Wednesday, October 19, 2011

'To infinity and beyond' workshop: Introducing midwives to social media

The aim of this workshop is to introduce midwives to social media and how they can use it for communication and collaboration.

By the end of the workshop, midwives will be able to:

1. list some of the common social media tools that be used for communication and collaboration including Twitter, blogs, wiki, Skype and Facebook;
2. identify how midwives can use these tools to build communities and networks of practice
3. describe some examples and case studies in which midwives use social media for professional development, support and mentoring including the Virtual International Day of the Midwife
4. construct a plan for how they can use social media in their own personal learning
5. construct a plan for how they can use social media for local, national and international professional communication and collaboration

Need for this workshop
There are a number of reasons why midwives must be introduced to social media and given strategies for managing it effectively:

1. Heath information
Women turn extensively to the Internet for information, thus midwives need to know how to publish credible information for women, to increase woman's ability to make informed choices about their care, and thus increase their satisfaction with midwifery care.
The Internet is a crucial tool for finding health information. Research has shown that in eight out of ten Internet users have used the Internet to find information about health. Women are twice as likely to look on the Internet for health information, which is likely because they generally take the responsibility for the health of their families.

2. Web 2.0 will impact on the woman-midwife relationship

Not only do health consumers look for information on the Internet, they also publish their own information and content. This is what we mean when we talk about 'Web 2.0' - the tools and process of a two-way interaction on the Internet. People control their own information and how it is disseminated on the Internet. Not only can I go to the Internet and find information on a website, but using social networking tools I can publish my own version of that information on my blog, Twitter, Facebook account and so on. I can talk about my experiences of being a pregnant woman...I can start a campaign to support home birth on Facebook...I can complain about my midwife on Twitter...
Midwives need to know how to connect with women and work in a more participatory relationship which is facilitated by Web 2.0. In other words, midwives need to be able to engage with more knowledgeable and articulate health consumers in the online as well as face-to-face environment.

3. Working with Gen Y and Z
In five to ten years we will be working working with young women who have grown up with the Internet and social media, and know no other way of communicating with each other. Not only will these young women be our clients, but they will also be the next generation of midwives. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and say we only work in the face-to-face environment. If we do, we run the danger of being unable to communicate with, or meet the information needs of this new generation of women.

4. Concerns about privacy and online identity

There are concerns about security, online identity and the appropriate use of social networking sites. But this should not be a reason for avoiding social media. Social media has much to offer midwives but it is worth understanding the appropriate way to use the tools and develop strategies for keeping 'safe' on the Internet.

5. Huge potential for online communities and networks of practice

In these days of economic retrenchment, midwives must look at alternative ways to face-to-face meetings to collaborate, mentor and support each other, provide and access ongoing learning opportunities. Social media allows midwives to network and connect, and develop communities and networks of practice in a way that cannot happen using traditional communication methods. Web 2.0 fosters academic freedom, breaks down barriers to knowledge sharing and provides unique opportunities for communication and collaboration on national and international levels. The 'open access' and 'open source' movements encourage open and free access to communication tools and knowledge. Midwives cannot afford to be left behind the times as other health professions and consumers forge ahead and capitalise on the opportunities that social media offer. The more networking, connecting and sharing we do, the stronger we will become as a profession.

Workshop program

1. Introduction
  • Definition of what social media is
  • Aims for the workshop 
  • Why we need to engage with social media as midwives
2. Group discussions about social media
  • Current knowledge
  • Use 
  • Application 
  • Concerns about risk of social media 
  • What would you particularly like to know today 
3. Presentation about social media
  • How I use it and how it has impacted on my practice, learning and professional development
4. Demonstration - My eight top tools

5. Group work which each group playing a role:  hospital midwife, self-employed midwife, student, manager, lecturer, researcher, woman
  • What are the issues that concern you? eg marketing, access to internet at work, privacy, 'branding'
  • How will you use SM? 
  • Set up an Twitter account – think about issues of name, how you write profile (160 characters), write on butchers paper and stick up on the wall 
  • Feed back to workshop what you've thought are the issues...what you've called yourself...and what you've put on your profile. 
  • Take sticky notes and put name on it and post on everyone's butcher paper. Make sure you answer the notes on your account...join in the conversation 
  • Feed back to workshop  - how did that go, what did you learn,what went well, what issues arose? What questions do you still have?
6. Construction of personal social media plan
  • How are you going to use social media for your own personal learning?
  • How will you use it for local, national and international professional communication and collaboration?
7. Conclusion


starpath said...

Such a valuable workshop for midwives. I just love the work you are doing. I totally endorse your sentiments that midwives need to provide information and communication resources to suit the needs of Gen Y and more so Gen Z who are already consumers of midwifery service delivery. You are fantastic.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks Starpath...have to say...I was quoting your research all the time at the workshop :)

BTW, here's an opportunity for an media is a theme at this conference...exactly what your research is looking at: