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Setting up a journal club

What is a journal club?
A journal club is a group of people with a common interest who gather together to discuss a journal article they have all read. The aim is to encourage discussion, to hear others’ views, learn more about your subject and improve your knowledge and the job you do. The time you spend in journal club counts as participatory CPD in your revalidation activities.

Who can set up a journal club?
Any nurse or midwife (or student) can start a journal club. Invite your colleagues to take part or put up a notice in your office or meeting room to let people know that you are forming a journal club. Journal clubs can vary in size, but between three and 10 members works best.

How are journal club meetings organised?
Organising a journal club meeting is easy. Simply pick a convenient time and place, then print out your chosen journal club article and online handout and distribute to your club members at least a week before your meeting. Members need to have read the article and considered the questions before the meeting.

How often and how long are journal club meetings?
Most journal clubs meet fortnightly or monthly – although some do meet weekly.
If club members have prepared for the meeting by reading the article and considering the discussion questions, half an hour be long enough for a proper discussion. If you can make time for a longer meeting then even better as this would give more of an opportunity to discuss how what you have learnt can be put into practice.

Who can lead club meetings?
One person can be the designated club leader and can routinely organise the distribution of article and lead the meetings. Or alternatively you can take turns to lead the meetings.

What are the benefits of being in a journal club?
Discussing practice as a group helps bring teams together and keeps them up to date. It provides the opportunity to discuss current practice and how it can be improved to enhance patient care. Being a member of a journal club means you get into the habit of critically appraising research and innovation.
Taking part in a journal club can count towards the participatory CPD hours that you need for revalidation. And you can use a journal club discussion as a basis for one of your five reflective accounts also needed for revalidation.

How
It is a good idea to ask for feedback at the end of journal club meetings to find out what worked and what didn’t - for example:
Was the time convenient and the venue suitable?
Was the meeting long enough?
Is the group size appropriate?
Does the group meet frequently enough?
Feedback will help you to structure future sessions to ensure members enjoy and get the most out of your journal club.

Nine tips for success

  • Spread the word among your colleagues
  • Find a time that suits journal club members
  • Use the NT Journal Club materials
  • Distribute the article and handout at least a week ahead
  • Keep the meeting focused on the topic
  • Encourage all members to contribute
  • Use member feedback to develop your journal club
  • Use your journal club as part of your revalidation activities by adding notes to your handout and saving it in your NT Portfolio.
  • Make your journal club meetings a social occasion