Saturday, March 30, 2013

How to Bring the Virtual International Day of the Midwife 2014 to your Hospital, Facility or Organisation

Here's a few thoughts and tips about how to hook up to the Virtual International Day of the Midwife on 5th May 2014 in the hospital and facility where you work, so that midwives can dip in and out of sessions when it suits them.

Adobe Connect
The conference is being held in Adobe Connect - click here to be taken to the conference room. The meeting room has been kindly donated by the University College Lillebaelt. Here is information about how to set up Adobe Connect and what to do when you join the conference. My advice is to talk to your IT support in plenty of time if you do have problems setting up your computer.

Internet access
Adobe  Connect even runs on dial up internet connection, although it can take longer load up. Here are some instructions on how to set the correct connection for your computer when you are in the conference room.

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. But don't plug in the speaker lead of the headset because no one will be able to hear the audio.

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 Adobe Connect before the 5th May, so you can make sure everything is working beforehand. The VIDM practice room is always open for you to try it out - click here to go to the meeting room. There will be some facilitated practice sessions in the couple of weeks running up the the 5th May, so feel free to join one of those sessions, especially if you have any questions about how to use it.

Advertising the Virtual International Day of the Midwife 2014
Here is a link to a poster that you can download, print off and post up around your organisation.

If you have any further queries about how to use Adobe Connect, or would like to meet someone in the meeting room to test things out, please let us know:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Social media and associations

I have been asked to talk to the Australian Associations Forum in Canberra tomorrow about the use of social media by associations - the associations that will be represented in the audience will be anything from the Association of Social Workers to Australian Forest Growers. I will be looking at questions such as:
  • Why associations should have a social media prescence?
  • What should go into a social media policy?
  • How can social media be used effectively, yet professionally?
  • What tools best suit associations? 
Having recently moved from education to working for the Australian College of Midwives which is a non-profit association, I have been reflecting on how my message to associations will be different to the message I used to give teachers about social media in education. The answer I think is fundamentally "no".

The reason for this is however you use social media, the key engaging people be they students, members or customers is that social media is about two-way communication. It's about

So I am thinking that my take-home message is that associations need to make a start with social media by thinking about the way they do business and want to interact with members and community before they launch into technology, and the ins and outs of Facebook. What do you think?

Image: 'in Spire Jump'
Found on

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Moving office

The Australian College of Midwives has just moved office, from one of the Canberra suburbs to right in the middle of the city next to the shopping mall. I am delighted with the move for a couple of reasons.

Breast-feeding space
Firstly, we have made a baby-friendly space in the office which will be available for mums to use as a breast-feeding space when they are out and about shopping. This move also makes us a lot more accessible to women who want to know more about midwifery options  - I hope our new location will make it a lot easier for women to drop in and talk to us.

Drop-in for midwives
I am also hoping that the local midwives will start to see us as a place that they can drop in and have a chat. And maybe, they will start to use us as a place for disseminating information to women about local midwifery services.

Meeting room
We have a fabulous meeting space that can be used as a meeting room cum training room which will be available to small groups to use, such as ante natal classes. I already have my eye on it for a blogging workshop in April.

My own office
I am also enjoying my own personal space in an office I have to myself. And as you can see from the photo, one of the walls is painted a lovely rusty orange colour which is very inspiring. I know there are advantages to working in an open-plan office, but at the same time, it is good to have a space where I can close the door when I want some private time to think, and do more focused writing. I have lots of space where I can "entertain", so if you are ever in Canberra, I'm always open for visitors.
The only snag with this move is that we are now right above a cup-cake shop which provides a daily temptation to me, and is going to be very hard to resist. The up side to that is my gym is only one block away, so if I succumb to temptation, I can go and work off the cup cake in my lunch break!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tips for student midwives on how to use social media and stay out of trouble!

I was delighted to be asked to speak to a group of midwifery students the other day at the University of Canberra about the professional use of social media. It was really fascinating to talk to them about their use of social media, and I must admit I got a couple of surprises.

It came as no surprise that most of them had a Facebook account. But what did surprise me was very few of them used other social media channels, and hardly any of them used social media for professional uses. I thought it would be because of their concerns about privacy etc, but this was not the case. Rather, it was because they felt they got all the support, access to resources and information, and networking that they needed through their university channels. They also said they did not have the time for social media, and they felt very strongly about keeping their personal lives separate from their professional lives.

My response to these concerns is that when students move into practice, they will not have the access to resources and information, or even networking, that they have as students. So it is very important that they work out ways of keeping informed, and staying connected to the profession at all levels; local, national and international, and I believe that social networking can help midwives do that.

Here is the presentation I gave the students - what additional comments or tips would you add?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reflecting on "The Big Issue"

One of the things I have been introduced to in Canberra is "The Big Issue". This is a magazine that deals with issues around homelessness. It is sold by homeless people as a way of earning money.

I came across "The Big Issue" in the UK but never bought it because I thought it was another form of begging - I am somewhat embarrassed to admit to how uninformed I was back in those days. I cannot say I know much more about homelessness these days, but I think I am a little less prejudiced than when I was in my early 20s.

Since moving to Canberra, I have started buying "The Big Issue". The Canberra vendors stand right outside the main shopping mall so you cannot miss them. I have to admit that I started buying the magazine as a way to contribute to a cause, but now I buy it because I enjoy reading it. 

One of the things I enjoy reading is the stories of  individual vendors.
Judith is featured in this year's Big Issue calender. What caught my eye was that she used to be a midwife. Circumstances totally outside her control led to her being abandoned. However, she now works for Big Issue and has completed a Certificate III in Business.

It was the story of Judith that really got me thinking that it is only the grace of God that keeps me in the privileged position I am in now. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not grateful for that.

Image: 'Homeless woman with dogs'
Found on

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What do we want to know about the effectiveness of the Virtual International Day of the Midwife 2013 for CPD?

I am in the throes of sorting out an evaluation survey for the Virtual International Day of the Midwife 2013. I am keen to ask the same questions as we did last year so we can do a comparison this year. However, there may be additional questions that are worth asking, or questions that we asked last year that have no relevance in 2013. 

Here are the questions from last year's survey. What would you add, and what would you leave out this year?

1. What is your MAIN occupation or role? (Click only one answer)
  • Student midwife
  • Clinical midwife
  • Midwifery manager
  • Midwifery educator
  • Midwifery researcher
  • Other midwifery role
  • Parent or expecting parent
  • Other health professional
  • Other educator
  • Other:
2. What country do you live in?

3. How old are you?
  • 15 - 19 years old
  • 20 - 29 years old
  • 30 - 39 years old
  • 40 - 49 years old
  • 50 - 59 years old
  • 60 - 69 years old
  • 70+
4. What is your gender?
  • Male
  • Female
5. How did you hear about the Virtual International Day of the Midwife? (Click as many answers as you like)
  • Email group
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blog
  • Wiki
  • Midwifery forum
  • Personal email
  • Text message
  • Face-to-face message
  • Other:
6. Did you attend a session during the Virtual International Day of the Midwife 2012?
  • Yes
  • No (Go to Q. 13)
7. Where were you when you joined the Virtual International Day of the Midwife?
  • Home
  • Clinical facility (eg hospital, birth unit)
  • University or college
  • Library
  • Internet cafe
  • Other:
8. What electronic gadget were you using when you joined the Virtual International Day of the Midwife?
  • Personal computer
  • Lap top
  • Notebook
  • Smartphone
  • Tablet (eg iPad)
  • Other [ comment box ]
9. How easy was the technology to use?
  • Very easy
  • Easy
  • Not very easy
  • Very hard
10. What sessions or events during the Virtual International Day of the Midwife? (Click as many answers as you like)

11. Overall, how would you rate the sessions you attended?
  • Very good
  • Good
  • Poor
  • Very poor

12. What was the highlight of the Virtual International Day of the Midwife?

13. If you didn't attend any sessions, what were the reasons? (Choose as many as you like)
  • Did not find out about it in time
  • Was working
  • Was unable to attend for other reasons
  • Nothing in the program interested me
  • Do not have access to a computer
  • Do not have access to the Internet
  • My computer skills are only very basic
  • Was not allowed to access the Internet at work
  • English is not my first language so could not understand the presenters
  • Not enough information about how to use the technology
  • Not enough support to work the technology
  • My computer would not support the technology
  • My internet connection would not support the technology
  • I only like to go to face-to-face events
  • Other:

14. What do you need to be able to join online events like the Virtual International Day of the Midwife?

15. How can the Virtual International Day of the Midwife be improved next year?
  • Email newsletter
  • Frequent reminders via Facebook
  • Frequent reminders via Twitter
  • Frequent reminders via email
  • Frequent reminders via phone text message
  • Use different web conference technology
  • Greater choice of sessions to attend
  • Improved information about the Virtual International Day of the Midwife on the website
  • Improved information about how to use the technology on the website
  • Information about how to use technology on smart phone
  • Other:

16. Any other comments or feedback: