That’s a wrap!

The second semester of my MLIS program is official over – all assignments have been signed, sealed, and delivered!

To recap, here are a few things I have learned over the last 17 weeks:

  1. I really need to think hard about taking 3 courses at once, while working nights… and decide not to, ever. again.
  2. It might be necessary to listen to a lecture for a second or even third time – until the surplus of information chooses to be absorbed by my brain.
  3. It’s okay to skim some weekly readings/reading every word of every article will make your head hurt, also result in little to no actual comprehension.
  4. The library field is an ever-changing and ultra-dynamic one. (I had some inkling of this previously, but it was confirmed through the courses this semester).
  5. Take notes during lectures – This helps to maintain alertness, as well as aid in the process of understanding content more fully.
  6. It’s okay to not understand references made my peers or instructors, related to books they have all read – everyone has their own expertise and can contribute to the conversation in their own way!
  7. DO NOT wait until the last week to complete assignments due, the last week.
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What is “Health Literacy”?

AKA Article Summary #10

To define health literacy, it must first be determined how literacy is defined.  To do this, the authors of the article elected to complete a retrospective view of the definition’s origin in our country.  It is cited within the text, that as the definition and parameters of the of it evolved, United States society was changing along with it – the two were interactively intertwined.  To give a brief overview of the changes within the definition of, then termed “functional literacy”, below is a list of corresponding decades and required grade levels that were to be completed in order for an individual to be considered “literate” and able to compete in the job market.

  • Late 1800’s/Early 1900’s = Able to read and write
  • 1930’s = three or more years of schooling
  • 1940’s = 4th grade completed
  • 1950’s = 6th grade completed
  • 1960’s = 8th grade completed
  • 1970’s = High school diploma earned
  • Current day = Postsecondary training/Higher education

Based on this abbreviated glimpse at the timeline of literacy, it can be concluded that as our country has moved “…from an agricultural to an industrial economy and now an information-based economy” the definition of literacy has adapted.

In 1988 Congress requested that the Department of Education create a universal definition for the country.  So, three years later, such a definition was written into history.  Literacy was defined as, “an individual’s ability to read, write and speak in English, and compute and solve problems at a level of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, to achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential.”  So, basically the US was still left with a whole lot of room for interpretation and subjectivity on the issue.

As we all know, and as the authors mention, eventually the country turned into mandated testing within the school systems, measuring intelligence based on very specific criteria and subjects.  This type of testing was parallel to the Adult Literacy Testing that the Department of Education commissioned in the late 1980’s and once again in 2003.  The 2003 assessment essentially took it back to our “roots”, focusing on reading and writing – one big literacy circle.

Once the article outlined the history of the broader concept of literacy, the authors then moved in for a closer analysis of health literacy.  Right off the bat they acknowledge the reality that, just as the broader concept had changed with society, this new term has seen its fair share of evolution. One revolutionary realization cited within the text is the fact that skill level cannot be associated purely with educational attainment.  Although the two correlate to one another in some ways, they do not necessarily have to dictate one another. This realization was considered when comparing literacy rate to health outcomes of individuals, and analyzing how these two factors correlate.

Eventually the term has moved to be understood in its own right, in its own meaning, without the correlation to literacy a part from health.  One widely accepted definition, cited in the article, came from a committee within AMA in 1999.  This statement placed the goals of health literacy at the center of the terms meaning, “the capacity to obtain, process, and understand”.  Then ensued the various debates over things like, is this term static or dynamic? Should it be based solely on individual literacy, or is this a broader term for public education? Ultimately, the question is – is it okay to accept more than one, single definition.  If so, what are potential ramifications?

I found this read to be both historically informative, and also highly engaging.  I felt involved with the discussion and found myself to be agreeing or disagreeing with certain definitions that have emerged.  I understand that without consensus and a single definition, research completed that relates to health literacy, could become convoluted.  That being said, I like the idea of the phrase being dynamic.  It makes sense to me that it might take on different meaning based on the context it is used in.

 

Reference

Berkman, N., Davis, T., & McCormack, L. (2010). Health literacy: what is it?. Journal Of Health Communication, 159-19 11p. doi:10.1080/10810730.2010.499985

 

Health Literate Care Model

As my peers know, and anyone who has taken any graduate level courses, the weekly reading lists for classes can be quite cumbersome at times.  I am blaming it on this fact, for having overlooked an interesting tool that was included on one such reading list.  Below I have provided a link to the Health Literate Care Model, accessible on the health.gov website.  This model is an interactive and straightforward tool dealing with all stages of patient care.  It includes training videos, tips, and definitions for all aspects.

Check it out athttp://health.gov/communication/interactiveHLCM/index.html

Reflection on IT Fluency

As the semester comes to a close, I am reflecting back on all of the modules, assignments, posts, and projects completed.  From HTML and Unix commands, to Twitter and blogging, I can confidently say that both LS 534 and LS 560 created opportunities for me to interact with technology in ways I had not prior to this semester. Each course has provided me insight into a various platforms, some that I had no idea even existed, some I had  purposefully elected to avoid until it was required for the course.

All in all, my head is full of new knowledge and I am very grateful for all of the learning opportunities each class offered me.  Currently, my brain is still dizzy from all of the new concepts that were absorbed (spit back out and then re-absorbed), as time wears on I know that each piece of knowledge gathered will benefit my career in librarianship!  As soon as my group completes our database project for 560, I have no doubt a weight will feel lifted and I will be much more grateful for each of these assignments and what they taught me.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, as I type this, although I am still feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious about it all.  I am looking forward to being able to breathe and fully take a retrospective look at the semester, perhaps in a week or two. 🙂

 

Codes of Ethics

As I work through related readings for the assigned ethics paper in LS 534, I have found a handful of relevant codes, which can be placed at the intersection of healthcare and information dissemination.  Below are links to the various codes, which I have found helpful in my research.

Ultimately, a common theme throughout each, is that these codes are merely guides establishing a framework, through which professionals should complete their work.  None of these codes claim to be absolute or without gray areas.  At the end of the day, professionals in information and/or health fields need to have sufficient understanding of existing standards and policies, to determine the best response to daily interactions with patients, clients, or patrons.

MLA Code of Ethics for Health Sciences Librarianship

ALA Code of Ethics

AMIA Code of Ethics

AHIMA Code of Ethics

Clinicians, Online Access, & Info retrieval

This study, published in 2013, provided insight into the procedures that were in place at  Columbia University and the New York Presbyterian Hospital, related to clinicians and their access to necessary information to care for patients.  The research completed found that depending on the type of health professional seeking information, there existed preference of reference tools.  Their roles within the healthcare system, as well as the context of the patient situation, influenced their use of the online access to pertinent research.  These are two key facts, which known and understood, could benefit medical librarians and enable them to provide more efficient information retrieval services to clinicians.

Another insight, discussed within the introduction, which I found interesting, were the barriers that come into play during information seeking processes  – ineffective search skills and perceived lack of time.  These seem to be common sense , although realization that they exist can only benefit search processes.

 

Hunt, S., Cimino, J. J., & Koziol, D. E. (2013). A comparison of clinicians’ access to online knowledge resources using two types of information retrieval applications in an academic hospital setting. Journal Of The Medical Library Association, 101(1), 26-31 6p. doi:10.3163/1536-5050.101.1.005

Job Searching…

Although I still have an entire year of classes left to take, I frequently find myself checking out job postings on various platforms and websites.  I have always struggled with the whole “living in the moment thing“, particularly when the moment involves homework and uninspiring work.  During my searches, when I find a job that sounds fascinating I daydream about what it will feel like to obtain it and then live it each day.

I cannot wait until I am officially qualified (or nearly) to begin the application process, although the anxiety that comes with the interview process in another story- that being said, I suppose it is all a part of the process, a necessary evil.

For those out there like me, there are a plethora of job searching tools.  One option I just recently found is LibGig.  It also includes a variety of descriptions for several library professions, including the one I am interested in – medical librarianship.  Check it out!