Library Services for Medical Assisting Students at The New York School for Medical and Dental Assistants (NYSMDA)

Information literacy encompasses the skills that enable an individual to: identify when information is needed; find the needed information; evaluate the information; apply the information effectively; and acknowledge the source of the information. Libraries serving Medical Assisting students provide the space, the resources, and the assistance needed for students to develop these skills and effectively retrieve and utilize the information they need to complete their school assignments. Best of all, a Medical Assisting student who develops information literacy skills uses those skills on the job, keeping current and accurate both with clinical services and with the knowledge needed for up-to-date and effective patient education.

The stated mission of the NYSMDA library is: “to provide students, faculty, and staff with excellent service and the quality resources needed to support the skills necessary to access, evaluate, and use information effectively. The library aims to support the educational and research activities of the NYSMDA community in order for students to develop an appreciation of library resources and become lifelong learners. “

We fulfill that mission by providing the following:

Location: The library is the place to go for learning outside the classroom.

Sometimes it gets lively, but most of the time the library is a place where students can study without distractions. We provide space, equipment, resources, and supplies to facilitate student learning. Students can work at a study table or use one of the library computers for research or for Microsoft Office Applications. Work on their own or collaborate with a group. Print and photocopy. Staples, tape, scissors, pencils… students ask at the desk and we provide it if we can.

Lookups: The library has the right stuff to use for school research.

The library provides books and articles that are specifically geared to what Medical Assisting students need for their classes. We have over 1500 books and journals in the library. Our electronic databases include medical journals and online reference books, and can be accessed both at the school and off-campus, twenty-four (24) hours a day seven (7) days a week. Topics include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, insurance and medical billing, disease and pathology, pharmacology, law and medical ethics, phlebotomy, medical office administration, electronic health records, psychology, electrocardiography, nutrition, and more.

During the Medical Assistant Program at NYSMDA a student will be required to complete several research projects.  The school strongly recommends that its students seek the assistance of the school’s full-time librarian in completing these projects.  Working with the assistance of the librarian teaches NYSMDA students to be more efficient in finding information on the internet as well as finding printed resources.  

Some of the topics of the research papers include: Selecting a body system and composing a brief description of its organs and describing the most common diseases that are associated with this system; Selecting a topic about either healthcare laws or bioethics and describing its practical application; Selecting a disease and outlining the diseases history, pathophysiology, diagnostic criteria and the management of the disease; The holistic research project allows students to select a topic about herbs or complementary medicine or alternative medicine and if applicable share their personal experiences with holistic medicine.  In addition to writing a paper these projects also give the student the opportunity to make an oral presentation of their paper in front of their classmates.   

nysmda librarian in nysmda library

Librarian: The librarian is there to help.

Students come to school knowing how to search online for things they need; they don’t always know how to tell whether information is reliable, authoritative, or appropriate for the Medical Assisting field. The librarian knows the resources and the curriculum, and can help students go beyond Google to find information in sources appropriate for health professionals. The librarian works individually with students who come into the library, and provides lessons to classes who are preparing for a research assignment. Ask a question! We help students find the answers – and learn how to find the answers for themselves.


Hinde Fertig Senior Librarian NYSMDA