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Steps to Developing a Journal Club
What is a Journal Club?
- A journal club is a group of individuals who meet regularly to critically evaluate recent articles in scientific literature.
- A journal club helps to improve your knowledge on a particular subject, improve your critically appraising an article skills, learn about the latest evidence, and assists in implementing EBP in your area.
Step 1: Identify a Leader to Organize the Journal Club Project
- It is important to have one (or two) person(s) who takes responsibility for the club
- It should be someone who is interested, committed to the concept and willing to organize it
- You could consider an interested staff member, clinical educator, clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse manager, or senior staff member
Step 2: Identify Goals
- If the group is inexperienced in critiquing research, then a goal might be for the group to critique the same article and incorporate sharing and discussion about how to critique an article.
- If the group is more experienced, the goal might be to identify a clinical problem and critique several articles relating to that problem.
- If the group is mixed, the goal might be to teach and mentor the inexperienced members.
- An application to practice goal is generally included.
Step 3: Identify Target Audience
- Based on goals, identify your audience:
- All nurses in a particular specialty
- A cross section of staff
- Interested staff
- Staff in bachelors and masters programs
- All staff on a specific unit
- Open to all
Step 4: Set a Time and Place
- Select a convenient meeting time and place
- Need to think about different shifts
- Some may do a monthly lunch or meet for an early dinner in a local restaurant with ample free parking
- The environment needs to be comfortable and suit the group
- Food is often an important element and supports attendance as well as discussion
Step 5: Select Articles
- Select the article or articles based on your goals
- A specific process such as change of shift report
- Care of a specific population
- A topic of general interest to the audience
- Use your librarian or CNE to help locate appropriate articles
- Use web sites
- CINAHL, PubMed
Step 6: Develop/Select Forms
- Consider using two forms
- One to summarize each article article read and discussed
- One to summarize all the articles discussed in the group
- Examples of such forms are on the following pages but developing a form that fits the needs of the group is also an option.
Step 7: Invite Participants/Getting the Word Out
- Design a flyer to announce the journal club with title, place, time and plans. Include RSVP so you have an accurate count for food.
- Send flyer electronically or post.
- Consider inviting an expert to help the first few sessions, especially with an inexperienced group.
- 2-3 weeks prior to the meeting, make enough packets to distribute to the participants. Include the flyer and articles discussed.
- Distribute the packets or select a place where they can be picked up.
Step 8: Hold the Journal Club
- Begin and end on time
- Open the meeting with an overview of what will be discussed
- If critiquing the article(s) as a group, work through the article(s)
- If the article was reviewed prior to the meeting then each presenter should give a brief overview of their article and facilitate a discussion
- Encourage active participation by using pre-planned discussion questions
Step 9: Evaluate the Journal Club
- What went well
- What could have been better?
- More attendance
- Different time or place
- Type of articles
- Use of form
- Provide training
- Different format
- Post article critiques
- Tape record session for those unable to attend
Step 10: Adopt, Alter or Abandon Changes
- Review the evaluation comments and make the necessary changes for the next meeting
- Adopt new ideas
- Alter current ideas
- Abandon what didn't work at all