Howard Baker, RN BSN

Calming Information Chaos

It’s funny how childhood experiences play a part in who we become later in life. I grew up in a healthcare family. My mother is a nurse, and after school I can remember walking to the hospital to sit in my dad’s office and wait for him to get off work. I have probably had more holiday meals in a hospital than at home. So, it is no coincidence that hospitals generate a feeling of safety, security, and a sense of belonging to me. Another positive experience from my youth was one of my first jobs working in the public library. On days when I have spent more time in the hospital and the library than I have at home it is easy to see we are where we are because of what has gone into our minds and fed our dreams.

As a graduate student I spend a lot of time doing research. Having an invaluable resource such as a medical library is probably the biggest asset for success of any medical / nursing student. My home away from home is the Preston Medical Library located on the campus of the University of Tennessee Medical Center. With your first step into the Preston Medical Library, you are greeted by a team of friendly, competent, and eager to assist medical reference librarians.

I often have patients and families asking where they can find reliable information about their medical condition or what medical options are available to them or their family. We have been fortunate to have this great community resource serving our region for more than forty years. The librarians are eager to assist patients, families, and community members in finding current and reliable health information. The library offers a variety of resources to provide information on topics such as medications, symptoms and treatment of disease, preventive medicine, medical tests, support groups, and definitions of medical terms. This information is sent confidentially free of charge via mail or electronically.

Donna Doyle, CHIS and Martha Earl, MSLS, AHIP, CHIS
Evening Supervisor Donna Doyle, CHIS and Assistant Director Martha Earl, MSLS, AHIP, CHIS

The librarians will research questions like: “What kind of foods can I eat now that I have diabetes?” “My doctor says I have fibromyalgia. What does that mean?” “What are the latest treatments for Alzheimer’s?” “What clinical trials are being run on my disease or condition?” and many other questions – all at no cost to you!

The Preston Medical Library offers a consumer health information website with helpful links to resources that have been selected by the librarians for their provision of current, reliable information. Other websites that are helpful and reliable are: , , and .

Healthcare providers often deliver information quickly to patients, so when they ask, “Do you have any questions” we tell them no. Chaos begins to set in as we realize we have no clue what the information we have received means to us. The librarians at the Preston Medical Library are there for you to help calm the chaos and arm you with reliable information. The library also offers outreach programs on how to locate and evaluate health information to organizations and community groups. They offer “train the trainer” classes to public librarians or other professions to help develop a consumer and patient health information service. All of these services are free of charge. So, when you feel overwhelmed in a world of chaos or just have a burning desire to learn about your health, remember one thing – the Preston Medical Library!

The Preston Medical Library is located at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine

1924 Alcoa Highway
Knoxville, Tennessee 37920

Telephone 865.305.9527

Email: [email protected]
Hours of operation: Monday – Thursday 8:30am to 9:00pm Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm and Sunday 2:00pm – 10:00pm

Howard Baker, RN BSN
For questions, comments, or suggestions on topics you want to read about please email me at: [email protected]

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