28 June 2019

Real people, real conversations – check out a human book from the NHS Living Library

As part of Health Information Week Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, North Bristol NHS Trust and United Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust are coming together to form Bristol's NHS Living Library, giving people the opportunity to 'check out' staff from a wide array of health disciplines and talk to them about their roles and experiences.

Living Libraries work like normal libraries - visitors browse the catalogue, choose titles they are interested in, and 'borrow' them for a defined amount of time. The difference is that the books are people, and reading consists of a conversation.

Psychologists, psychiatrists, AWP's Head of Occupational Therapy, consultant haematologists, nurses and nurse trainers are amongst the 'books' available to check out for 15-minute slots, providing people with an insight into what it's like to work in the healthcare sector through open and informal conversations.

Dr Sian Clark, Clinical Psychologist for AWP, said: "I have been a living library book a couple of times now. Both times, I have been booked out for the duration of the events, which has been rewarding.

"My motivation for getting involved in this event has been to offer an opportunity to engage with people around what clinical psychologists do. I will be sharing an insight into how we work with people to support them with their mental health difficulties.

"People have been keen to understand a day in the life of a clinical psychologist. How do we manage to switch off at the end of the day and what inspired us to become clinical psychologists? Some people who have 'borrowed' me are keen to hear about how they can pursue a career in psychology, and, of course, the age old question of how psychologists and psychiatrists differ comes up frequently."

John Loy, Library and Knowledge Services Manager at North Bristol NHS Trust, said: "There have been several NHS living libraries in Bristol over the last few years, but this is the first time we have had such a collaborative city-wide event. The beauty of a breathing book is that you have a conversation with a human being. Unlike a printed book, with the words static on the page, a living library lets the borrower interact with their human book and find out more about what really interests them. This is a terrific opportunity for the public to find out about what staff do in their NHS jobs, in the beautiful setting of the Central Library."

The Living Library is part of Health Information Week (Monday 1st to Friday 5th July) and aims to provide an interactive way to find out about the wide range opportunities for a career in the healthcare sector.

Julian Feasby, AWP's Director of Human Resources, said: "The Living Library offers people a real insight into a range of roles within the health service. Hearing from health professionals first-hand about their day-to-day work can be really powerful. There are a wide range of opportunities available to work in at AWP and across the NHS, including clinical, medical and corporate roles, and we hope that those attending the event will be inspired to find out more."

The free event takes place at Bristol Central Library on Wednesday 3rd July, from 2-4pm and is open to everyone, whether you're a student looking for an insight into a career, or a member of the public who wants to find out what it's like working in healthcare.

Books can be reserved before 3rd July through Bristol Central Library by calling 0117 903 7250, or on the day at the Living Library Helpdesk, in the foyer of Bristol Central Library.

To find out more about working for AWP click here 

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