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A journal club provides a forum for a group to collectively keep up with, and critically evaluate, current medical literature. Whether your unit or department wants to start a journal club or re-energize an existing one, the Medical Library can get you moving in the right direction.

Journal clubs can be an avenue for obtaining professional development credit, creating presentations on relevant topics, or sharpening literature appraisal skills. With the advent of evidence-based medicine, research skills, including learning to formulate a clinical question, can be strengthened through participation in a journal club.

Did you know the first organized journal club is attributed to Sir William Osler in Montreal, Canada in 1875? It provided a way for medical residents to review, discuss, and appraise new medical literature at a time when individual journal subscriptions were unaffordable. In 1889, Oslo established the first journal club in the United States at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Here are some suggestions for getting started:

  1. Designate a group facilitator (this role can rotate)
  2. Organize the number of group participants
  3. Determine purpose of the club: critical appraisal or EBP
  4. Select article(s) for review/discussion (the Medical Library can assist with accessing full-text)
  5. Determine parameter for presentations

Journal clubs have proven effective as a teaching tool for both professionals and students in various medical fields. Ultimately, it can help facilitate the best clinical outcome for a diagnosis and improve or change the quality of patient care. Other benefits of a journal club include:

  • Earning CME or CNE professional development credit
  • Learning critical appraisal skills for literature
  • Learning to formulate the clinical question using the PICO model of literature searching
  • Strengthening presentation and organizational skills
  • Leading group discussions as a facilitator

For medical librarian assistance with a journal club, contact the Medical Library.