Monthly Archives: July 2013

Mental Health Nurses in the Pacific (to be specific) #alajcu2013

A Cool Event

There was 441 years of experience in health care at the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Workshop, just one part of the month-long event supporting mental health leaders from six Pacific Island nations.

There was 441 years of experience in health care at the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Workshop, just one part of the month-long event supporting mental health leaders from six Pacific Island nations.

A really cool event happened in Cairns from July 1st to 26th. James Cook University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery & Nutrition hosted eighteen Mental Health Nurses from Western Pacific nations; specifically, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Palau, KiribatiCook Islands and the Solomon Islands. Funded via an AusAID Australian Leadership Award, leaders in mental health nursing from these countries had the opportunity to attend lectures, participate in workshops, make site visits to public and private mental health facilities, and other activities aimed at providing educational opportunities they may not be able to acquire at home.

This “train the trainer” approach to supporting mental health nurse education amongst our neighbours in the Pacific is a really smart idea: major kudos to Professor Kim Usher and the whole team at James Cook University’s World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre and School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition. For more info about the program please visit these sites:

Also, it is interesting to read this interview with Jeffrey Alphonse, a mental health nurse from Papua New Guinea who attended the course. Jeffrey conveys a sense of life living and working in in a PNG mental health inpatient facility.

I am sure that the JCU crew have evaluations of the event that will probably pop-up in reports/journals/online soon enough. That’s the sort of thing researchers are really good at.

OK. What’s This Blog Post About Then?

For this blog post I just want to touch on two cool outcomes from my perspective: the perspective of one who was not an organiser or “insider” to the event, but not a complete outsider to the event either.

It was an honour to be invited to meet with the Mental Health Nurses from the Pacific for two occasions. The first visit was an opportunity to introduce my role and compare/contrast the way mental health nurses are deployed in Australia and in the Pacific. Something I learnt is that it is easier to have nurse-led programs in Pacific nations because, to put it bluntly, there are often no other mental health professionals available.

There was 441 years of health care  experience at the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Workshop on 12/07/13.

There was 441 years of health care experience at the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Workshop on 12/07/13.

The second visit was to facilitate a Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (PiMH) Workshop on 12th July. The workshop was different from the usual ones I run because of the vast amount of diverse cultural and clinical experience in the room. Obviously, the vast majority of the participants were mental health nurse leaders from the six Pacific Island nations listed above, but a couple of social workers from the FNQ Medicare Local and a JCU Student Nurse also participated, and some of the JCU Faculty were also able to pop-in for a while.

I have mentioned the structure of the workshop in a previous blog post (see here). Although this workshop had plenty of differences in participant experiences (great learning for me!), the content/agenda we covered was pretty-much the same as previous PiMH workshops, just presented in a slightly different manner.

The workshop contributed to the first of the two cool outcomes.

Cool Outcome Number One: Perinatal and Infant Mental Health in the Pacific Islands

Cool outcome number one is that the workshop content really resonated with some people attending; so much so that they’re intending to take some of the learnings from the workshop back home with them. I found out about this via Anna Cole-Groth, a JCU student nurse who supported the Pacific Island mental health nurse leaders, and contributed to extending the reach of event by utilising social media (as per these examples below):

Solomon

A few of the participants, including Rose from the Solomon Islands, were interested in the way we have been trying to build mental health screening and support pathways into the day-to-day practice of antenatal and postpartum practice. The notion of a prevention/early intervention, proactive “precovery” approach to perinatal mental health care was welcomed as a way to work in partnership with families, communities and other health professionals.

PNG

The workshop was the first introduction to infant mental health for most of the participants, and had particular resonance with some in attendance. The workshop allowed us to discuss and consider some of the key concepts around infant mental health practice, and to give consideration to how it could be incorporated into healthcare in the Pacific Islands. Many participants, including those from Papua New Guinea, spoke of how it could enhance the way mental health and baby care is catered for in community-orientated village life.

It is fantastic to know that some of the perinatal and infant mental information and models of care we have been using here in Australia might have a positive, knock-on effect with our two closest neighbours: Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. For me personally and professionally, after feeling quite dejected about the loss of a role funded by the National Perinatal Depression Initiative (NPDI), it is an unexpected and very welcome joy to think there may be an echo of the program I facilitated amongst our northern neighbours, via a grassroots, nurse-led, undertaking to trial some of these ideas.

We (those of us who have had access to education and resources in this area) should do everything we can to support these mental health nurse leaders. I hope that the Pacific Islanders will find the email network hosted by the ACMHN (Australian College of Mental Health Nurses) a useful bridge to information, resources and supportive, encouraging peers. Subscription to the Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Nurse eNetwork is free and simple; more info and instructions here and here.

Cool Outcome Number Two: Social Media and Wantoks

“Wantok” is pidgin for “one talk” (say it quick: it’s phonetic), ie: a shared language. In places like Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands the use of the word wantok is in context of a nuanced social system that I (a whitefella from Adelaide living in Cairns), may ever fully understand. So, for my benefit, let’s simplify the use of “wontok” to simply “those who share a common language”, as in “those who understand and like each other”.

Mental health nurses, no matter what nation they live and work in, share the common experience of up-close and personal interactions with people experiencing mental illness. Most of us also share the goal/hope that we will find effective ways to promote good mental health, so as to lighten the load for individuals, their families and the community they live and work in. This gives us a shared language: we’re wantoks.

Evan Casella, another JCU student nurse who supported the program participants and used social media to share some of the program content, sent out this great photo with the tweet:

#alajcu2013 participant opinions of SoMe use in nursing. Great to get a South Pacific perspective. Mostly thumbs up!

like

It’s such a good photo – I love the way Evan used the Facebook “like” symbol, and that the participants were straight down the line with whether they thought social media (aka SoMe) would be useful in their context. This, in turn, led to the next cool outcome: three of the program participants joined Twitter before the course ended.

So, although the four-week Pacific Island Mental Health Nurse Leaders program is over, it is easy to stay connected with some of program participants using social media.

If you are a mental health nurse who can share information, resources, ideas and camaraderie, please follow these mental health nurses from PNG: they are your Wantoks.

For those interested in professional use of social media, have a look at the transcript and analytics of the #alajcu2013 hashtag courtesy of www.symplur.com

Analytics via Symplur health hashtag project

Analytics via Symplur health hashtag project

Closing Remarks

Mental health health nurses speak one language; we are wantoks. How do we know? By the connections. As shown above we connected content (perinatal and infant mental health is one example) and we connected clinicians (in person for four weeks, and looking ahead via Twitter).

Congratulations to James Cook University and AusAID for the work that they have done.  Now it is time for mental health nurses and others interested in perinatal mental health to continue the work by sharing information, resources and camaraderie with mental health nurses from Pacific Island nations: they are our wantoks.

Cool Connections (via Twitter)

PNG Wantoks:

JCU Wantoks

Paul McNamara, 31st July 2013

Follow Friday and other Twitterisms

indoctrinateI’ve made no secret of my bold plan to try to indoctrinate enthuse nurses and midwives re professional use of social media, especially Twitter. This blog post is primarily for the benefit of Twitter newbies, especially health professionals dipping their toes into professional use of social media.

I’ll post a link to this page most Fridays too as an explanatory note about my OTT #FF use.

Experienced Twitter campaigners probably won’t be at all interested in this blog post (quick! jump away now! watch this funky short video instead!), but those unaccustomed to Twitterisms may find it helpful to have info and context readily available in the same stream where the #FF hashtag is being used.

What is #FF?

CroakeyJackson#FF = #FollowFriday = Follow Friday (did you think it was something rude? shame on you and your dirty mind!).

Use the #FF hashtag to recommend a Twitter account/person to others. Why bother? It’s a good way to show appreciation, to build the connectivity of your networks, and it’s part of the “Share. Enjoy. Be generous.” Twitter ethic I’ve mentioned previously.

I like to individualise my #FF recommendations by Tweeting one at a time with a brief introduction, which I often lift/adapt straight from the bio. This way my #FF recommendations will look something like this:

#FF @reeannekeena – community mental health nurse and cricket tragic living in far north queensland #FNQ

To my way of thinking, mass #FF tweets are much less compelling as a recommendation. The mass #FF tweets look something like this:

#FF @reeannekeena @impactednurse @CEOKimRyan @ACMHN @HPitt3 @karenyatesjcu @croakeyblog @AngieGittusRN @MerynFry

Does #FF work to promote more followers? As far as I can tell, only modestly. I'm pretty sure Harry only gained two new followers when I recommended him with a #FF. That's better than nothing, but the ROI is limited.

Does #FF work to promote more followers? As far as I can tell, only modestly. I’m pretty sure Harry only gained two new followers when I recommended him with a #FF. That’s better than nothing, but the ROI is limited.

All the links above are live – you could do worse than follow these people on Twitter, but I don’t know that many people will be inspired to just go ahead and do so because of a list of names. I reckon one Tweet per #FF with a brief introduction is much better.

However, does #FF actually work to promote more followers? As far as I can tell, only modestly. I’m pretty sure Harry Pitt (see screenshot) only gained two new followers when I recommended him with a #FF. That’s better than nothing, but it’s worthwhile being realistic, and knowing that the impact of the #FF hashtag is limited.

What is OTT?

OTT = Over The Top = my use of #FF.

On reflection, I think I’ve been OTT with the #FF thing. On Twitter, as in real life, too much chatter just becomes white noise: it gets heard, but doesn’t really get listened to. So, with the goal of not diluting the potential potency of recommendations, I will keep my use of #FF down to about half-a-dozen times per Friday from now on.

Less [Twitter stream clutter] is [probably] more [effective].

With all those #FF tweets, do you ever work on Fridays?

Yep: most Fridays I am at work, so resort to using scheduled Tweets to trickle-out my #FF recommendations throughout the day. My rationale is threefold:

  1. A tweet every hour or two is less intrusive and irritating than a rush of five tweets in five minutes.
  2. Twitter has connected me with other health professionals in every Australian state/territory, and in a heap of other countries all around the world. That means lots of different timezones. By spreading out the #FF tweets there is a better chance of broad introductions rather than narrow, place-specific recommendations.
  3. I’m experimenting with social media, Twitter especially, to test its usefulness for healthcare communication. Part of the experiment is to build the profile of the meta4RN portfolio. For this I’m treating meta4RN a bit like a brand; #FF not only recommends others, but also keeps the meta4RN portfolio visible. At time of writing (July 2013), I’m planning to make #FF a meta4RN staple activity to promote and link healthcare professionals on Twitter.

HootSuiteScheduling tweets is pretty easy using tools such as HootSuite and TweetDeck. The only real risk with scheduling tweets is when a major event happens, say a terrorist attack or natural disaster. Under those circumstances Twitter erupts with activity specific to that event, and scheduled tweets can seem incongruent/out-of-touch or, in a worse-case scenario, insensitive and stupid. I’ll try to keep an eye out for this but fully expect it to happen from time-to-time; hopefully because #FF tweets are pretty benign it won’t be too much of a problem*.

What is RT?

RT = ReTweet = a way to share information that somebody else has already shared. If you’re familiar with Facebook, a RT is like hitting a “Like” button on steroids. Most retweets are not preceded by RT now, because the Twitter “retweet” button has done away with ye olde RT. It still pops-up though, especially if people want to add a comment.

PANDAMTWhat is MT?

MT = ModifiedTweet = a way to share information that somebody else has already shared, but edit or tweak the message a little. By making it MT rather than RT, you’re making it clear that it’s not a direct quote of the original.

See the screenshots of my MT of @PANDA_NATIONAL for an example.

What is HT?

HTHT = Hat-Tip or Heard-Through = a way to acknowledge the source of your info without necessarily quoting them.

What about other abbreviations like LMAO, ROI, TYVM, PMSL?

LMGTFY

What is LMGTFY?

The easiest way for me to explain is to ask you to click here: LMGTFY

What is the #hashtag thing about?

This explanation is a cut and paste straight from Twitter support:

  • hashtagPeople use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
  • If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet
  • Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.)
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.

For Twitter newbies, don’t get too freaked by the hashtag thing. You can ignore hashtags and still enjoy Twitter. However, when you find your feet you’ll find them very useful – I’ve previously written about hashtags being used for health conferences, health promotion and education. There are plenty of other hashtag applications too.

eggWhat else?

Don’t be a silent egg. That is, add a profile pic, a bit of a bio and introduce yourself to Twitter. Getting started on Twitter is usually a slow learning curve anyway, but not sharing anything at all will make it excruciatingly dull.

That’s probably all you need to get started, other than a warning about Twitter spam. You have probably developed a good radar for email spam by now, but Twitter spam seems to be especially good at preying on the insecurities of Twitter newbies. So, if you get a message that looks a bit like this:

@meta4RN This person is saying horrible things about you dodgylink.com/8g6lyn

or

@meta4RN Have you seen this photo of you? LOL. dodgylink.com/8g6lyn

just delete/report the message.

Whatever you do, don’t click the links! There is a good chance your account will then start sending out spam if you do. That’s a really irritating way to learn about Twitter spam; prevention is best, but there is support available if you do stumble into a spam-pit: support.twitter.com

End

That’ll do for now.

If required, there’s a bit more info that may be useful for healthcare professionals new to Twitter via my previous blog post Social Media for Nurses: my ten step, slightly-ranty, version.

As always, your comments/feedback is welcome.

Paul McNamara, 21st July 2013

* Please consider this an apology in advance. I know for certain that an important/tragic event will happen on a Friday. Consequently, there is a pretty good chance that my #FF scheduled tweets will show up in the Twitter stream. This may seem incongruous and callously unaware at the time, but in reality it’s just a product of not being able to continuously monitor Twitter.

I hope no offence is taken; none is intended.