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by Don Miller - no comments
Continuing Education for Medical Librarians

Medical librarians, also known as medical research librarians or medical information specialists assist physicians, nurses, patients and other healthcare providers in locating health information and then in choosing the materials that are most appropriate for their needs. Medical librarians can be found working in medical schools, hospitals, university medical centers and corporations.

These specialized types of librarians are a valuable asset to a team of medical professionals. A medical librarian is given the responsibility of providing up-to-date information on medical treatments. He or she can provide instruction to physicians as well as medical students in regards to software and the use of research resources. A medical librarian can be the go-to professional that medical personnel and those studying to become doctors can turn to for help.

Medical librarians require a library and information services degree and must have some background in a field that is related to medicine. This provides the solid and steady foundation that makes for a qualified and skilled medical research librarian.

Those who choose to pursue this field of work can find it interesting and enjoyable because they are always tackling new medical topics all of the time. The service they provide to the medical community is tremendous and far reaching. These specialized librarians must possess a high level of professionalism, as well as accuracy and attention to detail. The knowledge and skills required to perform this job are constantly changing which means that continuing education is a must to keep up with the advancements.

The Medical Library Association’s (MLA) code of ethics and the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) policy statement recommend that all medical research librarians commit to take continuing education courses throughout their careers in order to improve their research skills.

The MLA has defined continuing education as “planned, organized learning experiences.” When you participate in CE courses you will gain skills, experiences and information that will improve the way you do your job.  This will also make it possible to maintain your professional conduct.  This enables the librarian to provide superior service, information and health education to those who require it. This benefits the health care system as a whole.

Online continuing education for medical librarians is a viable means of obtaining the education you need to keep up to the standards that are expected of you at your job. Some librarians may find that learning online is right for them while others may prefer the conventional means of learning in a classroom setting.

Participation in continuing education varies depending upon where you work and what duties are assigned to you. Those who are employed in a place where they must provide information pertaining to new technology and changes in health care on a consistent basis will need to enrol in CE courses more often. For instance if you are a member of the Association of Health Information Professionals (AHIP) then you need to be updated often about what is happening in your field. Being an expert researcher and keeping up with hot topics are absolute necessities for those who wish to become and remain medical librarians.

Various chapters of the MLA offer more than 30 courses to medical research librarians on a yearly basis. Librarians can earn two to five credit hours all at once or can choose to spread these out throughout the calendar year. The online continuing education courses for medical librarians range from beginner to advanced level and vary in how much they cost.