by nationally recognized experts. As background piece to this project, Catherine undertook an assessment on the learning needs of librarians supporting systematic reviews using a questionnaire, which was distributed to health sciences librarian working in North America. The results of the questionnaire were shared, which included questions on demographics, systematic review experience, “design your own Continuing Education,” and facilitators and challenges.

The day ended with the SHLA general meeting, which included reports from the executive, and a discussion led by Susan Murphy based on questions from Catherine Boden about training around systematic reviews.