Venus Bradley, Patient Resource Center Manager

This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions

Venus Bradley…Patient Resource Center Manager

by Leigh Milligan, Head Editor, INALJ Wisconsin

Venus BradleyFor the last year, I have been working with Venus as Lead Library Assistant in the Patient Resource Center at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital and I am very impressed by all the hard work she puts into this very unique library. I am very honored to share everything I have learned about Venus and the Resource Center through this interview J

Leigh: How did you become Patient Resource Center Manager?

Venus: Back in August 2007, Magee experienced a reduction in its workforce that resulted in a vacant librarian position.  It was at that time, the President and CEO of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Jack Carroll, PhD asked me to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Resource Center.  As his Executive Assistant, I felt compelled to meet yet another lofty request.  I admittedly confessed to him that I was reluctant, yet honored to even be considered to fill such an important position.  If the Internet is considered the information highway, then certainly a librarian is the vessel.  A librarian is obligated to help its patrons not only gain access to information, but to know how to use the information obtained.

You can probably guess by now, that I am not a librarian; however, I surround myself with the right people (taking a lesson from the page of businessman, Lee Iacocca).  These folks are responsible for the success of our program at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.  The former Chairman of Ford Motor Company once said, “I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way. “  That said, I have eight active volunteers working with me in the Resource Center and they are educated in a variety of areas.  Among them are: Masters of Library Science and Information Science, Biological Science, Accounting, Marketing and Management, Behavioral Health, and Music Education.  The volunteers have been a tremendous help to me and Magee in helping to promote our program offerings, acquire federal grant money, provide health information to or simply fulfill the everyday requests of our consumers.  I take great pride in knowing that our volunteers are helping to make a positive difference in the lives of our patients during their inpatient stay at Magee and I am sure that they do too.

Leigh: Could you tell me a bit about the Resource Center at Magee Rehabilitation and what your job entails as Patient Resource Center Manager?

Venus: The Resource Center is situated on the beautiful rooftop of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital located in downtown Philadelphia.  It operates in the same manner as a local library.  Of course the purpose of the Resource Center is to provide relevant information, particularly health information to our patients, but it is also our goal for patients to use that information in a way that improves the care they receive.  Having access to and possessing the right information, may help the patient to ask questions about his/her medical condition and could possibly lead to a better understanding of his/her situation, which should result in the building of a health-literate individual.  Patients, who are proficient in health literacy, statistically enjoy higher patient outcomes and that is our primary mission at Magee.

My job as a supervisor is to make certain that patients and their families have access to information and that they are aware of resources that could aid in the betterment of their care.  In addition to this role, I have the pleasure of conducting mediated searches for a number of our physicians named to Philadelphia Magazine’s Top Doctor list and lay professionals, who are reputable clinical lecturers and publishers in peer reviewed journals.   Also, in my position, I am responsible for budgeting the operations of the Resource Center, negotiating agreements with vendors of publications and databases, orienting and training volunteers, promoting and marketing program offerings, as well as performing small-scale fundraisers among other things.

Leigh MilliganLeigh: What is your favorite thing about libraries and/or library technologies?

Venus: I am a person who loves to have options and that is what a library offers.  The collection of books, CDs and DVD, the availability of computers and information, the observation of people as well as the variety of scenery are my favorite things about any library.  At Magee, my favorite technologies are the adaptive devices that are provided to our patients.  When patients use adaptive tools, it levels the playing field.  It turns their dis-ability into an ability and in that case, we all win; the patient, the multi-disciplines involved, the Resource Center and Magee overall.

Leigh: What is your favorite library you have been to and why?

Venus: Allow me to start by saying that the mission of any library is to help improve literacy.  With that said my favorite library is the Free Library of Philadelphia.  There are a vast amount of programs/services offered such as computer training to help the user become acquainted with a computer, learn a new program, and/or heighten existing skill sets; career workshops to help the unemployed and underemployed find gainful employment; adult education classes, author events, exhibitions to meet the interests of adults, teens and children; an impressive homebound service for individuals who can’t leave their home; as well as a melting pot of current and historical collections.

The Free Library of Philadelphia is colossal in stature; has incredibly beautiful architect and the Grecian columns are reminiscent of my younger years learning about the great Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle.  It is situated in the fabulous section of the city known as Logan Square, where you can find a plethora of great eateries, the gorgeous tree-lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway and a host of fine arts establishments such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The Free Library of Philadelphia is the only place on the planet that I know of where you can window shop magazines and books without the hassle of a sales person like those at chain book stores; arrange a one-on-one meeting (aka a first date) and leave on a high note even if your date was hideous and ended on a low note, get a great cardio vascular workout while increasing strength in your legs, abdominal and gluteus maximus muscles by climbing the grand stair cases, have access to intellectuals who come to speak, enjoy rare book collections and see fine exhibitions inside and seedy characters outside, read best sellers, catch up on old best sellers, meet new authors, greet authors of the past, get wi -fi and the best news is that you get ALL of this for FREE.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Leigh: Any websites or blogs that we should be following?

Venus: The Magee Facebook and Magee Blog are definitely go-to sites.  Viewers can find valuable content concerning the latest happenings in healthcare, particularly in rehabilitation medicine as well as acquire relevant and topical health information/education.

Leigh: Best piece of job-hunting advice?

Venus: Seek membership in a professional organization to stay on top of the latest happenings in your chosen field or to gain insight into a new field of interest.  Attend career workshops (available at the Free Library of Philadelphia) to help with resume building and use social media outlets to inform folks that you are out of work.  Establish LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. accounts.  They allow employers to get a snapshot of who you are outside of your resume.  I read somewhere that more than a third of all employers utilize these sites in the hiring process.  Lastly, as a traditional means, word of mouth still works.  It is the oldest form of advertising and statistically 55% of all adults get local news and information once a week via word of mouth.

In the end, I believe, that it all boils down to word of mouth or networking.  Most employers and careers sites confirm that 80% of jobs are not posted on job listings.  They are only accessible through; you got it, people who know people and telling them about opportunities, or serving as a referral source.  My final piece of advice is to stay encouraged and keep your eyes on the prize until the goal is met.

Venus Bradley is the Medical Library – Patient Resource Center Manager at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, a 96-bed rehabilitation facility that specializes in the provision of physical and cognitive services.  This flagship hospital is one of the first in the nation to earn an accreditation for its brain injury program from the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and is one of 14 federally designated centers for spinal cord injury.  It offers an array of comprehensive treatment for stroke, amputation, pain management, concussions, and work injuries as well as services for wounded soldiers. Magee has been recognized as one of America’s best rehabilitation hospitals as published by U.S. News & World Report.

Venus has turned the department into a reliable income-producing entity by expanding the offerings of the Resource Center to include fee-for-service for non-patients.  Under her leadership, the Resource Center received notable mention in a Joint Commission Accreditation Survey (exit conference).  In conjunction with Magee’s Grant Writer/Researcher and the Resource Center Volunteer Assistant, Venus was able to secure a technology grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Venus also serves as the Credentialing Manager and the Executive Assistant to the President and Chief Executive Officer.  She has been designated to serve as Magee’s Campaign Chairperson for the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.  She received her undergraduate degree from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and she holds a joint Master’s Degree in Health and Business Administration from Eastern University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.