Medical professionals carry with them the responsibility to be well informed about their profession. In order to remain well informed it is important to understand what a reliable source of information is. This is what the American Library Association calls “Information Literacy”.
When someone is Information Literate they are not expected to know everything. Instead, it means you have the tools necessary to learn what you need to. When you know how to find the information you need in an efficient, accurate, and responsible manner you will be able to call yourself "information literate". This page will help you to become information literate so you can better serve yourself and your patients!
The brain is a muscle in many ways, and in the same way other muscles can get tired the brain can as well. When a person is searching through various sources for information it is easy to become overloaded. This information overload is not a failure of the researcher, but a very well documented phenomenon. Information overload occurs when during research person becomes over stimulated and shuts down. There are about seven different responses to information overload.
It is important to recognize when you have begun to suffer from information overload. When you have, it is best to step away from your research and clear your head. Forcing yourself to cram will only mean you have a compromised understanding of a subject and diminish your command of the information.
Case, D. O. (2012). Looking for Information. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
It is always important to remember the difference between entertainment and journalism. While it is true that both can be resources used to learn more different subjects, they are not equal. In the above clip John Oliver, from HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, explains to Jorge Ramos the difference between being a journalist and being a comedian. In short, it is a difference in intent.
Journalist’s intent is always to inform. Good journalism will always try to eliminate personal bias from the stories they tell in order to expose the truth. Comedians will do their best to make people laugh. While telling stories about current events may be funny, it the information is less important to the comedian than the joke is.
There is nothing wrong with watching the Daily Show, or John Oliver’s program to laugh and learn, but you as an information literate viewer cannot stop there. If you see or hear about an issue discussed in these stories it is your responsibility to do your own research and find out more. Entertainment should always be the first step in your learning process, not your last.
By enrolling at St. Paul’s you have committed yourself to becoming a medical professional. Through your classes and studies you will become familiar with vocabulary and terms which people outside of your profession may not understand. It will become part of your job to explain to these people what these different medical terms mean. The links here will help you learn how to take complicated ideas and break them down for your patients. Explore them at your leisure, or whenever you need to quickly teach someone about your profession.