Miles of information for medical librarians

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Yesterday I had my first chance to round with the residents and attending physician.  It was a great opportunity and experience. It was very beneficial to me and I believe it was beneficial for the team.

Our hospital is a teaching hospital with a Family Practice Residency Program. I rounded with internal medicine attending physician and residents for 1 shift. The rounds started with an overview of the cases, then rounding on all the patients, break for lunch/conferences, and a follow-up meeting to discuss additional research or changes in patients.

I am not going to post about anything specific I experienced but instead focus on a more general approach about medical librarians preparing for rounds.

Prior to rounding I was aware of some of the basics:

  1. Follow all hospital policies regarding patient privacy, dress code, wear your badge, hand washing, etc.
  2. Bring a notepad
  3. Bring a clipbard that has storage in order to carry business cards, keys, etc.
  4. Wear comfortable closed toe shoes
  5. Stay out of the way
  6. Only ask questions when reviewing afterwards
  7. Take good notes and use phonetic spelling

These were the obvious items and the ones to easily prepare for.  If you just knew these items then you would have a successful experience, but there are other items I didn’t think about.

  1. Comfortable socks
    1. It is a little annoying and distracting to have socks that are quickly disappearing into your shoes as you are rushing to keep up.
  2. Prepare for the unexpected
    1. I’m a librarian, not clinical. I am not squeamish around blood or anything else but it is something you should prepare for if you are squeamish and something to keep in mind if you are not.
  3. Long hair? Put it up.
    1. Yeah learned this one the hard way. I was sweating as we took the stairs everywhere we went. The hospital isn’t too large, just 10 floors, and I’m not use to the fast pace.
  4. Listen closely.
    1. Seems obvious, but it is very important when you are in a noisy area, several people talking and the person you need to hear has a foreign accent. I was not prepared for this and was constantly piecing things together.
  5. Restroom
    1. Go before rounds start. I should have thought about this after arriving to work early and already finished 2 cups of coffee when rounds started. Yes you can go during rounds, and I probably could have but it is harder to keep up.  Also, I didn’t want to hinder the group by having them wait on me. Again I felt privileged just to go.
  6. SOLO Hospital Librarian
    1. I have to keep reminding myself that I am a solo hospital librarian. If there are 15 questions asked during rounds you will not be able to complete all of the questions and get lunch in 2 hours. It’s just not possible. I know I tried.
  7. Work doesn’t stop
    1. There is no magic library fairy godmother, genie, or any other wish granter that will check the mail, put away journals, fill Docline requests, or answer all of the other research questions waiting on you while your rounding. I wish, but alas the mail is still piled up and the research requests keep mounting.

While at times I felt overwhelmed, rounding with the residents and attending physician was an excellent experience.  It really helped me to understand the day-to-day challenges they experience.

My goal is to use the experience to shape library resources and future grants.  Another goal is to shadow a nurse for  a day and possibly a pharmacist.  (reminding myself again that I am a solo hospital librarian and time is a valuable commodity). Right now there are no plans to make rounding part of my routine. It was more a chance for me to experience rounding and to also demonstrate how the library can help in the day-to-day care of patients.

If you have rounded with physicians, shadowed nurses, or participated in any other clinical aspects please post about your experiences and provide any advice/suggestions. I know I probably missed several items, these were just a few that stuck out yesterday.

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Comments on: "Rounding: A solo medical librarian’s perspective" (2)

  1. I’m glad it was a good experience! The heat/hair thing is something I wouldn’t have thought of right away, but now that you mention it I’m reminded that one of our units is often excessively hot (to me, anyway) – wearing lighter clothing is another coping strategy. The restroom tip is another great one, which can be accompanied by “don’t drink too much coffee before rounds start.”

  2. [...] including her experience as a hospital librarian. Excellent idea, Alisha! I liked the post Rounding: A solo medical librarian’s perspective with several practical tips if you join the round as a librarian. I hope you can find time to write [...]

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