Thursday, October 18, 2007

Developing 'community' in a formal education program

I tried to 'attend' an online seminar/lecture led by Derek Chirnside as part of the course I am taking part in. It was at 7.30 last Monday. The advantage of being able to 'attend' an event like this is obvious: I do not have to stir myself away from my cosy home. The downside, I discovered, is that one has to negotiate family obligations at the same time, like cooking the dinner. Consequently, I am having major problems trying to remember what was said for this reflection (which is a course requirement). So I am going to cheat and say that I agree with Carolyn's reflections. Like Carolyn, the main thing I got out of the session was the discussion about open and closed 'classes'. I agree that we would need a mix of open and closed resources/forums because we have legal, professional and ethical expectations about disclosure of information. We would not expect midwifery students to disclose their experiences with a woman or midwife in an open forum that anyone on the Internet could look at-we may open ourselves up to charges of breaching the New Zealand Privacy Act. Nevertheless, there is much to recommend the sharing of resources that can be accessed by students and midwives anywhere online. After all, midwifery knowledge can hardly be copyrighted by one individual school of midwifery.

My main thoughts from the evening are:

1. How can we teach students to share information online in a professional way that protects confidentiality but encourages deep reflection and learning ( this needs to be applied equally to face-to-face interactions)?
2. How can we protect our intellectual property (and meet institutional requirements) yet share it in a way that promotes sharing of knowledge and invites collaboration?

The example I gave about how the open/closed forums could be run is this:

in an open forum I would share information and facilitate discussion about post partum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding after a baby is born) - PPH;

in a closed forum, we would explore the students' individual clinical experiences of PPH.

Any thoughts about this?


Occupational Therapy Otago said...

Hi Sarah
I think it is a really important conversation to have especially here in New Zealand if we are to keep our students safe and client info confidential. We have a challenge created by our small population which means that people can often be recognised by the smallest amount of information eg In occupational therapy you could say I was treating a client with multiply sclerosis who lived 30 kms from the nearest supermarket and people know who you are talking about or a client recognises themselves, so it becomes difficult to use an open forum to reflect on a therapists actions,or decision making on anything other than an artificial scenario.

Sarah Stewart said...

I totally agree, Jackie - it's the same with midwifery.

Midwifemuse said...

I have to say that when I started my blog it was to 'get things off my chest'.I was naive, I had not imagined that people would read it. Now I realise that some people do read it I am far more careful about recounting encounters etc., just in case! However, there are times when explaining a situation may be 'educational' to an interested reader, especially a pregnant woman.
With regard to 'intellectual property', difficult,especially when I wish to remain anonymous and protect patient confidentiality. I have recently found my words used in the editoral of a professional publication, no reference made to the source!

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you for your comment, Midwifemuse. I am flabbergasted at what you say about your comment being used and not referenced. I think because there are so few midwives blogging at the moment, it does make us more visible, which may or may not be a good thing.

I have come to realize that I can set up a blog with 'Blogspot' software and make it completely self-contained and non-visible. So I am going to have a play with this next year and see how I get on.