One Month In…

Yesterday marked the end of my first month at TSDFT. Since my last blog post I have:

  • Completed hospital induction with over 100 other new clinical and non-clinical trust staff. Some highlights of this two day affair included: a 30 minute presentation on hand washing, multiple tea breaks, and learning how to lift boxes.
  • Gone on a 2.5hr tour of the wards, thus getting to meet clinical staff and see the hospital “in-action.” This was very informative, as it helped contextualize my work. Also my manager is thinking about conducting short database tutorials on the wards, and so it was important to see which departments were interested in this scheme.
  • Learned the difference between a healthcare assistant, trainee assistant practitioner, staff nurse, senior sister, matron…phew!
  • Conducted a journal weed, which includes throwing away 6 months of our journal holdings. This is important because as a medical library, we are ethically bound to only show the most recent (a.k.a. last 5 years) of research. Also, to be honest, we just did not have the shelf space.
  • Started hiking with the Devon Bootlegs. So far I’ve been to Dartmoor, which is really stunning. I even saw some dartmoor ponies.
Lustleigh Village
Dartmoor Ponies
  • Started to learn more about literature searches and the healthcare databases that we offer. The MOOC is helping a lot.
  • Updated the management catalogue. In our library we use the SWIMS catalogue to keep track of everything from users to journal holdings. This has to be updated constantly: adding new library members, deleting those who have expired, updating new books, and so forth.
  • Going through a retiring psychologist’s donated books to see which ones were still relevant and could be added to the library’s collection (after a while of searching it became abundantly clear that none of the books were younger than me…even if I added an extra 10/20 years to my age).
  • Been introduced to CQC (Ofsted for hospitals). They’re coming for inspections in February, and while the library is not a top-priority (we’re not sure if they’ll come to speak to us directly), we’ve still started to compile an evidence-base to show we’ve met their standards.
  • Joined a netball team. We meet every Tuesday, and go workout at a local gym a couple of times a week (optional of course!).
  • Booked train tickets for a weekend in London.

…and that just scratches the surface! It’s been incredibly busy, but I’m still so glad this is where I ended up. I’m learning a lot about healthcare libraries, and even made some friends.

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!