Well the fellowship has come to a pause due to the government shutdown. We came in for a couple of hours this morning, and then we were sent home.
In the meantime, I will be making a firm decision on which fall projects I want to complete. I had hoped to meet with my preceptor (what they call our mentors for the fellowship) today to receive some advice. I feel like I should go ahead and make the decision though, so that I can be ready to get started when things return to normal. I decided to choose two projects. Right now I have a “top four”, and need to figure out which two I am most interested in. All five Associates have to choose from a list of proposed projects that are submitted by the various divisions/units. Fortunately, there is such a wide of range of interests among the Associates this year, and a good variety of the types of projects possible, that there was very little overlap in project selection. So we won’t have to
fight negotiate with each other for projects. I can’t discuss what my potential projects are at this time though…
Another thing I may do with my time off is write more blog posts. Great idea, right? I would like to write some type of “intro to NLM” post because I think many non-librarians (and especially those not involved in health care) don’t have a full understanding of everything that NLM does. I know I didn’t. I’m still learning, and I know I can’t cover it all in one post. There is so much more than meets the eye with this library, and I wish more of the general public knew what a gem this institute is to our country (and to the world really). Other topics will probably relate to interesting information I have gleaned from courses, or meetings.
Today starts the beginning of National Medical Librarians Month. The theme this year is “Saving You Time So You Can Save Lives”. Related to this theme is an interesting post, “Should Your Doctor Consult the Librarian?” which discusses an article by Julia Sollenberger that examines the evolving role and value of librarians in health care.
Today also marks the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace. See healthcare.gov for more information on signing up for insurance. Resources for librarians who will be assisting patrons in using the Health Insurance Marketplace can be found on the ALA website.
Well that’s all I have to share for now. :)
I just completed my fourth week of the fellowship and the month is just about over. Boy do they keep us busy! I know I have been neglecting you all, but honestly, when I get home, my brain is tired and I haven’t felt like writing. However, I promise to (try) and do better. I don’t want my blog to get dusty.
So you may be wondering, just what have we been doing that would make me so tired? Weeelllll……
- We had a few orientation sessions to learn what would be expected of us
- We posed for a group picture and headshots
- We attended three welcome receptions at NLM, and one black-tie gala in DC
- We attended a 1.5 day Board of Regents meeting
- We attended a library operations All Staff Meeting
- We’ve had ten meetings with senior staff members–deputy director, associate directors, deputy associate directors, etc. NLM has a lot of senior staff — I think there are still some more meetings to come.
- We went on a half-day field trip to the NIH Library.
- We started curriculum units. So far we have had collection development, collection access, and production of NCBI literature databases. The curriculum units will continue through January. Next week we will have organization of information.
- In addition to curriculum, we will have 1-2 small fall projects to complete. The different divisions/units in NLM have submitted proposals and we can choose from the list. We received the list this week, and we hope to make our choices by next Friday.
See what I mean?
There have been some adjustments to get used to. For one thing I have a much longer commute now. My previous job is ten minutes from where I live. The NLM is a little farther (about 40-45 minutes with no traffic). However, since the fellowship is only a year, and I don’t know where I will be employed next, I chose not to move closer. I didn’t feel like going through an apartment hunt for something short-term. I’m regretting that decision now. Since I’m commuting during rush hour, it takes me at least an hour each way. I’ve never had to drive that far on a regular basis…I’m spending ten hours a week in my car…but I try not to think about that too much. This kind of commute is the norm for a lot of people in the DC/MD/VA area anyway, I’ve just been lucky up until now to not have to experience it.
Another adjustment is wardrobe. My previous job I primarily wore jeans & t-shirts ( and I love to dress casual). Now, I have to wear professional attire. Which means dressier pants (or skirts) with blouses and blazers or cardigans. Oh, and dressier shoes. So, I’ve had to do some shopping…and I’m still adding to the wardrobe. It requires a little more thought when picking out my clothes for each day. On the plus side, I am slowly finding a better sense of style.
However, overall, the positives of the fellowship experience far outweigh those small inconveniences.
So that’s all for right now. I hope to be able to write a few more posts this weekend to further reflect on some of my experiences so far. I’m very excited to be at the NLM, and I’m looking forward to all that is to come!
One week down, and many more to go! This week mostly consisted of orientation activities as we acclimate to learning and working at the NLM. I am still processing what I have absorbed so far, and will write more later. Suffice it to say, this will be an interesting, enlightening, challenging, and good year.
If you haven’t seen it yet, our new group picture has been posted on the NLM website.
Being the busy bee that I am, I’m always on the lookout for extra courses or activities I can participate in to boost my employ-ability and expand my knowledge of the health sciences. One such opportunity that I’ve had my eye on is the Georgetown University Mini-Medical School. This mini-med school provides a twice-a-year, 8-week session of lectures on various aspects of the human body and medicine. The class curriculum mirrors that of a first-year medical student, although I assume it is simplified some for the layperson. The sessions are open to the public as well as to university faculty, staff and alumni.
I wanted to enroll in mini-med school last year, but there were conflicts with my classes or other activities. Now my evening schedule is open and I can find new things to add on. So I have enrolled in the Fall session which starts in October. The topics for this session are anatomy, pharmacology, mind-body medicine, infectious diseases, psychiatry, dermatology, orthopaedic surgery, and obstetric care and genetics. I will do my best to take the time to blog about what I will be learning.
Through participating in this mini-med school, I hope to gain more knowledge of the human body and its conditions, more familiarity with medical terminology, and some insight into the experience of medical students (since I’m interested in working in academia).
Want more information about mini-med schools in general or want to find one near you? Visit the website of the NIH Office of Science Education. They have a Mini-Med School Locator. However, I will warn you that some of the programs on the list are not running at this time. If this is something that interests you, definitely check it out. Georgetown does charge a fee for their program, but I have seen some other universities that offer their mini-med school for free.
Have you participated in a mini-med school before? If so, what was your experience?
I just saw this posted on another librarian’s blog, and I had to share it here too!
eHarmony’s 15 Reasons to Date a Librarian
Shh! Just because you shouldn’t ask loudly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invite that cute librarian out for a drink.
Here are 15 reasons to date a librarian:
1. Librarians are literate. This is likely not the case for everyone you’ve dated. (If you have a fear of books, don’t even bother.)
2. Librarians are well-educated. Many of them have master’s degrees.
3. They’re passionate about learning and making information accessible to everyone. They’re sponges for new information and want to share it.
4. Librarians are great Scrabble opponents. (“Great” means “undefeated.”)
5. Librarians are organized, analytical and budget-conscious.
6. Some librarians are really great with kids, engaging them in summer and after-school reading programs.
7. Librarians make a good, consistent living. They’re not rich, but most of them aren’t scraping by either. Bonus: They have steady, predictable hours that are easy to plan dates around.
8. Librarians are doing what they love. Most librarians don’t accidentally fall into their jobs. It can be a long journey to finding full-time library work.
9. Some people have a “thing” for librarian types. If that’s you, date one.
10. After getting hit on by awkward library patrons, your smiling face at the end of the day will be very welcome.
11. Not only can you visit your significant other at work, you probably should. Renew that card!
12. Librarians value punctuality. (Otherwise, it’s $0.25 a day.)
13. Strange characters with even stranger requests frequent libraries. You’ll hear lots of great stories.
14. Just because the work environment is a calm, quiet one, doesn’t mean that your date won’t appreciate a fun night out or can’t hold his/her own in lively conversation. Ignore stereotypes. They don’t really apply anymore.
15. Bedtime stories.
Have you ever dated a librarian?
It’s my “vacation” time. I’ll be visiting family and friends down south for a couple of weeks. I just wanted to take it easy for a little bit before the fellowship starts. I have been receiving a lot of emails related to the fellowship though. There are several things we have to do before it starts, such as approve our business cards, schedule the fingerprinting appointment, complete e-courses for information security awareness and privacy awareness training, complete the questionnaire for the background investigation, and some other miscellaneous details.
About three weeks until we get started!
After three years and nine months of working with PGCMLS, it’s time to move on. Even though I’m excited about the new direction I’m taking in my library career, it’s not easy to leave this library system. Mainly because I worked with such great people at the “HH” and “SD” branches, and I will miss them.
A group of my coworkers took me out for a farewell dinner. After we finished eating, they went around the table and everyone took turns sharing memories, or words of encouragement. I totally wasn’t expecting that. By the end, I shed some tears, I was so touched. I don’t share that to say “look at me, I’m so awesome”, but as a reminder to myself of the influence and impact that that can be made on a personal level in the workplace.
One of my personal mantras used to be “I go to work to make money, not friends”. I never meant that in a mean way, but I just wasn’t interested in mixing the personal and the professional too much. Granted every workplace is different, but I am blessed that in working with the Hillcrest Heights and Spauldings branches, I found a safe place where people encourage each other, commiserate with each other, laugh with (and at) each other, and sometimes even pray together, All while providing exemplary customer service and professional behavior. I was kind of aloof at the beginning, but they pulled me out of my shell (to a certain extent), and have made a big impact on my life as well.
To the HH & SD crew, you are some special folks, and I will miss you lots!
(and have fun with all of our “special” customers)
This pic is from one of my “conversations” with a deaf patron. He could speak, but not very clearly, so I would need to exchange notes sometimes to make sure I understood his information need. He would come in with THE MOST RANDOM requests illegibly scribbled on scraps on paper, and based on things he had seen on tv or in movies. This note came from a time where he wanted a picture of the tattooed arm of a character in a movie. I can’t remember now which actor was playing the role. Unfortunately, I was not able to find it. I will not lie, there were a couple of times I saw him coming and would duck back into the staff area, so one of my coworkers would have to help him. But for some reason, he liked me helping him….I think because I was patient and made a good faith effort to find whatever he was looking for no matter how strange I thought it was (the price for a hand-held lie detector and a hand-held odor detector–why??). But I digress…having flashbacks to difficult patrons.
So this is it. My stint in public libraries is over. It has been…interesting … with moments of drama, frustration, laughter, and the reward of our patrons’ gratitude. I learned a lot though about reference interviews, dealing with difficult people, professionalism, creating library programs, and the importance of advocating your worth to the community and to administration. Many skills that will carry over, no matter what setting I find myself in next.
Medical librarianship, here I come!
I started this blog when I started my work with PGCMLS. Care to reminisce with me? Looking back over the past three years …