Attending NAHSL Conference for Intellectual Sparks

October 29, 2014 at 10:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There are many reasons for one to attend NAHSL conference. Some librarians go there for valuable networking opportunities; others are drawn by great CE courses that are taught by experienced instructors and effective leaders in our profession. What captivated me most this year is a stellar list of great keynote speakers who shared their keen observations, shrewd insights and thoughtful questions when they tried to “widen the lens on healthcare” through their unique perspectives.

One common theme of their presentations centers around the imperative to challenge status quo and think out of box in our efforts to push for progress.  This theme was best illustrated by the presentation by Dr. Haider Warraich.  He noted at one point in his talk that feeding tubes seldom work the way others believe they do and cause excessive discomfort to patients. Yet, much to his surprise and chagrin, its unwarranted use remains irresponsibly prevalent among healthcare practitioners. He asked why.  He demanded answers. He challenged the status quo in his inquiry of humanism in medicine.

Dr. Warraich’s example of feeding tube somehow “stuck in my head.” It made me think about our profession of medical librarianship.  It made me ask questions of my own: are there time-honored library practices that we take for granted but need to be changed? Are there library-specific customs and traditions that are perceived to be working but need serious re-assessment and re-evaluation? Are there issues that we thought should be handled by other professionals but really belong to our realms of responsibilities?

Listening to those keynote speakers and pick up on their sharp minds is a great learning experience.  Attending the NAHSL conference is a good way to generate intellectual sparks for deeper thinking. We may not have solutions for everything puzzle we face, but being able to identify problems is the first step toward solutions to those problems. Thanks to the NAHSL Professional Development Committee that provided valuable financial support, I was able to attend the meeting, made a Lightning Rounds presentation and, above all, was inspired to ask a lot of questions in our search for sound solutions to the problems and challenges down the road.

By Hongjie Wang

 

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