Patients’ Library


Diversity is a key point in our libraries, and I feel so lucky that this strength is emphasized by management and coworkers. I oversee the daily operations of Rochester Methodist Hospital’s Patients’ Library where I serve a wide range of patrons from many states, countries, religions, beliefs, backgrounds and cultures. I am also encouraged to use a variety of different skills to solve problems and serve patients’ needs.

What fun it is to come to work with the knowledge that my supervisor Karen Larsen, director Michael Homan, and coworkers will allow me to try creative solutions to improve service through our library!

As a team building effort, I developed a website called “Hot Rocks” which recognizes any library staff member for extraordinary service to Mayo patients, colleagues or Mayo teams. This recognition program includes giving a hand-held pebble called a “Hot Rock” to staff in recognition of exceptional service. These “Hot Rocks” are printed with 10 different slogans such as “Soar” and “Shine” and are tracked on a library Web page. This program of recognition to others has been one of the most uplifting aspects of my job.

I love taking care of patient needs in the library. For example, I help patients manage their email, find consumer health information, recommend fiction and nonfiction books, change airline tickets, find relaxing CDs, and locate stock reports or hometown newspapers online. Each day offers many opportunities to provide compassionate service.

Additionally, I take time off to assist medical students in improving doctor/patient communication through role-playing exercises. As I play the part of a patient with unique needs, I enjoy watching the students further develop and explore their skills to explain procedures, take histories and delve into their impressive knowledge in providing solutions to the patient scenarios we offer. I truly believe that Mayo is training the next generation of extraordinary doctors.

Mayo has also provided me with excellent educational opportunities inside and outside the institution. With the support of Mayo’s tuition benefits, I received a master’s degree in counseling and psychological services which has proved invaluable in my work and interpersonal relationships. I enjoy attending Psychiatry and Psychology Grand Rounds, as well as communication and management classes taught by expert Mayo staff.

My coworkers inspire me to use my skills in implementation of the Mayo Primary Value that “the needs of the patient come first” — in building better teamwork, improving patient care and leading the way in providing excellent healthcare, research and education. Stop by the Patients Library in Eisenberg Hospital or Saint Marys Hospital and we’ll make you feel welcome.

Debbie Fuehrer is a library lead who manages the daily operations of the Rochester Methodist Hospital Patients’ Library.

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3 Responses to “Patients’ Library”

  1. Vicki A Says:

    Debbie “adopted” me when my husband was a patient undergoing chemo & a stem cell infusion. She is a great person & a great librarian…a definite asset for the Mayo system. I am proud to call her friend!

  2. Diane Sibley Says:

    Deb is a treasure to have at Mayo. Stopping in the library when she is there is a guaranteed uplift for the day! Thanks Deb.

  3. Hope Leman Says:

    What a charming essay. It is so nice to read about happy librarians and their helpfulness to students and other library patrons. Well done, Debbie!

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