I write this on my second-to-last day as a trainee in Torquay. Reflecting on my time here, I cannot believe how quick it’s all been and how much I’ve managed to learn in such a short time.
In my final weeks I’ve been working on our Summer Entertainment Campaign, where I get to deliver fiction (books or DVDs) directly to our users at work. It’s a good excuse to explore the hospital and a fun way to increase membership. As part of this project, I have also created some web pages to promote our health and well-being collection. After graduating with a undergraduate psychology degree and a specialty in fiction/reading, I find myself drawn to working with our non-clinical and mood boosting collections in particular. To deepen my understanding of the impact reading and fiction can have on well-being, I also enrolled in a MOOC about literature and mental health earlier this year. I really appreciated the support I had from my team to pursue my interests with CPD.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a library traineeship without reflecting on smaller jobs such as book stamping, form processing and answering those all-important questions on the help desk – a.k.a. “where is the cafe” and “can I park my car here.” (Why must NHS parking be so challenging??) In all seriousness, because our team is quite small, I started working almost immediately and have been able to dip into loads of projects. I’ve processed new books and journals, answered and requested inter-library loans, and even helped complete a journal weed. We’ve also been developing marketing strategies, and to help sell the library to the rest of the hospital I’ve been creating presentations and animated videos. I’ve even been on the wards, getting to meet clinical staff and see the hospital “in-action.” No doubt one of the benefits of working in a health library is the variety!
Besides work, I’ve also really enjoyed exploring Devon. While the rain did take some getting used to, I’ve managed to spend a lot of time walking on the moor, meeting alpacas and even tortoise racing. Making friends post-university was a challenge, but everyone here has been lovely and joining teams and classes (candle making and netball anyone??) has really helped.
On my first day of work Lucy and Tim got out a tape measure to check if the computer monitor was the appropriate distance from my face. I remember emailing a friend saying “what have I got myself into.” Almost a year of NHS health and safety policy later, I feel comfortable and grateful for the opportunities I’ve been gifted. I’ve visited libraries all over the country, learned about catheters with nurses, gone to a library Christmas meeting and much, much more. With some sadness, I am ready to close this chapter and leave Devon. Thank you to everyone who has hosted me and helped me over the last year. Good luck, and I hope the next Torbay graduate trainee provides you with as least as many snacks as I did!