on hospital librarianship


When I was presented with the potential opportunity to interview a hospital librarian, I was interested but alarmed.  Hospitals mean doctors, and while I respect doctors (and latch onto most neurological concepts quickly) I am fully aware that doctoring involves a lot of science that I don’t understand.  Hospital librarianship would regard a lot of that.

Well, yes and no.  The article on hospital librarianship has reassured me that such a profession is not out of the realm of possibility due to my lack of scientific know-how.  “Hospital librarians regularly help hospitals address [patient safety and patient care] by developing systems to acquire, organize, and disseminate essential resources that promote clinical learning and assist clinicians in providing excellent clinical care.”  So… basically the role that any librarian fills.  An embedded librarian, involved in the organization of information.  Involved in helping people learn and facilitating the spread of knowledge.

It involves helping users find results accurately.  Searches that are aided by librarians are considerably more successful, apparently, and that is one of my goals as a future librarian: making the search for information more successful.  There are skills required to do this, very specific information, but it’s largely organizational and related to the literature at hand.

They are involved in hospital rounds and patient care, apparently, “and the often have a positive impact on patient length of stay.”  Not from enacting medical practices, but just by doing their jobs.  They offer their assistance to everyone in the hospital; “close collaboration between clinicians and librarians can provide effective results.”

They “play a key role in supporting efficient and effective hospital operations by providing information and services to decision makers throughout the hospital.”  They help staffers, clinicians, administration; they “reduce staff frustration and enhance the overall job satisfaction of hospital and health professionals throughout the institution.”  They do what they can to make everyone else’s jobs easier.

They support “health learning resources,” physical and technological.  They support “the transfer of new knowledge” and techniques for research.  They support customer relations, patient-family relations, “selecting, personalizing, and filtering quality information for them at their health literacy levels.”  Basically, it’s the embedded librarianship you might find anywhere, applied to a possibly even more practical purpose.  And that sounds thoroughly useful.


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