- Tell us about your role at HSRU
I’m responsible for any information services to support the Unit as a whole, teams within it, and individual staff. I can be asked to do anything from simply finding a book to creating search strategies for evidence reviews. I also keep the database of Unit publications (MUPPET) up to date and maintain the Unit library.
- Tell us a bit about your background and what you do now
After a commission in the Royal Navy, where I served as an Air Traffic Controller and Intelligence Officer, I returned to Aberdeen. I completed an English degree with the Open University which I’d started in the Navy, and qualified as a librarian. I worked for the University Medical Library before moving to NHS Grampian as the Clinical Librarian for several years. I knew about this desirable job in HSRU and I was delighted when I applied successfully. I made the big move along the Polwarth Building corridor in February 2019.
I work primarily with the Evidence Review Group, developing and running literature searches for systematic reviews for various agencies. However, I am available to anyone in the unit and I have been involved with searches for grant applications, trial updates, and student projects. I give advice on any information sources, in print or online, and I know a bit about RefWorks and EndNote.
- How do you usually start your day?
During the week I’m greeted by a less-than-enthusiastic family as I waken them one by one (some time after I get up, may I say); at the weekend I leave them to sleep while I go for an early morning run. I cycle to work and after making myself look presentable my first job is normally to check emails and make a plan for the day’s tasks.
- What is your favourite thing about your job?
Professionally, I like the challenge of developing comprehensive searches for academic reviews. Personally, I really like the Unit as a place to work. With the NHS I had been working by myself in my own office, so HSRU was a big change. However, I have been made to feel very welcome, my new colleagues are good company, and the atmosphere is especially friendly
- How do you relax outside of work?
I would like to say playing the piano, downhill skiing, and SCUBA diving! In actual fact, it’s going for a run, especially a (short) hill run, listening to Kate Bush music, and reading.
- What was the last thing you liked or tweeted about on social media?
I’m not a social media type (though I do follow the unit and a couple of others on Twitter). I am a keen reader and always have more than one book on the go. Currently I’m reading Bill Bryson ‘The Body’, Sebastian Faulks ‘On Green Dolphin Street’, and Ben McIntyre ‘The Spy and the Traitor’. In the past couple of years, I’ve really enjoyed ‘The Bone Clocks’, ‘Silence of the Girls’, and ‘Life after Life’. I’m also keen on a bit of Shakespeare.
Paul's answers were provided in April 2020