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Share Your Success: Lisa Travis Shares Her Role

Posted by on October 17th, 2012 Posted in: Advocacy

Here is the first of our Share Your Success!  submissions for Medical Library Month.  In this article, Lisa Travis writes of her experience stepping outside of the traditional roles of a medical librarian.

I have been the Medical Librarian for Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN, since 2007. From 2007-2009, I served the new osteopathic medical school and the schools of nursing and allied health. I currently serve as the sole librarian for the physician assistant and osteopathic medicine programs within the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. Since my office is in the medical school, I have been able to develop strong relationships with the faculty and students. A couple of nontraditional roles have become the norm with my job, and I love them. Here is a sampling of some of the ways that I serve my users.

I am invited to faculty candidate presentations and attend them to introduce myself and see if the candidates have any questions about the library. I drop by meetings and events of student clubs to socialize and make sure the club officers and members are aware of resources that are useful for the specialty of interest. When faculty members are hired, they are required to meet with me for one-on-one training in their offices for as long as they like; my record for one of these sessions is over 2 ½ hours (more on this later).

Since I like to edit, faculty provide grant proposals and other documents for me to review; I see it as a way to learn about their projects while doing something I enjoy. My love of editing has also resulted in my chipping in to review medical students’ personal statements and CVs for their residency applications. For my inaugural class of 2011, I edited approximately 25 of each; that number doubled with the class of 2012. So far I have edited nearly as many documents for the class of 2013 as I did for the class of 2012, and there will be many more to come since we are in the midst of applications season.

My biggest project that expands the realm of traditional librarian roles is one that I have worked on for over ten years. During my time at two different jobs over the years, I have compiled an annotated collection of links to games, simulations, tutorials, quizzes, and other interactive websites for anatomy, ECGs, surgery, and other topics. I began collecting the links so that I could learn about medical terminology and such while finding useful tools that could be used for teaching and self-study. Presenting the links during my job interview helped me land my current position. Over the years, students and faculty have recommended additional links to add to the collection and have asked me to find interactive websites for particular topics.

The collection of annotated links is found in the Program Resources section of the medical library website at One example of a helpful resource in the collection, a game to learn ECGs, is Websites in the collection have been included in assignments to students and have also used during lectures. Students get a kick out of one professor’s tendency to purposely provide the wrong type of blood in one of the online games, which of course triggers a traumatic reaction in the patient.

The faculty training session that stretched to over two-and-a-half hours did so because he wanted to check some of the linked websites for accuracy while I watched. After doing so, he provided a note to add to one website’s annotation to more fully explain a tricky concept. I will never forget the enthusiastic students in my inaugural class of medical students who stopped me after my library lecture during medical school orientation to thank me for the collection of links, one noting that he’d never seen another library do something like it; that meant a lot to me since I was nervous about serving a medical school for the first time – and a new medical school to boot! Since there are so many links in the collection, users asked that the best ones be designated as such; each of these is labeled as a “Top Pick.” I plan to eventually develop a course on the links and submit it for MLA CE credit.

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Thoughts on "Share Your Success: Lisa Travis Shares Her Role"

Geetha Sridaran says:

Hi Lisa, I enjoyed reading your article. It is amazing how you can expand your horizon and enjoy it too. I may try some of your ideas. I got to attend MLA conference last year in Seattle,WA by sharing my story. I Wish you good luck to participate this year in Boston.

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