The LWW Health Library: Clerkship/Clinical Rotations Collection at the Penn State College of Medicine: University Park Curriculum
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Bradley A. Long, MSLS, AHIP
Embedded Health Sciences Librarian | Assistant Librarian
Harrell Health Sciences Library

Penn State College of Medicine: University Park Curriculum

Product Overview

The LWW Health Library is a multisubject collection of ebooks, medical cases, audiovisual materials, and self-assessment modules. There are subject-specific collection suites supporting medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and physician assistant education. The LWW Health Library is published by Wolters Kluwer, the parent company of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW). In this article, I address the separate medical-specific collections, each requiring its own subscription:

Medical Education modules Medical Practice modules
Anatomical Sciences Anesthesiology
Basic Sciences Emergency Medicine
Board Review Series Internal Medicine
Clerkship/Clinical Rotations Obstetrics-Gynecology
Integrated Basic Sciences Oncology
Lippincott Illustrated Reviews Orthopedic Surgery
Osteopathy Psychiatry
Premium Basic Sciences Surgery

About the Library and the Medical School

The Harrell Health Sciences Library serves the Penn State College of Medicine. The main medical campus is located in Hershey, with the regional medical campus located near the main University Park campus of Penn State. The two medical campuses are part of the same medical college but separated by 100 miles.

The Hershey campus uses a traditional style medical curriculum, with two years of preclinical training and two years of clinical training. The curriculum at the University Park campus is unique because it is a case-based, active-learning curriculum that significantly uses small group learning. There are no formal lectures, and students develop their own leaning objectives with the guidance of faculty, and there are no required textbooks. Thus, there is a strong emphasis on self-directed learning. Additionally, students at both campuses begin seeing patients during their first year. However, the University Park students are actively engaged with the patients, similarly to traditional third-year students, while the Hershey students are usually limited to observing patients.

I am located at the University Park Regional Campus, which does not have a traditional physical library. The campus predominantly uses the online resources of the Harrell Health Sciences Library, with a very small onsite print collection. I am located in a suite of offices that includes clinical and basic sciences faculty, along with education affairs staff. Within this curriculum, I am afforded a significant amount of face time with my students. A majority of the students also actively seek me out on regular basis.

Product Rollout

When I started my employment with the library at our University Park Regional Campus in August 2017, the library already subscribed to the LWW Health Library-Premium Basic Sciences collection. In March 2018, the library added its second collection: Clerkship/Clinical Rotation. The purpose for adding this module was to better serve medical students during their required clinical rotations.

Marketing the Product

The goal of the marketing campaign was to make all medical students aware of the online availability of the LWW Health Library. The focus was on marketing to students currently enrolled in a clerkship, entering a clerkship rotation during the upcoming academic year, or involved in patient care during the first two years of the curriculum.

The Harrell Health Sciences Library’s marketing campaign was three tiered:

  1. Marketing through the library website and library newsletter announcements.
  2. Incorporating any required clerkship textbooks available through the Clerkship/Clinical Rotation collection into our recently developed Medical Student Resources: Clerkships LibGuide. This included adding a direct link on the LibGuide to the Clerkship/Clinical Rotation collection.
  3. Having the individual library liaisons market to their assigned groups.

Because I am University Park Regional Campus’s embedded liaison, located offsite from the main medical library, I would actively market this resource within the curriculum itself. Not only did I email students and faculty directly about this product, I also actively promoted it during any of the small group learning sessions where I was involved. When the new class of students came on board, I continued to promote it during my in-person orientation.

Success of Launch/Lessons Learned

There was no formal assessment for success at the University Park Regional Campus. Usage statistics could not be broken out by medical campus, since both are in the same IP range. Student surveys also were not a viable option, due to:

  • Timing of the launch – it was too close to the end of the semester to implement an effective survey.
  • A desire to avoid survey overload of the students.
  • There was not enough time to get IRB approval for a student survey.

However, anecdotally, the students seemed pleased with the addition of the Clerkship/Clinical Rotation collection. Targeting marketing during student orientations also appears to be successful, based on anecdotal feedback and direct observation of students during various small group sessions. There also appeared to be faculty buy-in for the use of this database.

There will be an opportunity to better assess the launch of the Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics-Gynecology, and Orthopaedic Surgery modules, which were added during the Fall 2019 semester. However, my marketing of these collections will be more focused on the clinical faculty and residents at my regional campus, with an emphasis on the Penn State Sports Medicine clinicians.


LWW Health Library: User Central.

Medical Student Resources: Clerkships LibGuide. Harrell Health Sciences Library. Penn State University College of Medicine.

Starting a Clerkship or a Clinical Rotation? @ Harrell.lib. The official Newsletter of the Harrell Health Sciences Library. 9(2): 6.

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