Statistics Mentoring Clinics pilot

Title of project: Statistical Mentoring Clinics pilot

Lead library:

Summary:A series of 8 Statistical Mentoring Clinics were offered to WUTH staff between January and July 2009, facilitated in partnership between Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) Integrated Library Service (ILS) / Research and Development (R&D), and Upton Hall School as part of a community engagement arrangement.

Partner organisations:

The project team consisted of representatives from the WUTH Integrated Library Service, the WUTH Research and Development department, and Upton Hall School:

  • Eileen Hume, Head of Trust Integrated Library Service, WUTH
  • Lisa Anderson, Business Intelligence Service Project Manager, WUTH
  • Victoria Kirk, Clinical Librarian, WUTH
  • Professor Rod Owen, R&D Manager, WUTH
  • Ben Cribb, Director of Specialisms (Technology and Communications), Upton Hall School
  • Nigel Gorman, Head of Mathematics, Upton Hall School

Key audience: WUTH staff who would benefit from extra support when faced with using statistics in practice and / or research.

“The story”: For some time the ILS had been approached by library users asking for support in statistics and SPSS training, required by WUTH health professionals in order to support their research work. WUTH no longer had access to the expertise of a statistician within the Trust.
Following an initial meeting involving the project team (as above), a series of 8 Statistical Mentoring Clinics were held at the McArdle Library, Education Centre, Arrowe Park Hospital, with the aim of providing a statistical mentoring clinic for WUTH staff who would benefit from extra support when faced with using statistics in practice and / or research.
Dates and times of the clinics were agreed in advance and then advertised via the ILS training programme and blog. Participants were asked to book their place via the ILS web pages and were able to book time slots of 30 minutes during this specified period.
Those attending the clinic came prepared with a statistical problem or scenario. Where it was not possible to solve statistics problems directly within the clinic, an action plan was drawn up jointly between the facilitator and the attendee to establish a direction of travel towards a solution.
The statistical resources and programs that were supported included Microsoft Excel and SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).

How the initiative or service is delivered: Clinics were delivered on a one-to-one basis due to software licensing arrangements.
Clinics were held within the IT Training Room within the McArdle Library in the Education Centre at Arrowe Park Hospital, which provided access to 6 PCs.
ILS staff presence was necessary to provide access to the Training Room and offer refreshments to visitors.
Clinics were arranged to run between 4.00pm and 6.00pm to cover the ‘twilight’ period between staff shifts, in order to encourage a greater number of participants.

Benefits of this service for the customer: WUTH staff involved in research activities were able to access support and expertise for statistical queries.

Benefits for the library: The ILS was able to expand its portfolio of services and offer a specialised service to researchers within the organisation.

Evaluation: In total, four participants attended the advertised clinics. All participants requested two time slots, in order to spend an hour at the clinic.
Each participant was asked to complete an online evaluation questionnaire following their attendance at the clinic. 2 evaluation questionnaires were received.

Feedback: Please see below the evaluation questionnaire results:
Please tick whether you disagree or agree with the following statements:
I will use this resources / material again 100 % of respondents agree
The session was delivered at the right level of complexity 100 % of respondents agree
The visual aids and handouts were useful 50 % of respondents agree, 50 % of respondents neither agree nor disagree
The trainer has good knowledge of the subject 100 % of respondents agree
How would you rate the following aspects of the training accommodation? From 1 to 5 (1=poor, 5=excellent)
Seating  comfort                                      4                                   5
Noise level                                               5                                   5
Lighting                                                    4                                   5
Temperature                                            4                                   5
Cleanliness of room                                 5                                  5
Breaks (if applicable)                               4                                  5
e.g. time allocated, facilities available

Further comments
“Very calm and comfortable learning environment. Felt most welcome by all members of staff.”
Which aspects of the session did you find the most useful?
“Ability to take own statistical problem along to work through with tutor.”
“To be able to discuss the statistical problems on a personal basis. Various problems were explained to me that I would not have been able to understand for example by reading a book. I was most grateful for this.”
Was there anything you expected to learn in this session and didn’t?
“I learnt more than I expected.”
What will you be able to do tomorrow that you couldn’t do before today’s session?
“I have a better understanding of why the tests are performed and what outcome(s) are desirable from a significance perspective.”
“I would feel more confident to interpret data, and attempt to analyse it rather than feeling completely intimidated by it all.”
Would you recommend this session to a colleague?
100% of respondents said yes
Overall how would you score this session out of 10
(0 = Poor, 10 = Excellent)
Average score 9 out of 10
Please summarise your overall impression of the training session in one sentence:
“Very approachable tutor. Hands-on approach to solving problems.”
“The statistics clinic is an excellent resource that will support and encourage clinical staff to carry out and develop their own research skills.”
Further comments
“The statistics clinic should be widely advertised throughout the hospital, so more staff can benefit from it.”

Marketing: A ‘soft’ marketing approach was taken since this was a pilot project. The clinics were advertised via the ILS training programme and blog. The clinics were also publicised via word of mouth to health professionals known to the ILS and the R&D team as being interested in statistical support. This approach targeted the right audience but did not attract large numbers; there were some advertised clinics which had no participants in attendance.

Collaborative working: The project involved collaboration between the ILS team, the R&D team and the Upton Hall staff. An initial meeting was held to scope the project; following that, communication was mainly by e-mail. The success of this collaboration relied on regular contact by e-mail to confirm dates, participants and statistical scenarios prior to sessions.
The different working patterns of the staff involved had to be taken into account; Upton Hall staff were only available to deliver sessions during school term time and during twilight hours, usually 4pm – 6pm.

Funding streams: The SPSS licence was funded by the WUTH R&D department.

Lessons learned: The feedback indicates that the content and method of delivery of the sessions was a success; wider publicity within the organisation would enable more WUTH staff to benefit from these sessions.
The clinics were offered as 30 minute time slots, but all participants requested an hour at the clinic, suggesting that longer time slots are preferable. Any future clinics could offer an hour-long time slot as the minimum.

Sustainability: The pilot project consisted of 8 sessions over a 7 month period; further discussion may be needed to examine whether this level of commitment is sustainable for the staff involved.
Sustainability of the clinics would also depend on increasing the numbers of health professionals in attendance; this would require a wider marketing strategy. The possibility of offering the clinics to other organisations within the wider Wirral Local Health Community (Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, NHS Wirral) might also be considered.

Sources of further information?

Start date: 1st January 2009

End date: 31st July 2009


  • Lisa Anderson, Business Intelligence Project Manager,
  • Victoria Kirk, Clinical Librarian,

Telephone: 0151 604 7223

Date submitted: 9th November 2009


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