From Small To State-Of-The-Art: The Journey Of Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Medical Library

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October 9, 2023

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(SARASOTA, Fla.) – Yvonne Boudreau is the face behind the advancements of the medical library at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Boudreau has been the manager of the medical library at Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) for nearly five years where she was given the task of growing the medical library from physical books to  online databases. 

Prior to these developments, SMH was just a community hospital. Today, it is a full-blown healthcare system with 9,000 employees offering wide ranges of medical care for the community. It is now Sarasota’s largest employer.  

“My goal is to get this library into a state-of-the-art academic library. We’re getting there,” Boudreau said.

Boudreau sat down for an interview with The Click to talk about her position at SMH and how her developments in the medical library have contributed to better healthcare.

The Click: Why did you decide to take on a career in library sciences?

Boudreau: For about four years, I worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant. We had to write legislation so we would call the National Library of Congress and tell them that we needed to know about a particular bill topic. They would then put together a packet of information and within two hours you would have a sweaty bike courier come give you this packet. It was everything you needed about the topic. It was amazing they could do that. I was always into books, but politics wasn’t for me. It was my public service that was important to me. So, I had decided I wanted to be a librarian and went to school for it after that.

The Click: What is the function of the medical library?

Boudreau: Every day in the job is different. We are looking at clinical trials, drug dosages, and literature to look for new indications about processes. It starts with what is known as an ‘initiative for inquiry.’ This is when a physician, nurse, or another medical professional decides that there may be a better way to help a patient. The medical library provides evidence-based medicine through these databases. There is no other access to this information in the community. For example, if a physician cannot get a drug approved by an insurance company, we are tasked with finding the literature that states if this drug was used elsewhere by another physician. Insurance companies are then more inclined to approve a medication which gives that patient the opportunity to access it.

The Click: Why is the medical library a valuable component to the hospital?

Boudreau: The hospital needs access to point of care tools [digital literature databases] to provide efficient healthcare. If we don’t have the medical library to host these essential tools, it will be difficult to do the job as a physician or nurse. There is also an educational aspect. Universal books are becoming more accessible for nurses, and they are provided here. It is the literature that is teaching those processes. When they come here, they have every tool they need to be successful. We are an important part of providing quality healthcare and patient safety.

The Click: How has Sarasota Memorial Hospital and the medical library changed?

Boudreau: We’ve seen growth in not only the physical locations but staff as well. That growth where we added 3,000 employees, I feel it in the library. We are busier all the time. There’s more residents, more nurses, and more physicians. It was a small library and now we are an academic library with about 760 regular users. It’s really kind of fun to watch the library grow.

Boudreau: Everything is about innovation today. Nobody is buying books anymore because they are taking so long to get published. After COVID-19, everything is getting approved quicker by the FDA. If we would wait on a book to get published, we would be missing out on so much data. We would be behind the times, so we rely on journals in these online databases. Journal articles are getting published much quicker with technology. It’ll take years to implement new medicine if we wait for books to get published.

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