I first arrived at UB with a New York State Regents’ Scholarship in hand. I entered the UB School of Nursing, and eight semesters later joined the workforce as a nurse and college graduate. I practiced frontline medical-surgical, orthopedics and oncology nursing, both in hospitals out West and in Western New York. During that time, I developed a keen appreciation for the complexity of health care delivery and its amazing people and stories.
Ten years later, I sampled a graduate offering in UB’s then-named School of Information and Library Science. Could I meld my grounding in healthcare with my lifelong love of information and libraries? The course, Introduction to Reference Services, answered my question. It led to a student assistant position in the Health Sciences Library, and, upon completion of my MLS degree, to my appointment as the librarian liaison to the UB Nursing School. For some 25 years now, this hardworking group has embraced me as an essential participant in their educational mission. It has been a great pleasure to serve as the nursing subject specialist to the faculty, staff and students of my alma mater.
I consider myself an embedded librarian, offering research consultation hours in the Center for Nursing Research, supporting the Nursing School’s curricular developments and distance-learning initiatives, and harnessing evolving technology to provide user support. During my career, I have witnessed many amazing advancements first-hand, including the debut of the first web browser (Mosaic) and the introduction of one of the first library-based end-user search systems (mini-MEDLINE). Although I don’t recall my first encounter with email, it still impresses me with its magical connecting capabilities, as does its streamlined cousin, texting, and the ability to send my desktop online to a distance learner. I have followed from day one the evolving “evidence-based” movement, been heartened by the development of narrative medicine, watched nursing move to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and witnessed, daily, the exciting diffusion of information and innovation.
Like most health sciences librarians, I find supreme satisfaction in finding the needle in the biomedical haystack. There are daily mysteries to solve – locating an elusive piece of research not readily found on Google, finding just the right untapped resource, or validating that published research in an area has not yet caught up to practice. It’s the happiness of connecting an information-seeker with that nugget of information, or being there at the start to provide the right tool to begin the excavation.
And so it has continued through the years, this satisfying intersection of libraries, nursing, and education. When I was preparing for a serious surgery recently, a nursing faculty member wished me the best. But more than that, she said, she wished me to have a “good nurse.” I am grateful and proud to say that I had many. It is lovely to contribute to this part of the UB story, to meld my library and nursing expertise, and assist in meaningful educational experiences for those who make an enormous difference.
My staff profile is online at: library.buffalo.edu/smurphy