Library faculty role in problem-based learning: facilitating small groups.


Since 1986, the library faculty of the McGoogan Library of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) has participated in small group activities during the week-long orientation for first-year medical students. This involvement paved the way for library faculty members to act as facilitators for small groups of medical students within the new problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum introduced in 1992 by the College of Medicine. The UNMC curriculum consists of traditional PBL groups as well as Integrated Clinical Experience (ICE) small groups. The ICE groups provide opportunities for discussion of the social and behavioral issues that arise in medicine, with the majority of the sessions designed to give students interviewing practice with simulated patients. The ICE small groups meet once a week with either one or two facilitators. Several library faculty members act as facilitators for ICE groups. As a result of this involvement, librarian contacts with College of Medicine faculty have grown in number and depth, there has been a corresponding increase in related activities with the first- and second-year medical students. Participation in ICE groups has caused some difficulties with respect to library work schedules, but it has been immensely rewarding and enriching in terms of professional growth. This paper describes the UNMC curriculum, the evolution and extent of the librarians' involvement, and the future involvement, ramifications, and challenges envisioned for McGoogan faculty and their medical library colleagues.

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