At the beginning of last year I was asked to design and teach a new course with one of the nursing instructors that would teach students how to write professionally and value inter-professional communication. As an academic librarian for nursing and health sciences, I do a lot of teaching as part of my day to day role, but I had never taught an eight week course. And, not since before library school had I taught anything that wasn’t directly related to libraries or where I was not in the role of librarian.
My co-instructor and I spent months matching readings, assignments, and assessments to learning objectives and the course that emerged was a cross-listed nursing and health sciences elective titled Basics of APA Writing for Healthcare. In the course, students learn to evaluate research, ethically use sources in their writing, and practice formal, persuasive writing, all while exploring a current healthcare communication issue and evidence-based practice. Many of these are topics I cover with students ordinarily as their librarian, but instead of teaching them in bits and pieces throughout various classes, I get to teach them all in sequence in a condensed time frame and reinforce the material as I go.
Teaching with a nurse educator is the perfect balance; we are learning from each other’s perspectives on active learning, information literacy, and library research. Talking to each other for hours each week teaches each of us about the other’s expertise and helps us each value the other’s role in healthcare education. And students benefit from having two instructors with varied proficiencies. We can teach both theory and practice, catch different mistakes, counter each other’s biases, and improve our communication. Through our teaching partnership we give students an ongoing example of how interdisciplinary collaboration can improve practice, a lesson they will hopefully take with them into their healthcare professions.
I am still learning as I go, but this has been an invaluable experience so far. My goal for this year is to seek out other interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities for myself and the library.
I love conferences: meeting other librarians, learning about new products and services, and getting great ideas from others’ innovative projects. However, it is always hard to get away to go to conferences. Both the time and funds can be hard to find. This is why I was so excited for the first-ever virtual conference by the Midcontinental Chapter of the Medical Library Association (MCMLA). This was also the first ever all-virtual meeting of any MLA chapter in the history of the organization. I did not have to find money in my budget or time in my schedule, but still was able to attend many informative conference sessions. And, I got to attend the conference while wrapped in my fleece blanket.
I know the virtual conference has been years in the making from many dedicated librarians, but they made it look easy. Also, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill, Wolters Kluwer, and Rittenhouse agreed to participate in this experiment and gave presentations about their new products. Overall, the conference had great presenters, engaged participants, and moved smoothly past the few, small technical glitches that occurred.
Check out #MCMLA2015 to see the Twitter discussions during the conference and go to the MCMLA conference page for more details about the meeting and the poster that was presented at MLA 2015 about the virtual conference. I hope this is only the beginning of associations experimenting with virtual conferences and exploring alternative ways of sharing ideas and research with each other.
I’m Rebecca Carlson, the Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences Library Director at Southwest Baptist University in Springfield, Missouri. I’ll be one of the guest writers sharing Krafty posts with you this year.
I am the solo librarian on the SBU health sciences campus and I work with faculty and students in our nursing and radiology programs. I wear many hats and have a lot of “other duties as assigned,” but I love the challenges and unique opportunities of medical librarianship. This summer I have been teaching an online class with a nursing instructor on professional writing and APA style for healthcare and have learned a lot from the experience.
I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and ideas with y’all and learning from all the fantastic librarians Michelle has assembled here.