DCH Library Apprentice shares experience and learning – at the start of National Apprenticeship Week

Today marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week and our very own Apprentice Library Assistant, Jack Welch, shares his experiences, learning and views about working at DCH Library. As you will see he is making great strides in the world of library work but the rest of the team at DCH Library are also benefitting from his enthusiasm and experience.

“Starting as the new Apprentice Library Assistant, there was certainly one expectation that was thwarted – our range of general fiction/non-fiction was smaller than expected! You can probably gather my knowledge about public libraries, as opposed to health libraries, was much greater. At the time of writing this, I will have been with DCH Library for four months now, which like most enjoyable pursuits has flown by without too much notice (and is always a positive sign). As part of a wider network of health libraries across the southern region, I have found we play a subtle, yet influencing, role in supporting effective healthcare for patients at the hospital.

Here is Jack at the Enquiry Desk in the Library

Alongside providing a range of textbooks, which has inevitably decreased in the internet age, we ensure members at this hospital and beyond are able to access scholarly articles with ease and swiftly respond to those requests when they come in. What cannot always be seen afterwards is the impact that might have after on our end, but the aim is geared towards the care of patients in practice. Secondly, and while it is not strictly part of the library function, we give extra assistance to staff who are having difficulty in logging onto their staff records and complete that all-important mandatory NHS e-learning!

As an apprentice, 80% of the time I will spend inside the actual hospital and my workplace environment (COVID guidance permitting) and one day a week from home to concentrate on any apprenticeship related tasks. This includes monthly assignments, meetings with my tutor online and completing other learning tasks that form as part of my eventual qualification. The team I work with in the library have been a great source of help in providing the resources and information needed to complete my assignments with all the evidence needed to meet the criteria. Crucially, a big part of that is down to direct work experience and drawing on situations that we might encounter – some more often than others.

Settling into this position has allowed me to look at how we can also improve some of the library’s systems and improving the functionality of user PCs available. Since I joined, they now have the latest version of Microsoft Office and, hopefully soon, will be more secure with automated erasure of any personal files/information that can be accidentally left behind. I am also able to put on my creative hat at times and design new signage to inform our visitors of necessary messages – including leaving the windows open in the winter for ventilation!

Getting to know the wider team across my department, and others in our space, has also been reassuring and I’ve already started doing a bit of extracurricular activity, such as joining the internal ‘Without Limits’ staff network and our forthcoming Living Library week! I’ve even been giving a few website and IT advice to other colleagues in the building, when the need has arisen – I have several ‘hats’ which I can wear besides being a Library Assistant. There is much more I found I could contribute to beyond my immediate job responsibilities, which is always an encouraging sign for building new skills.”

Winner of DCH library website banner

DCH Library recently ran a competition inviting DCHFT staff and students to design the banner for our new-look website. The design by Charlotte Bidwell, Digital Projects Support Assistant, was chosen for its colours, cheerfulness and simplicity. Charlotte, on the right in the photo, received her prize of a £20 book voucher in the library. Well done and thank you, Charlotte! You can see Charlotte’s design on the heading banner above.

While most people immediately recognise that the image is of a row of books, some of us see in the design a row of beach huts – which reflects a wider geographical reach than Dorchester, where the library is actually based. Whatever you see in the design we liked the fact that the colours matched those of the NHS and the Trust and that its cheerfulness and effective simplicity reflect the helpfulness and friendliness of the library team.

Charlotte Bidwell (right) receives her prize from Morag Evans, Librarian

Study Skills workshops

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 

Study Skills Workshops 2021-22 – for students and staff up to Band 5
DCH library is running a series of two hour study skills sessions which consist of:

  • Preparing yourself for study
  • Planning your assignments
  • The basics of evidence searching
  • Tips on reading and notetaking
  • Understanding the structure of an assignment
  • Referencing
  • Reflective writing
  • Resources to help you from the library
  • Certificate of attendance

On the first Tuesday of every month at 10am-12pm starting in October on the following dates and venues in the Education Centre:

4 January 2022, Room 1

1 March 2022, E-learning suite

5 April 2022, Room 5

3 May 2022, E-learning suite

7 June 2022, Room 1

5 July 2022, Room 1

To book a place or find out more, please email library.office@dchft.nhs.uk

BMJ Best Practice Junior Doctor Toolkit

This will take you to an interactive PDF, click on the blue boxes to visit the resources relevant to you.

Clinical decision-making support just a tap away

BMJ Best Practice is a clinical decision-making resource provided free by Health Education England to all NHS staff in England and particularly useful for medical students and newly qualified and junior doctors.

Rated as one of the best support tools worldwide, BMJ Best Practice includes step by step guidance on diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention as well as medical calculators, how-to videos and patient information leaflets.  Content includes clinical expertise from over 1,600 international authors and 2,500 peer reviewers which means you have up to date references available at your fingertips, anywhere, any time of day or night.

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘library’?

Maybe you think of shelves of books? Well, although we love books (and by the way we do have shelves of books!) did you know this is a tiny part of what DCH library offers? Did you know there is a wealth of other resources and services available to you?

Here’s what you need to know:

  • As well as our print resources, clinical and medical staff also have access to clinical decision support tools like UpToDate and BMJ Best Practice (both available from the Trust intranet homepage) as well as a host of e-journals and e-books on ClinicalKey – https://www.clinicalkey.com/  and much more!
  • To access our e-resources you’ll need an OpenAthens username and password – self-registration is easy and available at https://openathens.nice.org.uk/
  • We can set up evidence alerts in your specialty/interests – let us know your professional interests and we’ll match these to the evidence base and send you fortnightly alerts with relevant high-level evidence. Sign up here
  • We also offer workshops on a variety of topics including:
  • study skills (first Tuesday of every month),
  • evidence searching,
  • basics of critical appraisal,
  • reflective reading and writing,
  • referencing
  • and health literacy
  • We also conduct evidence searches and summaries – just email us at library.office@dchft.nhs.uk with your question!
  • If we don’t hold a book or article that you are trying to get hold of we probably know a library that does and we are usually able to supply it to you. Our popular inter library lending and document supply service is quick and efficient as we belong to a large network of NHS libraries called SWIMS – you can view the SWIMS catalogue here
  • We also have a button on the Trust intranet homepage which takes you to our Discovery Service – basically you can search all our resources in one place – available here
  • There is also a small fiction section and a popular wellbeing corner and resources.
  • The Library is staffed between Monday and Thursday, 8.30am-5pm and Friday, 8.30am-4.30pm. But with your cotag you can access the library 24/7!

CPD opportunities at DCH Library in July and August

The library is offering workshops and training for clinical and non-clinical staff working in the hospital (face to face) or at home (virtually, via Microsoft Teams).

Topics include:

  • Study Skills Workshops
  • Finding the Evidence: Literature Search Training
  • Reflective Reading and Writing for Revalidation/CPD
  • Referencing Workshops
  • Health Literacy Awareness Training

To see a list of dates, times and venues please click here Summer CPD 2020

COVID-19 Resources – Where to look for…

..Latest diagnosis and treatment guidance:

BMJ Best Practice

Access via the Trust Intranet homepage. It includes a patient information leaflet and information on the following topics:

Daily update on COVID-19 pandemic

Management of coexisting conditions in the context of COVID-19

…Articles and ebooks:


ClinicalOverview available at ClinicalKey’s Covid-19 Resource Centre. Accessible via OpenAthens.

…Subscribe for updates from Public Health England:

Public Health England

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Centre. Freely available.

…Point of care decision making support:


Topics include Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, ventilation and specialties relating to COVID-19. Access via Trust Inranet homepage.

…For patients and the public:

Coronavirus Information for Patients and the Public

To find Coronavirus information for patients and the public from trusted sources, including information in Easy Read and other accessible formats, see the resources compiled by HEE’s national Library and Knowledge Services team https://library.nhs.uk/coronavirus-resources/

NHS Coronavirus Hub

NHS information, help and advice on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

NHS 111

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice – Find out what to do if you think you have symptoms or if you might have been exposed to the virus while travelling.

Myth busting facts about COVID-19

Provided by Full Fact, a UK independent fact checking charity.

COVID-19 – Plans in the event of library closure

If the library has to be closed due to COVID-19 we will remain open virtually and there are certain services and resources you can access from your workplace or at home:

  • Point of care tools like UpToDate and BMJ Best Practice are accessible from the Intranet homepage and if you have a personal account for these resources you can also access these from home. To register for a personal account click the link for each resource on the Intranet homepage and when directed register your details. You will then be able to access these resources remotely.
  • ClinicalKey journals and ebooks are available with your OpenAthens username and password. If you do not have an account with OpenAthens we recommend you register for one at https://openathens.nice.org.uk/
  • You can renew your books via the library catalogue (you will need to login with your SWIMS barcode and password first) and if the library is closed you can return your books via the large red return bin outside the library.
  • If you need access to an article which isn’t available via your OpenAthens username and password we may be able to supply it to you. Request an article here
  • We are still offering a limited literature search service – request a literature search here
  • Face to face training is not available at the moment.
  • You can still contact DCH Library in the following ways:
  • Email: library.office@dchft.nhs.uk
  • Twitter: @DCHLib

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay connected.






New Year, New Opportunities!

Did you know we have a comprehensive training and resources menu to suit your information needs?

We offer workshops on a variety of topics, including literature searching, referencing, critical appraisal, reflective reading and writing and much more.