Staff Series: Librarian Batten Partners in Nursing Mission

October 18, 2021

Dr. Janene Batten, EdD, grew up in Adelaide, South Australia and arrived in the US in 1993. She began her career as a librarian at Bridgeport Hospital, where she worked for three years. She was recruited to the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library to specifically as the nursing librarian working with the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) community as well as the clinical nurses at Yale New Haven Hospital. As the YSN Nursing Research and Education Librarian for the past 17 years, she guides students through a labyrinth of databases, assists faculty with tailored approaches to their research needs, and generally finds the unfindable.

What is a typical day like for you as the YSN Librarian?

One day is never the same as the next! That’s why I like my job so much, I never know what the day will bring. It could be anything from showing a student how to find information for their classwork to helping a faculty member think about how to integrate the value the librarians can bring to their class. My mantra is: I am a partner in your mission. Let me know what you need, and I’ll help you get it. 

Earlier this year you earned your Doctor of Education (EdD) at the University of Southern California. What inspired you to pursue this degree? 

I have always wanted to do a doctorate, but never saw myself completing a PhD. Embedded with the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, I was inspired watching these mid-career nurses do the amazing projects that had direct clinical application. A practice doctorate, which is what both the DNP and EdD are, is exactly what I wanted to do! 

It probably comes as no surprise that nurses were central to my EdD thesis. My thesis was inspired by a grant I received in 2007 when I first came to the Medical Library. The grant centered around providing information and education to school nurses an information-underserved group. Working with another librarian, we conducted a survey of all the school nurses in Connecticut. The data confirmed what we thought: school nurses had limited knowledge of the information resources available to them, but they wanted to have access to the materials and learn to use them. We organized training sessions for school nurses all over the state. Fully recognizing the challenges they face in their profession, I have remained close to the Connecticut school nurses. This formative event as an early career librarian led to my doctoral research thesis titled “Achieving the Educational Mission: Are Connecticut School Nurses Valued?”

What inspires you about working with faculty, students, and staff at YSN ?

I really believe that the work that nurses do is pivotal to the outcomes of the people they care for and society at large. I have seen nurses do amazing things that come from the heart and always with the patient at the center. I am in awe of the talent of our faculty whose expertise is sought after from colleagues around the world. Our students are intense, special people who are driven and disciplined in the rigor that will make them incredible future nurses. The staff are a joy to be around. They tirelessly support each other, the work of the faculty, and ensure that the student’s education and experience is enjoyable. 

And fundamentally, YSN changed the face of nursing and transformed nursing education from a training-based apprenticeship into a respected and university-educated career. And the school continually looks to the future to remain vital and relevant. With an association like that, what’s not to inspire anyone? 

Staff Series This is the next in an occasional series of YSN staff profiles, and the conversation has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity. Read our earlier pieces about how Wesley Revangil engages students on financial aid, Ekaterina Ginzburg drives teaching and learning innovation, and Jeanetsey Prates anticipates faculty needs. And check back soon to meet more YSN staff.