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Lions and Tigers and Nurses: A Librarian’s Review

Are we rude? Are we critical of any one starting out?  Have many of us forgotten that we were the novice at one time? 

Amy Glenn Vega, in her book Lions and Tigers and Nurses, makes me recall that I was at one time the beginner. I did not know the ropes. I was afraid to say anything. I am a Medical Librarian and reading Amy’s book makes me think about how I treat my patrons. 

I will never forget my first medical question back in 1980 (before all this online stuff—I didn’t even have a computer!!) The hospital administrator was asking for information about a “neonate.”  Don’t laugh, I did not have a health care background and I had never heard of a neonate! I looked in all the science and chemistry books, thinking that a neonate was related to neons, protons, or something along those lines. After several hours of searching manually, I went to my Nursing Supervisor who told me that a neonate was a newborn baby, and she let me know in no uncertain terms that I had “a lot to learn.”  It was the first of many hard lessons. 

Lions and Tigers and Nurses helped me reflect on the way we treat each other. Yes, many of us have been in our professional roles for several years. Yes, there are many new people coming and going. They seem so young. Some are friendly and some aren’t.  But they all need patience, understanding and a helping hand.  They need someone to show them the ropes.  I am now aware that many of my library patrons do not know the language and the resources that I work with on a regular basis – OVID; Micromedex; MdConsult; OCLC; EBM; etc.  Now I am the one teaching a new language to new staff! 

Amy Vega’s Lions and Tigers and Nurses demonstrates the true spirit of cooperation, which is possible to achieve even after many difficulties in communication and misunderstandings have occurred. We have to talk with each other and not at each other. This book has been very popular in my little library and I am glad that so many nurses had found it so very useful. Yes, we have a library!!! 

Michael Wold, MLS
OSF St. Mary Medical Center
Galesburg, Illinois

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