Sunday, April 11, 2010

How to bring the Virtual International Day of the Midwife to your hospital or facility

I have had a few midwives ask how they can hook up to the Virtual International Day of the Midwife on 5th May in the hospital and facility where they work, so that midwives can dip in and out of sessions when it suits them. Here's a few thoughts and tips if you are planning to do exactly that.

The vast amount of sessions are being offered in Elluminate, which is a web conference program - the meeting room has been kindly donated by the Education Development Centre, Otago Polytechnic. Elluminate doesn't take much to run, but you will need Java on your computer before you can open up the Elluminate meeting room - click here for more information about how to check you have Java on your computer.

The other thing that could stop you running Elluminate is your hospital or facility's firewall (security settings). My advice is to talk to your IT support and ask them to check that Java is on your computer and the firewall will let you get into the Elluminate meeting room.

Internet access
Elluminate even runs on dial up internet connection, although it can take longer load up. Here are some instructions on how to use Elluminate on a dial-up connection.

If there is only one or two of you sitting around a computer, you should be able to hear adequately. But if there is going to be a few people, I would recommend that you plug speakers into your computer so you all can hear the presentations.

If you work in a bigger hospital and have a conference room with a computer linked to the internet, you will be able to get more people to see what's going on if you project the sessions onto the wall or a screen.

If you do not have a microphone, you will be able to hear what's going on, and you will be able to communicate with other participants using the 'chat' text box. However, if you wish to speak and join in with audio, you will need a microphone.

You can buy very cheap headsets with microphones. If you are sharing a computer with a number of people, all you need to do is plug the mic into the computer and share it around when someone wants to speak.

Setting up the audio and microphone
Once you are in the meeting room, you will need to check that you can hear and that your microphone works - click here for information on how to use the audio wizard that will walk you though how to set up your audio and mic.

Having a play
My advice is that you have a 'play' and try out Elluminate before the 5th May, so you can make sure everything is working beforehand. The meeting room is always open for you to try it out - click here to go to the meeting room.

Detailed instructions of how to download Elluminate can be found on the Virtual Day of the Midwife website. Instructions on how to use Elluminate when you get into the room can be found here.

If you have any further queries about how to use Elluminate, or would like to meet someone in the meeting room to test things out, please let me know.


Anonymous said...

Gosh you are good Sarah! This is really helpful, thanks! Deb

Sarah Stewart said...

It will be interesting to see how hospitals get on with this - if midwives get blocked by their IT policies and departments.

DaveB said...

(following up on related twitter convo with Sarah)

IT Depts in hospitals should, and usually do, take security extremely seriously. If you can't get to the internet directly from a workstation on which you can access your patient management system then that is a Good Thing.

If you have trouble accessing things such as eluminate then I would recommend that a senior practitioner or dept head contact a senior IT dept person (CIO, account manager if you have those) and advise them AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE of the upcoming need. Emphasize that your need is one of Professional Development (not recreation). Do keep a record of the request, and follow up.

If you have no lead time - if you need something done straight away then apologize and beg.

Many hospitals have training rooms with data projectors - consider this rather than asking IT to enable access to multiple workstations.

Always ask nicely and show respect to the IT staff as professionals. You'll get a LOT more that way than barking orders, throwing a tantrum and talking down to them.

Be nice and polite but not a wimp. If you've been reasonable, given lead time etc then escalate. Have your senior practitioner, dept head etc talk to the CIO, see what can be worked out.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks, Dave, for the advice..

Please see my profile said...

Thanks Dave for your sensible suggestions! Your comments are duly noted.

Sue McLean said...

Thanks Dave and Sarah! I tried at the last min last year to run it at my hospital with no luck. Have started the phonecalls to IT and are not getting anywhere fast. Will keep pluging away!! Wish me luck!!!
Sue McLean

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Sue, which country are you based in? If you can , try Elluminate by phone or instant chat - the chaps there are usually really helpful:

If you're in New Zealand, contact the Otago Polytechnic IT helpdesk via 0800 smartmove