April 8, 2008

Coincidence? I think not.

Posted in Musings, Opinion at 11:02 am by Alexia

MPOW, and the health system it is a part of, is going through a transition.  By transition I mean layoffs.  In an email sent to associates, administration stated that layoffs of clinical personnel would be minimal  so as to affect patient care as little as possible.

I contend the library should fit into that category.  While I agree librarians do not interact directly with patients I will argue we affect direct patient care.  What would the surgeon, who was in the operating room with his patient open on the table, have done if he did not have the librarian to call when he needed information immediately about something he didn’t expect to see occurred in his patient?  What would a cardiologist do when a patient arrives with a rare condition?  What would the ER do when patients suffering from a bioharzardous chemical with which they do not know the antidote?

I do not think administration thinks of us in this  manner.  We do not know yet if we are affected or not, but I content we are as clinical as the pathology lab or biomedical engineering.  Only time will tell how administration feels.  All bets are off when a consultant is brought in but I had hoped that our hard work and effort had paid off.  We shall see.

EDIT: I left an entire portion of this post out accidentally, and it was an important part.  Mental note to self – never post before coffee.

Two of the hospitals in our health system, including MPOW, were recently ranked in the top 15 for major teaching hospitals.  What do these two hospitals have in common?  You guessed it – larger libraries with more than one professional librarian on staff.  Is this a coincidence?  I think no.t.  I think that in order to be an excellent center for clinical practice and education you need an excellent knowledge-based information center (aka – library) will excellent professional librarians to help clinicians find the best, most appropriate information in the time they  need it.

This reminds me of the time a nurse from the ED came down to the library.  He’d been searching for treatment of chemicals released from burning PCP piping and had been searching for over two hours.  This was for the ED’s monthly hazmat drill.  Had this been an actual emergency the patients would have been out of luck.  We found the information for him in 10 minutes.  He was so impressed that he invited the librarians to the debrief meeting and from there we ended up on the hazmat team.  Ergo, librarians DO affect patient care directly, even if we don’t directly care for patients.


September 25, 2007

I failed as a librarian mother

Posted in Musings at 8:27 am by Alexia

Last night, while at the computer, my son (who is 9 and in 4th grade) wanted to look up facts on Tiger Stadium.  He and his classmates have been learning how to use the computer and the Internet at school.  He went to Google, which I overlooked because we were at a computer that was not mine and Google was the default home page.  He typed in Tiger Stadium and browsed the list of hits.  He zoomed in on the Wikipedia entry and ignored all others.  When I tried to explain to him that while Wikipedia might be a good source it is not the only source and he needs to use more than one.  He wouldn’t have any of that.  Wikipedia was it.  Granted, in this case the information was very accurate, but still… Wikipedia?  And only Wikipedia?  I’ve definitely fallen down on my librarian mother role.

I am a bit surprised the media specialist hasn’t talked about evaluating sources.  I am hoping she just hasn’t gotten there yet, as this is only the beginning of the third full week of school and they only have “library” on day a week.  What hit home for me for the first time, I mean really hit home, is that my son is going to learn about stuff on the Internet with or without me.

On a positive note, I have convinced my boyfriend that there is more to medical information on the Internet then WebMD.  He was actually going to search MedlinePlus for information last night.

September 18, 2007

Work / work balance

Posted in Musings at 11:06 am by Alexia

As time goes on and my career progresses I have become increasingly active in local, state and regional associations.  In addition, my job responsibilities have grown.  I am quickly reaching that point in my career where I’m concerned about my work / work balance.

I believe it is important to be active in associations.  The education and networking opportinities are reasons enough.  But, when you come right down to it your employer is paying you to work for the organization and even if, like me, you have “must participate in professional activities” in your job description and evaluation your focus must be your workplace.

Admininstration has revamped our evaluation structure and our departmental and individual goals have to relate to the operating unit’s goals and objectives.  We are being asked to quantify our goals and results and suddenly my entire job is topsy-turvy.  I don’t like making choices between work and professional activities but if I want to keep my sanity I must. 

How do you make choices in terms of work / work balance?