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Toolkit - Networking

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Networking

Networking inside and outside your hospital establishes your library’s presence, and highlights your programs, services, and resources. Most importantly, it highlights the professional competence of you and your staff.

You are a powerful agent for change on your own, but involving more people makes your message even stronger. Developing a network of library advocates is a great way to add voices to the chorus of support.

Some key points to remember while building your network:

  • Utilize existing relationships, and seek new ones. Both formal and informal relationships can be beneficial.
  • Secure relationships with decision-makers.
  • Challenge yourself to talk to five people a day about your library and hospital.
  • You never know where you will find valuable networking opportunities. Look for and find commonalities rather than differences when talking with different people groups.
  • Build relationships in good times so that your partners are already in place there for your partners when they need you, not just when you need them.

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Internal

Action 1: Become involved in leadership activities

How:
  • Sit at the table!
    • If not already expected to be present at leadership meetings
    • Ask to attend leadership planning sessions
    • Know the time schedules for
      • house wide leadership meetings
      • nursing director’s meetings
    • Become part of shared governance teams
    • medical staff meetings
  • Be visible, interested and involved in the processes of the organization.
  • It is important to be a listener, but also be proactive in offering help, hands, resources, etc.
Example: Difficulty Level:
  • Moderate to complex
  • Not always easy to get into some meetings, as it depends on job level within the organization.
What's the value to you?
  • Visibility
  • know what is going on.
  • Increased opportunities for future participation in organizational activities.
What's the value to your administration?

Action 2: Pursue multidisciplinary teamwork opportunities

How:
  • Volunteer for
    • Task forces,
    • Committees
    • Projects
    • Grand rounds
    • Become part of shared governance teams
    • Medical conference - tumor, cardiology, Institutional Review Board, etc.s
Example:
  • Hear and learn about planning retreats, a new project, and offer to join or even step forward and head the project if no one else is offering.
  • Apply for grants for equipment
  • Run a patient satisfaction task force
  • Set up a web site for nurses
  • Assist with patient handouts
  • look at Role of the hospital librarian on an institutional review board.Frumento KS, Keating J. Journal of Hospital Librarianship 2007; 7(4):113-120.
  • It is often easier to get on physician conferences devoted to specific areas, than to get on hospital committees. Virtually every hospital has a Cancer or Tumor conference of some kind, and the physicians who run these are usually pleased to have librarians attend.
Difficulty Level:
  • Moderate
  • Organization must be receptive to collaboration
What's the value to you?
  • Increase librarian's profile
  • Develop intraprofessional relationships
    • Getting a better understanding of realities, needs, etc. of other departments and specialties will be better able to assist them.
    • Gives you insight into the individual healthcare providers
    • Lets you forward articles that they are likely to appreciate - Selective Dissemination, or SDI, is an important promotional activity
What's the value to your administration?
  • Librarian seen as a key team member, someone who gets the job done

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Action 3: Attend hospital functions or social events

How:
  • Groundbreaking ceremonies on evenings and/or weekends
  • Community fund raising events
  • walks
  • Governmental meetings
  • Clean-up campaigns around your facility
Example:
  • Sign-up for the March of Dimes Walk
  • Man a booth or head a team; serve as a volunteer guide for grand opening events
Difficulty Level:
  • Easy
What's the value to you?
  • Increase librarian's profile
  • Seen as committed to the organization and its efforts
What's the value to your administration?
  • Organizational image of organization is impacted by volunteer numbers and commitment

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Action 4: Organizational certification or accreditation

How:
  • Provide literature to help support Magnet certification, value of Magnet status
  • Help with organization of document submission.
  • Help with other accreditation/certifications such as
    • American College of Surgeons Trauma Center
    • Cancer Center Accreditation
    • Centers of Excellence
Example:
  • Sit on Research Council or other shared governance councils.
  • Help with Magnet documentation
  • write exemplars focusing on how library is a key part of institution and helps meet Magnet forces/criteria
    Magnet White Paper – ANCC
Difficulty Level:
  • Moderate
What's the value to you?
  • Increase librarian's visibility
  • Magnet surveyors are aware of libraries and the value
  • Magnet surveyors make comments to institutional leaders and board members
What's the value to your administration?
  • Organization receives or maintains certification or accreditation

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Action 5: Create library liaisons

How:
  • If you are not a solo librarian, designate specific librarians to serve as liaisons for different departments, floors, specialties, or facilities.
  • If you are a solo librarian, make the effort to attend grand rounds.
Example: Difficulty Level:
  • Moderate
What's the value to you?
  • Establish presence
  • Highlight librarians
  • Better meet the information needs of your users
What's the value to your administration?
  • Movement toward evidence-based medicine, nursing

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Action 6: Library Advisory Council

How:
  • Select representatives from key health professions and departments to serve on Library Advisory Council
Example:
  • Create or revitalize library committees into separate advisory councils such as a physician library advisory, nursing library advisory, pharmacy library advisory group
Difficulty Level:
  • Easy
What's the value to you?
  • Gain insight from others regarding direction library should take
  • Advises librarian in matters pertaining to Library policy and practice
  • Group may serve as library champions as well as advocates with administration
What's the value to your administration?
  • Library decisions, purchases based on recommendations and input from broad base
  • Administration views this as good stewardship of resources

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Action 7: Offer to teach classes and CE workshops to staff, students, medical professional within the organization

How:
  • Ask users what they need
  • pick up areas of need when attending meeting
  • Offer to teach classes on searching, how to use the library, health literacy, databases, PICO, evidence-based, systematic reviews, writing and publishing. CE providers and groups are frequently happy to have something fresh or have a presentation offer
    • Searching
    • How to use the library
    • Health literacy
    • Databases
    • PICO
    • Evidence-based literature
    • Systematic reviews
    • Writing and publishing
  • CE providers and groups are frequently happy to have something fresh or have a presentation offer
Example:
  • Provide one-hour lecture for Nursing Research class and follow-up with additional hours (8-10) in small groups working through search questions, PICO format and searching strategies
  • Conduct a Lunch and Learn session on new databases or topic such as writing for publication.
  • MLA - Health Information Literacy
Difficulty Level:
  • Moderate
What's the value to you?
  • Staff and students become skilled information consumers
What's the value to your administration?
  • Better prepares staff and students for patient care areas; promotes innovative and new thinking

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Action 8: Write for organizational newsletters

How:
  • Ask to serve on editorial board for regional newsletters
  • Learn the deadlines for departmental newsletters and ask if there is space to submit an article about new library product, a new web address that might be of interest or information about cultures or ethnic groups.
  • Offer to be editor if that is an interest
Example:
  • Showcase MedlinePlus language resources in the monthly nursing newsletter’s column on cultural and ethnic health-related issues
Difficulty Level:
  • Moderate
What's the value to you?
  • Opportunity to promote library staff, services and products
What's the value to your administration?
  • Staff gain knowledge and expertise that impacts patient care.
  • Helps meet the institutional community goal of improving the health of the community

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Action 10: Be a specialty resource for institutional community including technology, copyright, authoring, etc.

How:
  • Help set up
    • Web pages
    • iPods
    • iPhone and Blackberry apps
    • Videoconferencing
    • Blogs
  • Work with
    • Marketing Department
    • Web Committees
Example:
  • Work with journal club
    • to set up a “blog” for their journal club
    • Help them make connections with webmaster
    • help them understand the options it will provide
Difficulty Level:
  • Moderate to complex depending on experience
What's the value to you?
  • Seen as leader in technology
  • forces you to learn new technologies
What's the value to your administration?
  • Improves organizational communication
  • Provide Magnet exemplars
  • Increases usage of already purchased technology

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Action 11: Know your organization; administrators, medical staff, board of trustees, auxiliary leaders and members

How:
  • Read, watch and/or listen to local press stories; read institutional press releases
Example:
  • Thank board members for their work for your institution
  • Let them know you are the medical librarian
  • Mention an issue that is in the news if appropriate
Difficulty Level:
  • Easy
What's the value to you?
  • Visibility
  • Cultivate a potential library supporter
What's the value to your administration?
  • In the community you are able to clearly articulate the mission and workings of the organization
  • Serve as an organizational ambassador

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External

Action 1: Get involved with local library groups

How:
  • Join and be an active member in
    • Medical and general library organizations
    • Associations
    • Consortia
  • Become a conventioneer
    • Attend one or more of the many professional conventions each year
    • Helps you get the lay of library land
    • Allows you to meet those who may be, will be, or are influential within your profession
    • If you are lucky, your institution will pay for your trip. If not, you should pay for at least one yourself
  • Find or form local networks to
    • Expand their resources and professional activities
    • Benefit from
      • Consortium purchasing
      • Continuing education opportunities
      • Local advocacy programs
      • Shared emergency coverage
      • Reciprocal borrowing
Example:
  • Thank board members for their work for your institution
  • Let them know you are the medical librarian
  • Mention an issue that is in the news if appropriate
Difficulty Level:
  • Easy
What's the value to you?
  • Visibility
  • Cultivate a potential library supporter
What's the value to your administration?
  • In the community you are able to clearly articulate the mission and workings of the organization
  • Serve as an organizational ambassador

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Contact Barb Jones, Advocacy Liaison, with questions or comments or for assistance in developing advocacy programs.