*Working in the Rochester Methodist Hospital Patients’ Library

January 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm 1 comment

Diversity is a key point in our libraries and I feel so lucky that this strength is emphasized by management and co-workers.  I oversee the daily operations of Methodist Patients’ Library where I serve a wide range of patrons from many countries, religions, beliefs, and cultures.  I am also encouraged to use a variety of different skills to solve problems and serve patients’ needs.  What fun to come to work with the knowledge that my supervisor, Karen Larsen, director Michael Homan, and co-workers will allow me to try creative solutions to improve the library!

As a team building effort, I developed a website called “Hot Rocks” which recognizes any library staff member for extraordinary service — to patrons, colleagues, other departments, and patients.  This recognition program includes giving a hand held pebble or “Hot Rock” to staff members in recognition of exceptional service, relying on Mayo Service Essentials as a baseline for defining service.  These “Hot Rocks” are printed with 10 different slogans such as “Soar” and “Shine.”  Over many months, they are passed from person to person as recognition occurs, but individuals will have a “token” to keep as a reminder of their recognition, such as a keychain or picture magnet, as well as a certificate.  Pictures of the “Hot Rocks” are shown on the Mayo Clinic Library Staff web page.  This project has been one of the most uplifting aspects of my job.

I love taking care of patient needs in the library.  For example, I help patients manage email needs, find consumer health information, recommend fiction and nonfiction books, assist in changing airline tickets, provide relaxing CDs, and find stock reports and hometown newspapers online.  Each day offers a wide cross section of questions and answers with another opportunity to provide compassionate service.

Additionally, I take time off to work as a standardized patient for the medical students at the College of Medicine.  I assist students in improving doctor/patient communication through role playing exercises.  As I play the part of a patient with unique needs, I enjoy watching the medical students further develop and explore their empathetic skills to explain procedures, take histories, and delve into their impressive knowledge in providing solutions to any difficult scenario we standardized patients offer.  I truly believe that Mayo is training a new generation of extraordinary doctors.

Mayo has also provided me with excellent educational opportunities inside and outside the institution.  With the support of Mayo’s tuition benefits, I received a master’s degree in counseling and psychological services which has proved invaluable in my work and interpersonal relationships.  As one of my employee benefits, I attend Psychiatry and Psychology Grand Rounds to receive continuing education credits, as well as communication and management classes taught in interesting ways by expert Mayo staff.  I highly recommend any Mayo employee attend classes taught by our extraordinary librarians, especially if you are a writer, researcher, or student.  

My co-workers inspire me to use these diverse skills in implementation of the Mayo Mission that “the needs of the patient come first” — in building better teamwork, improving patient care, and leading the way in providing excellent health care, research, and education.  Stop by any Mayo library.  We’ll make you feel welcome.

Debbie Fuehrer
Rochester Methodist Hospital Patients’ Library, Mayo Clinic Libraries

*Originally published in Sharing Mayo Clinic blog: http://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2009/11/17/patients-library/

Entry filed under: Feature Articles.

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1 Comment

  • 1. Mary Sheeran  |  May 13, 2010 at 8:54 am

    It’s exciting to read Debbie’s article. I know her personally and the passion that she exudes is obvious in the services offered by the Mayo library system. Farewell to the shhhushs and hello to an active, involved library – meeting the needs of our patients and staff.

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