Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Any suggestions for how I can live stream an AGM meeting?

One of the things I have to look into over the next couple of weeks is how I can organise the live streaming on the Internet of the Australian College of Midwives' AGM.

I think it has to be closed, so I need to think about how I can "allow" midwives to join, but I need to check up on that. I also want this to be an easy but effective process...it has to be good quailty, yet not cost a fortune in equipment or IT-support.

So, would love to hear from anyone with suggestions on how I can go about setting this up. What equipment did you use? What advice would you give me? What pitfalls should I try to avoid?

Image: 'The most expensive webcam of all times?'
Found on flickrcc.net

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Will you be my friend? The use of social networking for midwifery professional development

I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Annette Dalsgaard Vilain over the last couple of years on various projects, including the Virtual International Day of the Midwife. Annette is a Danish midwife and educator who I met online...I can't remember how/where/when! Needless to say, we have been able to utilize the collaborative nature of social media to work together, support, and learn from each other. All this has resulted in a paper that we wrote collaboratively, for the journal of the Danish Association Midwives, entitled "Will you be my friend? The use of social networking for midwifery professional development".

We wrote this article because of our concern that most the midwifery literature about social media is quite critical and  focuses on the risk of using social media as health professionals. We wanted to rectify this somewhat, and provide more balance, talking about how social media can be used for professional development, and citing the VIDM as a case study.

Will You Be My Friend

Friday, September 7, 2012

AHPRA's draft social media policy: sensible advice or attack on freedom of speech?

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is responsible for the regulation of nursing and midwifery in Australia, amongst other professions. AHPRA has just called for feedback on a draft policy for the use of social media in healthcare. The draft policy has been taken off the AHPRA website but can be found here: http://www.impactednurse.com/pics5/somedraft.pdf

I am in the throes of preparing a response, as a practitioner who successfully (or so I think) uses social media, and has learned a few lessons along the way.

Let me say right from the start....I welcome all comments and advice about using social media with respect, and following all rules and regulations about patient privacy and confidentiality. I am also delighted to see that APHRA has acknowledged the rise of social media.  I am also making these comments as an individual - they do not necessarily represent the views of the Australian College of Midwives.

My initial reaction to this draft policy is the underlying premise is that social media is a very risky activity for health professionals to engage with, and demonstrates a lack of understanding of how social media can be used - to increase communication, collaboration, transparency, sharing, research, education and community engagement. There is a lack of understanding of how consumers want health practitioners to engage with them.

The draft policy ignores the fact that social media is so much a part of life now. Instead of educating practitioners to use it professionally and effectively, it is taking a punitive approach. This will not work because social media is so embedded in what we do, and it is impossible to tease out our private use from the public use. It will also be impossible to police.

One of my main recommendations is to turn this policy on its head, and take the opportunity to educate practitioners in a positive way, using guidelines. I have always appreciated the UK NMC's guidelines - they offer practical advice, yet recognise the benefits of social media. Another recommendation will be for AHPRA to work with practitioners and consumers who are currently working effectively and professionally with social media, in order to educate themselves, as well as pick their brains about the issues.

For other views, see Impacted Nurse, writing "New AHPRA social media policy: we may be in big trouble here", and the comments that come after this post by Croakey, "Is AHPRA on the right track re social media use by health professionals? A chance to let them know your views…"

Please let me know what you think?
  • Is AHPRA uninformed about social media, or is it right to be so concerned about practitioners' use of SM? 
  • Is AHPRA unrealistic in its expectations, or has it completely missed the point of social media?
  • Is AHPRA attacking freedom of speech and our ability to advocate and discuss healthcare practice in public, or is it right to suggest we should not wash our dirty laundry for all to see?
  • Will the policy be a supportive measure, or drive practitioners use of social media "under-ground"?
I'd love to hear your views. Or, contact AHPRA directly: socialmediaconsult@ahpra.gov.au by the 14th September - public consultation will occur in October/November.

Image: '50 Social Media Icons'
Found on flickrcc.net

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What can be "free" and what should be paid for in the non-profit sector?

One of the challenges I am currently thinking about, as I settle into my new job,is how to make money from education in the non-profit sector.

Three weeks ago I moved jobs from working for Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, as an educator, to professional development officer at the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) in Canberra, Australia. I haven't been in my new job for very long, so can't tell you too much about it, because I'm still getting my head around what it entails. However, the main tension I have already come up against is moving from an environment where I was encouraged to develop open access education and resources, and free learning opportunities for the community under an open intellectual property policy, to working for a small non-profit organization that has to do everything it can to make money and be financially viable, within a closed IP framework.

This is causing me to think very carefully. How can I continue to work for national and international midwifery collaboration, which includes open sharing of resources and ideas, yet protect the financial interests of the organization I work for? How can I make money by providing professional development opportunities to midwives in Australia, yet stay true to the philosophy of open access education? Is it possible to do this in the non-profit sector? Is it even appropriate or relevant?

I would love to hear from anyone who is in the same situation and work for non-profit organizations? How do you keep a balance between making money, yet contributing to collaboration and education development in the wider community? What can be "free", and what should be paid for?