Wednesday, August 8, 2018
ProHealth Care's Cultural Competence Book Club
Fifteen years ago, the former librarian and a hospital administrator of Waukesha Memorial Hospital teamed up to start a book club open to all hospital staff, with the mission of enhancing cultural awareness through reading and discussion, and the intent of bringing great benefit to the hospital organization and club members alike. The first few books were selected and the club held its first meeting, met with high praise.
The club exists to this day, and is now known as the ProHealth Care Cultural Competence Book Club, to reflect our organization as a whole, not just one hospital location. Club members hail from all levels of the organization; and current and past WHSLA members from ProHealth Care and Carroll University are often featured. More than a few book club members continue to participate after having retired from their professional obligations! All current and past book club selections are housed in the ProHealth Care medical library. Some people refer to our collection as the “hidden gem in the basement.”
Books are purchased through a generous grant from the ProHealth Care Foundation. Throughout the year, club members submit titles for consideration. Once we weed out publications that are out of print or do not align with our mission, the club votes for five to six titles to be read and discussed throughout the year over lunch.
One has to wonder, “How do busy health care providers find time to come to the lunch meetings?” The truth is they don’t; and that has never gotten in our way! Most of the participation happens through what we like to call “stairwell discussions.” Members have mini-meetings as they encounter each other in passing, whether in a stairwell popular for getting a little exercise, in line at the cafeteria, or in the library while stopping by to pick up the latest book club title. Some members even like to take walking breaks as an opportunity for discussion. When all of these opportunities still aren’t enough, members will email me their thoughts on the book, or any large insights they had and want to share with the group. So everyone benefits from the book and our collective ideas/knowledge, the notes from our lunch meeting discussions and all of the realizations from stairwell discussions that make it to me are compiled into a recap email that is sent out to all book club members.
In the five years I’ve served as the librarian, we have read so many fantastic books. I’ve learned a great deal, not only from the books but also from book club members, and subject matter experts who have come in to teach us more about the subject of book we are discussing. Each member has had a book, or two, impact the way we view a particular patient population, co-worker or situation. One of our most popular books, Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink, is still in heavy circulation nearly four years after the club first read and discussed it. Because of that book, people still comment how they remember to check if the flashlights on their units have working batteries!
The ProHealth Care Cultural Competence Book Club has just finished selecting our books for the upcoming year. If you’re curious to see which books made the cut for this year’s voting, you can check out our ballot here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YGDF8RL