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So You Want to be a Medical Librarian?

So You Want to be a Medical Librarian?

I came across an interesting read the other day that I thought I’d share: So you want to be a medical librarian, perhaps? The article interviews four medical librarians and gives useful advice on how they got started in the field. For any of you out there interested in pursuing a career in the health sciences, as I am, it’s definitely worth a read!

My own tips, which I have done so far, include the following:

  • join a professional association (CHLA)
  • take a course in medical librarianship in grad school- my favourite class at SJSU!
  • complete a medical terminology course- St. John Ambulance offers classes
  • focus your undergrad degree on a health-related specialty- I majored in psychology
  • practice searches using PubMed and become familiar with the MESH browser, as well as any medical databases you have access to
  • follow medical librarians/libraries/associations on Twitter and Facebook
  • interview a medical librarian
  • volunteer in a hospital library or any health information resource facility
  • Good luck!

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    Tis the Season…

    Tis the Season…

    … to cough, sneeze, and be bedridden for a week. Yes, it’s flu season again- make sure your hand sanitizers are fully stocked in the library!  For the past week I’ve been fighting off the relentless flu bug, and it got me thinking that a health-related post was just what the doctor ordered 😉

    So, what do you do when a patron requires information on their own health concern? Here are a few tips and resources:

    • First of all never, ever offer health advice. That’s a big no-no. I would assume that’s a given, but you never know…
    • Be very sensitive when probing for more information. I know you need information to conduct a proper reference interview, but too much questioning may scare the patron off.
    • It’s a good idea to have a list of local walk-in clinics and hospitals handy.
    • When looking for reliable health information online, check  that the page is HONcode Certified. The Health on the Net Foundation created the HON Code of Conduct for medical and health websites. Certified websites are guaranteed to be authoritative, complementary (not intended to replace medical treatment/advice), justifiable, and transparent (author of website is easy to contact.) In addition, these websites respect the privacy of viewers, properly cite the source of published information, disclose financial sources, and clearly distinguish advertising from editorial content.
    • Medline Plus is a great resource, produced by the National Library of Medicine. Their medical dictionary can come in handy when a patron is unfamiliar with a medical term.
    • PubMed Central if you need more scholarly (less consumer health) information
    • HealthLink BC and Public Health Agency of Canada Health Promotion for my fellow Canadians
    • Mental health issue? Direct your patron to the National Institute of Mental Health website, or even better, my own LibGuide 😉

    Be well!

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