MOOCs, Meetings and a Flu Shot


Week two started off quickly, with more book processing and bookmark making. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of this in the upcoming year!

On Monday I also shadowed my supervisor at the All-Managers meeting, where the hospital’s senior staff (e.g. director of nursing, directors of finance), come together to brief on the hospital’s state-of-affairs. This was very informative, and provided a greater insight into the NHS as a whole, and as a political entity.

Then, I got a flu shot! A good thing about working in a hospital is that they are very health-focused (obviously!), and thus they were offering flu shots in my building all week. It took five minutes away from the desk, and hopefully it’ll mean that I won’t get the flu this year.

Apart from that, I’ve started a MOOC.


Two other staff members are enrolled, and this particular MOOC is run by an NHS librarian. The LIHNN (Library and Information Health Network North West (of England)) Introduction to Literature Searching MOOC “aims to provide librarians with the knowledge, skills and examples to provide an effective literature search service.” 

I worked at the Occidental library my senior year as a Peer Research Advisor, and my favorite aspect of that role was helping students with literature searches. Hopefully this course will prepare me to do the same in my new role, but with medical students and staff.

And yes! That’s week two. Tonight it’s Halloween, and I’m going to go watch Suffragette with a co-worker. Because what’s scarier than the denial of civil and political rights?

Cancelled Hike and Bantham Beach

Well…so much for hiking! It was raining on Saturday and the trip was cancelled. Unfortunately I didn’t know before I left the flat that morning, but luckily there were a couple of other members of the group also at the meeting point, and we all went out for coffee instead. They were very nice, and encouraged me to try again next week. Fingers crossed that we actually make it to the trailhead this time!

Despite that setback, I still had a lovely time in Exeter on Saturday. Then, on Sunday my manager and her family invited me to go to Bantham beach with them. It was a beautiful day, and I’m so glad I went.


Week One

I just finished my first week of work, and let me tell you, it has been a blur! I can’t believe how much has happened.

My official title is “Graduate Library Trainee,” and I’m working for the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (library homepage). The library is located next to Torbay Hospital’s Horizon Centre, but it also provides services for community partners/organizations within this trust that aren’t the hospital. According to the trust’s website

The Trust runs Torbay Hospital, nine community hospitals and provides health and social care in Dawlish, Teignmouth, Totnes, Dartmouth, Torbay, Newton Abbot, Ashburton, Bovey Tracey and the surrounding area.

This week acted as a crash course in library work. There are four people in my department, and the library manager also just started. On Monday we signed paperwork (lots of it), and went on a tour of the hospital (even getting to see where the hospital helicopters land!). I had only been to the library and horizon centre for my interview, and didn’t realize how big the hospital is. Here is a map.

One of the strangest moments of training happened when completing health and safety checks. Here we were required to measure (with a tape measure) the distance between the computer monitor and my head… I guess they don’t want to be sued if I strain my eyes!

Because our department is relatively small, I was able to get a taste of many different jobs, and start working almost immediately. Tasks that I’ve been working on include: processing new books and journals, answering and requesting interlibrary loans, and processing the paperwork that goes into signing up new students/doctors for the library. I also got to observe an induction training for new nurses.

It is overwhelming how nice and accommodating my coworkers are. They have worked so hard to make me feel at ease in this place, and are always ready to answer any questions that may come up (not only about library work – I’m also getting lots of good information about things to do and see in the area!).

It’s also very interesting to work in a healthcare library, and see the differences between public v. academic v. healthcare/speciality libraries. For instance, there are many ethical issues around medical and healthcare librarianship that I never considered.

After work most days I come back to my flat and crash. It is a little overwhelming to start at a new job, and so far my building is very quiet (and not social). To try to make friends I therefore am joining Devon Bootlegs on their weekly walk tomorrow. Hopefully the 6:30am wakeup will be well worth it!

I’m Back!

I’m back!

What have I done since my last post? A lot!

After graduating in May with a B.A. in Psychology, I spent the summer looking for a job. It turns out that the process of job hunting is much slower than I anticipated. It was difficult to deal with rejection, even though I was having fun in the meantime. At least being unemployed meant that I had time to explore Los Angeles and much of the Pacific NW!
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During my last three months in the United States I lived on couches, floors, and spare rooms up and down the West Coast. A BIG thank you to everyone who hosted me!! I also did a stint as a trade-worker in a Seattle youth hostel through

After months of not hearing back from employers, I went to a family reunion in South Dakota. We were less than a day into the reunion when I received an email asking me to come to Torquay (South Devon, England) for an interview. Scheduled for the following week!

It was sudden, but the job excited me. So I collected my family’s delta miles, and booked a flight to Heathrow.


It’s a long way to go just for an interview, but ultimately the risk paid off as I received an offer just four days after stepping off the plane.

So here I am! Since then I’ve been busy at my grandparent’s house in Ilkley becoming a “proper” UK resident: finding a place to live, setting up a bank account, becoming obsessed with the Great British Bake Off…

Two days ago I left Ilkley to start this new chapter in Torquay. I’ve decided to start this blog again to keep everyone updated on my year in England. Hopefully I will do and see things worthy of documentation!