Journal club: but not as you know it

Ms Fiona Swinton1

1THS – N, Launceston, Australia


The implementation of a ‘nursing journal club’ in an Acute Medical Unit took an unconventional path, resulting in positive outcomes for staff and patients.

Feedback from staff of inconsistent education and not feeling consulted on practice changes was contributing to low morale. After research into ideas to improve work satisfaction and nurse well-being, a journal club was proposed.

Consultation with healthcare improvement experts recommended the inclusion of staff in the development, structure and content of the club. It was integral to ensure that nurses controlled the club rather than it being ‘forced’ upon them by senior staff.

Guidance was provided on how to locate articles and lead a presentation for critical appraisal first, with nurses in non-leadership roles invited to present relevant articles.

Positive dialogue and collaboration were occurring around the content of the articles rather than in their analysis, leading to the development of nurse initiated working groups. The link to evidence-based practice and peer learning was also enhanced with personal experiences. The nurses subsequently reviewed the purpose of the group and nominated to rename this a ‘journal discussion group’, reflecting that the article content was more valuable to them.

Encouraging nurses to have input into a project devised to improve their work satisfaction has led to its success. Abandoning a traditional structure of the journal club for one that suits the needs of the nurses has resulted in positive changes to practice and personal well-being.


Fiona has practiced as the Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Acute Medical Unit (AMU) at the LGH for the previous 6 years. She has a background as a diabetes nurse educator but her main passion is in quality improvement and  promoting a positive culture, particularly by encouraging her team in the AMU to be actively involved in decision making.