I am Isabel Puscas, graduate of the College of Librarianship Wales, who with no formal career plan progressed from departmental librarian (psychology) to post of Chief librarian for an international firm of architects in the hope of being seconded to one of their many overseas offices, but had to be content with weekly trips to their Swansea office! A short spell at the Welsh Office followed, then into the NHS as Health Authority Librarian and 25 years later, two major national NHS Wales reviews, and 3 organisational title changes, I am now a Senior Evidence and Knowledge Analyst within Public Health Wales’ [PHW] Observatory Evidence Service .
The acronym SEKA is very apt as seeking the evidence and knowledge to support the many work programmes within PHW is a key element of my role. Our client base in Capital Quarter 2 Cardiff is around 500 and consists of many disciplines and professions, from public health practitioners to health protection nurses; epidemiologists and biomedical scientists; dental and primary care professionals; data analysts and environmental public health specialists, health and justice leads, Research and Development and Public Health Speciality Trainees to name but a few.
There is no typical day, the only constants are to expect the unexpected, the need to be flexible, that every day is a learning curve and that there are never enough hours in the day! To-day I have flitted between three complex literature searches; Fusobacterium necrophorum [nasty bacteria] requested by our Microbiology division, Glomus jugalare tumours for the Cancer Intelligence team and Community engagement for Screening services. E mails from within CQ2 and our other 3 locations generate requests for information retrieval skills training and induction sessions, queries on open access publishing, ISBNs for Screening services annual reports, advice on copyright statements, assistance with reference styles, invitations to various networking events and diary date notifications for meetings with specific teams I support. A large number of inter library loans require my attention, a welcome distraction to the intensity of searching but with varying degrees of information provided can be quite challenging!
Still on the to-do list is preparation for a training session tomorrow, just hope all have their Athens passwords at hand! Need to think of our drop in session for Libraries Week especially the nibbles as these can make or break a function!
Amongst all this activity is the footfall that has become a feature since we moved into our new accommodation. Sometimes for ad hoc queries, to use the study facilities or catch up on office news!
Who would have thought back in those early [sometimes scarey] days, that my career would have been so rewarding. I have enjoyed every moment . I have worked with some amazing and supportive colleagues, but at the end of the day, it is all about our users, who trust us to give them the skills, knowledge and confidence to support their working and professional practice. To them, far too many to mention, I say a huge thank you.
Isabel was shortlisted for the Welsh Librarian of the Year Award this year. Here is an example of one of the comments contained within the nomination.
“... I have found in my 17 years of working as a consultant and the five preceding years as a registrar the one certain and sure source of knowledge and wisdom was via Isabel...I would state categorically that any health organisation that wishes to be innovative must not merely invest in excellent library services (including an extensive stock of books and journals) but also reward and support librarians like Isabel. Put simply without an Isabel no organisation can be truly innovative.”
Dr Mark temple, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC)