Each month we share a day in the life of a clinical librarian. This month we headed over to Essex to interview the Library Services Manager and Clinical Librarian at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust.
Who are you and where do you work?I am Liz Hunwick and I work full time as a Library Services Manager and Clinical Librarian at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust in Essex.
How long have you been there?
I've been here for nine years now, initially as a Services Librarian, then as Co-Manager. I deal more with services and my colleague deals with resources. Three years ago we instigated a Clinical Librarian Service and I lead on this. Before I came to the NHS I was a university subject librarian with a weird mix of subjects at one point including politics and international relations, environmental health and nursing!
What attracted you to Clinical Librarianship?
Implementing a CL service was something we had considered for some time for a variety of reasons, partly to raise our profile and also to become visible to staff on the floor. Clinicians are so busy now we wanted to take the library and the evidence to them rather than wait for them to come through the door. Our Trust has been through the mill in recent years. We were one of Keogh's original fourteen Trusts in special measures and we wanted to play our part in supporting our colleagues in raising standards and delivering excellent care. I love building relationships in the clinical environment, seeing how consultants' minds work and being part of teams that really care about what they do. Even if I don’t get any searches when I go on the ward I'm learning and interacting all the time and this has had a tremendously positive impact on every area of my work.
What does an average day at work involve?
There’s no such thing as an average day but they usually start with a cup of tea and reading emails! Because I have two roles and we’ve been quite short staffed recently I've had to limit the CL service more than I would like. Currently I go to our Critical Care Unit once a week for a ward round; a couple of paediatrics morning handover meetings and my co-manager goes to the ITU MDT meetings in our Cardiothoracic Centre twice a week.
We’ve found that being more visible has had the knock on effect of more people contacting us directly for searches. In the last couple of years search requests have gone up about 200% and sometimes I feel all I do is searching. Recently I've been doing the literature searching for a couple of systematic reviews which has taken hours and hours. I quite often end up doing things like that at home without interruptions!
More requests for training have also come out of being in the clinical environment, some of which is now embedded in the departments. For example, I spend time with nurses who are doing their critical care qualification. I've also done a lot of work with the lead critical care specialist nurse, looking at ways to improve the patient experience during and after being in intensive care.
If you weren’t a Librarian, what would you be?
I didn’t come into librarianship until my thirties. At one point I thought I might be a history teacher but I found out that I’m not that good with children en masse!
Tell us a joke or a non-work fact about yourself
I’ve just found out I’m going to be a grandmother…I’m very excited but I also feel way too young for this!!