Mobilising Knowledge with Peer Assists

A peer assist is a knowledge management tool where peers (perhaps four or five people) from another team are invited to share insights, experience and knowledge at a facilitated meeting.

This might be to support a team that are looking to embark on a project or service change, or that have a specific problem or challenge, and want to know what worked (or what didn’t) from another team that has similar experience. A peer assist can bring knowledge and experience to the point of need.

Peer assists allow people to learn from other people’s experiences and knowledge, establish an open culture of learning, support networking, and stimulate new perspectives. They are part of the process of ‘learning before doing’ and are about gathering knowledge before embarking on an activity or project, or when facing a difficulty in the course of related events.

The home team asking for the peer assist needs to have clear objectives of what they want to gain from the meeting. Peers can come from within the organisation, or outside it, but are people with experience of the issue.

How do they work?

  • A facilitator is appointed, and lots of notice given. Background information is circulated to the home team and the visiting peers
  • Allow some time for socialising before the meeting, to build some rapport between the home team and the visitors
  • At the meeting, the home team presents the context and any plans, issues and opportunities, and say what they’d like to get out of the meeting
  • The visiting peers ask questions, and provide feedback on what worked (or what didn’t) for them, and provide recommendations, options or guidance
  • The home team reflects on what’s been said, and examines options
  • The visitors provide feedback, answer questions, and suggests some actions for the home team

Meeting can be face-to-face or virtual, and the time can be anything from 1.5 hours to half a day (or even longer if necessary!). Flipcharts are ideal for face-to-face meetings, but someone on the home team should take detailed notes as well.

It’s important to remember that as well learning from experience, the evidence base needs to be taken into consideration as well when making decisions. Library staff are able to conduct evidence searches to support decision-making, or find case studies or what worked elsewhere.

Peer assists are not peer reviews – the visiting team are not coming to critique the home team, but to transfer knowledge.

Further reading



Read research for free (legally) with Unpaywall

Unpaywall is a service that helps people locate the growing number of open access or free legal versions of journal articles. You may already have seen links to the full-text of journal articles via Unpaywall in the library discovery system, or through the NICE databases for evidence searching.

There is also a really useful Unpaywall browser extension available for Chrome and Firefox (sadly not for Edge) that makes it easy to see if an article is available for free when searching most publisher websites, PubMed, The Cochrane Library, or some other sites. More information about the browser extension is available on the Unpaywall site.

With the browser extension installed, when you’re visiting a compatible site, a green unlocked padlock indicates a free version is available, and the padlock can be clicked to take you to the article. A grey padlock indicates no open access, and no padlock means you’re on a site or page that does not work with the Unpaywall extension.

There will stil be articles that aren’t available via open access, but you may still find you can access the full-text with an NHS OpenAthens account instead if we subscribe to the journal, and failing that, we can order a copy for you so you can avoid paying publisher prices.

Unpaywall looks for any journal articles that are available by one of three different routes:

Gold open access

Articles that are fully open access, perhaps in open access journals, or in hybrid journals. Often, the article’s author or their institution has paid an article processing charge to make the article available as open access.

Green open access

Articles available in institutional repositories with the agreement of the publisher, usually as an author manuscript (or postprint). This means it has been peer-reviewed, but may not have been copy-edited or formatted for publication. There may be an embargo on how soon an author manuscript can be made available under green open access,

Bronze open access

Articles where the publisher has allowed free access, but retains the copyright and can withdraw access. A lot of articles on COVID-19 have been made available for free under bronze open access.

If you’re curious, it is possible to change the settings in the Unpaywall extension to enable ‘Nerd mode’ and display different colours for different access routes – gold, green or bronze.

Tell us what you think of us

From now until the end of July, Shrewsbury and Telford Health Libraries are doing a survey about what you think of us, and we’d love to know your views.

We’ll be using the responses to help us plan and improve our services into the future, so whether you think our libraries are wonderful, or perhaps not so good, tell us what you think! It should only take a few minutes to complete.

We’d also like to know how library services have benefited patient care, research, education and training, or your continuing professional development, so we can demonstrate the impact we have in these areas.

The responses can be anonymous, but you can add your name and email if you’d like feedback on your comments.

Become a leadership master with our masterclass reading lists!

The SaTH Leadership Academy is running a series of Leadership Masterclasses (more details available on the Leadership Development page on the SaTH Intranet).

We’re putting together a range of resource lists to support these, and the lists so far are:

Each list contains a selection of relevant books and e-books available to borrow or view online.

These lists will develop over time as we add new titles to our leadership collections in both libraries, and we’ll also be adding new topics. All the lists can be found on the Course Reserves page on the library catalogue.

We have a wide range of leadership books available in our libraries in the dedicated Leadership Zones, and we also have many more e-books you can access with an NHS OpenAthens account, as well as thousands of articles. In addition, we can carry out evidence searches to support service development, policy development, knowledge management and other management and leadership needs.





Find the evidence around Long Covid

COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome,  chronic COVID syndrome, or ‘Long Covid’. The Office for National Statistics estimates that over the four-week period ending 6 March 2021, an estimated 1.1 million people in private households in the UK reported experiencing Long Covid.

Save time when looking for evidence and guidance around Long Covid. As well as including lots of new Long Covid resources in our COVID-19 Evidence Bulletin, we also have a Long Covid evidence resources page where we’ve collated some of the best guidance and resources on topics such as prevalance, rehabilitation, health services and resources for people living with the condition.




Learn more about using UpToDate to provide care with confidence

The UpToDate clinical decision support tool provides evidence-based advice on over 11,000 topics to support the diagnoses, treatment and management of common and rare conditions. It can be accessing onsite via the Intranet, or off-site using an NHS OpenAthens account or a personal account created onsite. Mobile apps are also available, and for more information on the various ways to access UpToDate, visit our UpToDate page.

UpToDate are offering a free 30-minute live training session to help you make the best use of UpToDate and explore some of the ways it can help you. Topics covered include:

  • Creating an account
  • Earning and submitting CME/CPD
  • Conducting a normal or advanced search
  • Help reduce medication errors with Drugs & Drug Interactions
  • COVID-19 common questions and answers
  • What’s New & Practice Changing Updates
  • Patient engagement and safety

The training is on Tuesday, May 18th at 2.30pm and is being carried on Microsoft Teams. To join, simply follow this link at the time – there is no need to book.





New collection of e-books from Wiley publishers now available

We’ve just added another package of new e-books to our collection, spanning titles from Wiley publishers from 2017 owards, for instant access to a range of textbooks covering all subject areas, including medicine and nursing. All of these are searchable on our discovery system alongside all our other print and e-books, and it’s easy to search using the Books tab on OmniSearch.

All the books in the collection can be accessed with an NHS OpenAthens account and the books are available to staff and students of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, and Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust.

Here are just a small selection of the e-books now available in this collection:

To open a book, click the link and then select the link to ‘Sign in with your OpenAthens account’. Enter your account details and you’ll then have full access to the book, including the ability to download whole chapters as PDF files.

There is no mobile app, but the site is optimised for mobile devices.

Keep informed of the latest research with ‘Read by QxMD’

If you’re looking for an easy way to see the latest articles in your favourite journals or on keywords of interest, Read by QxMD can help.

It’s an app and website that tracks articles in healthcare journals and alerts you to new ones matching your interests. More than that, it can make finding the full-text easy as it links to our journal holdings, or locates open access copies. The app version can store your NHS OpenAthens account details – no more logging into OpenAthens each time you want to access an article!

It’s free to create a Read by QxMD account, and you can link your account to the journal holdings of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, Staffordshire University or Keele University.

You can also add papers to your own virtual collections, recommend papers, and discuss articles.

An alternative to Read by QxMD is our KnowledgeShare service that can now offer tables of contents by email.

Equality and diversity e-book collection

You now have easy access to 23 additional e-books covering topics in equality and diversity. These can all be accessed with an NHS OpenAthens account from anywhere, and are all on the Kortext platform. For more information about using the Kortext e-books and the Kortext mobile app, visit our guide.

Follow the links below to open the books:

Access more information at any time with our new collection of e-books

Access to information anywhere, anytime, is even easier with our growing collection of e-books. We now have a new collection of 138 titles via Kortext, and these include a number of titles in the ‘at a glance’ series as well as many other titles covering medicine, nursing, allied health and midwifery.

All of them can be found via OmniSearch using the ‘Books’ tab (where you can also search all of our other books and e-books) or you can access the Kortext collection directly (click ‘Collections’ after logging in to see the whole range of books available). Access is via an NHS OpenAthens account.

Titles include…

…plus another 131 titles!

You can create a personal account to make it easier to login in future (and to enable you to use the mobile app). Visit the Kortext website, select your institution and login as normal with your NHS OpenAthens account. Logout by using the three dots at the top right of the screen and selecting ‘Sign Out’. When the login screen appears again, select ‘Forgotten Password?‘. Use the email address linked to your OpenAthens account to get a password reset link.

Once you’ve reset your password, you can login to the website and mobile apps with your email and chosen password.