Tag Archives: communication

Lalochezia

Many nurses and midwives are so adept at swearing that they can make truckies blush. Sailors and sportsmen gather at their feet to learn the fine art of uttering profanities.

There is, however, a small rightious subset of health professionals who are absolutely determined to take offence every time a patent gets a bit sweary.  These people seem to have no tolerance for the use of vulgar, foul language to express and relieve stress or pain. There is emotional release to be had when uttering indecent or filthy words.

The phenomenon of emotional release through swearing even has a name: “lalochezia” – a word formed from the Greek lalia (speech) and chezo (to relieve oneself). Sources 1 + 2

lalochezia

 

Words only have the power that we ascribe to them. As a judge sitting on cases regarding obscene language charges said, the use of swear words in Australia is very common in music, poetry, drama and literature, by ordinary people in the street, and by those in the corridors of power. The notion that they cause offence is an individual’s decision to react, not because of the rarity or harshness of the words themselves. Source 3.

Anyway, if we are fair dinkum about being patient-focused then swearing can be very useful.

Swear words are great adjectives – think of them as something akin to the pain scale. Instead of using the ” 0 = no pain and 10 = worst pain imaginable” routine, some of our patients will use their own qualitative and quantitative pain scale. It might include descriptors like “no worries”, “a bit of an ache”, “painful”, “bloody painful”, “really bloody painful”, “bastard of an ache”, “as painful as fuck”, etc.

Maybe its those dopey “zero tolerance” signs (and the dopey attitudes they engender) that make some clinicians react to swear words as if they are weapons. As I have argued previously (see meta4RN.com/zero), we should have zero tolerance for zero tolerance and not spend so much time and effort trying to shut-down people from expressing their distress.

Swearing not only communicates emotions but, as per the definition of “lalochezia”, acts as a pressure valve for those emotions. In clinical practice we should not be too quick to try turn off that pressure valve – it may prevent an explosion.

Suggested Further Reading

Stone, T. E. and Hazelton, M. (2008), An overview of swearing and its impact on mental health nursing practice. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 17: 208–214. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0349.2008.00532.x
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1447-0349.2008.00532.x/abstract

Print (PDF version): LalocheziaPrint

End

As always, comments are welcome.

Paul McNamara, 12th July 2014

Short URL: http://meta4RN.com/lalochezia

 

 

 

Stay connected, stay strong… before and after baby

Copy of Stay connected, stay strong… before and after baby DVD on YouTube (33 minutes):

From the back cover of the DVD:

StayConnectedPregnancy, birth and parenting can be a very positive time, but sometimes it may not be how you expected it to be. Adjusting to life as a mother can be hard and make women feel down and distressed. In Australia, one in every six women experience depression during this time.

This DVD has been created to support Indigenous women, men and families understand the importance of good social and emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and beyond.

Going to get help might feel like the hardest part, but it is the best thing you can do for yourself, your baby and your family. Getting help early gives the best chance of a strong and healthy future.

YouTube URL: http://youtu.be/CLsjgw8pvOA

.

Why is the Video Online?

The video is online so that it can easily reach the target audiences: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders families, and those who support them. It is a great little video: not only does it have a very clear message that there’s no shame in asking for a bit of support, but it also looks and sounds great. My favourite thing is how the narration by Jasmin Cockatoo-Collins ties the whole thing together: even though a couple of dozen people appear on camera, Jasmin’s voice weaves the whole thing together so it kind of seems like one story. Well done to Jasmin and film-maker Jan Cattoni (Jan’s a nurse who became a film-maker).

Knowing that the video is so good that it should be shared is one thing, getting it shared is another.

Stay connected, stay strong… is available for free in Queensland and for $20 elsewhere, all you need is this PDF order form from the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health: http://www.health.qld.gov.au/qcpimh/docs/resource-order-form.pdf

youtube---the-2nd-largest-search-engine-infographicFar North Queensland residents can borrow the DVD from Cairns Libraries: link.

Queensland Health staff can access the DVD through the Queensland Health Libraries Catalogue: link

However, as accessible as all that sounds, the truth of the matter is that YouTube is the world’s largest video-sharing portal and the world’s second largest search engine. A video is not really accessible until it is online.

Now we can share the video using this link: http://youtu.be/CLsjgw8pvOA

Eek!

This is by far the riskiest thing I’ve done with my professional social media portfolio. I am not the copyright holder of this excellent short film: the Queensland Government is. Although I won’t make any money out of hosting the video, I might be subject to legal action. If there is a credible threat of legal action I will take the video down immediately. Another risk is that I might be inadvertently causing offence or distress to some person or organisation. This may mean that I will not be considered for future work in perinatal and infant mental health (perhaps funding for services will return to pre-July 2013 levels one day).

So, why take these risks?.

My agenda is simple: to demonstrate that social media can be leveraged as another channel for health promoting information. It’s something I started when working in perinatal and infant mental health in October 2011, as evidenced by this from my now-mothballed Twitter handle @PiMHnurse (now I use a less job-specific name: @meta4RN).

PIMHnurse

 

My big hope is that hosting Stay connected, stay strong… before and after baby won’t get me in too much trouble, but will serve as a spur for a more legitimate stakeholder to host the video on their YouTube or Vimeo site.

When that happens I will complete this post-script to the blog post:

Important Update DD/MM/YYYY:

Stay connected, stay strong… before and after baby is now hosted by [organisation name] at this web address: [web address]. The link and embedded video you see above are now from that site, and I have deleted the copy I posted on 7th June 2014 here: https://www.youtube.com/meta4RN

My intention in knowingly posting a video that I am not the copyright-holder of was to act as an agent of change. If I have caused harm or distress to any person or organisation I am genuinely sorry. That was not my intention.

End

That’s it. I’m feeling scared now.

Paul McNamara, 8th June 2014

A Mental Health Nurse in the General Hospital

MHCBelow is a copy of the blog post I was invited to submit at My Health Career. The website is targeted at high school and university students considering or pursuing a career in health, guidance officers, career development professionals, and others working in or with the health care sector.

To see the post where it was first published online, and/or to have a look around at the My Health Career website, please visit www.myhealthcareer.com.au/nursing/mental-health-nurse-paul-mcnamara

.

A Mental Health Nurse in the General Hospital

Paul trying not to look too much like a goob.

Paul trying not to look too much like a goob.

Paul McNamara has extensive experience providing clinical and educative mental health support in general hospital and community clinical settings. He holds hospital-based, undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications, is Credentialed by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN), and has been a Fellow of the ACMHN since 2007. Paul is a very active participant in health care social media, and is enthusiastic about nurses embracing “digital citizenship”. More info via his website meta4RN.com

There is an odd little sub-speciality of mental health services called “consultation liaison psychiatry”. This waffly, jargon-ridden mouthful of syllables is usually abbreviated to “CL”. What is CL? Easy – just think of it as “general hospital mental health”.

I’m a mental health nurse on a CL team. The only ward in the hospital I don’t visit is the mental health unit (the mental health unit already has heaps of mental health nurses – they don’t need me there). It’s the rest of the hospital I serve: the surgical wards, the medical wards and the maternity unit.

General hospital patients are more at risk of experiencing mental health problems than the general public – being sick is stressful. It works the other way around too: people who experience long-term mental health difficulties are more at risk of becoming physically unwell – being under lasting emotional stress can take a toll on the body.

Nurses, doctors, social workers and other allied health practitioners will phone CL when they have concerns about the mental health of a patient. Sometimes all that is required is a bit of information and clarification about medication or follow-up services available in the community – we do that over the phone. More often, we are asked to meet with the patient and determine what, if any, mental health matters can be sorted-out while they are in hospital.

The most common mental health problems experienced in the community are anxiety and depression – it’s the same in the general hospital – a lot of the people I meet with are experiencing either or both of these conditions. There are other mental health problems like eating disorders and deliberate self harm that sometimes require input from both the medical/surgical team and the mental health team concurrently. Helping-out with planning and providing support and care of these patients is a pretty big part of my job.

Sometimes it’s not the person in the pyjamas (the patient) who needs our support – sometimes it’s the communication, the systems and the clinical staff who benefit most from CL input. This can be in the form of structured education sessions or, more typically, in the form of supporting discussion, reflection and problem-solving on how best to meet the needs of the patient within the limited resources available in the hospital. In this aspect of the job, a CL nurse will try to help the clinicians involved step-back from the busyness and pressures of the hospital ward and take “a balcony view” of what is happening. By taking ourselves out of the chaos of a busy shift and calmly looking back at things with a bit of distance, sometimes we can see how we can “do business” in hospitals a little more constructively.

We also spend a lot of time “undiagnosing” (this is a “neologism” – a made-up word – I heard recently via Sydney psychiatrist Dr Anne Wand). The people we “undiagnose” the most are those who are experiencing grief. There can be a lot of grief in general hospitals, but we try to be careful not to confuse the emotions of grief (sadness, anger, temporary despair etc) with a psychiatric disorder. Grief emotions are often really uncomfortable but they are part of what makes us who we are. We don’t want to “psychiatricise” or “psychologise” the human condition. Grief is not something to be simply fixed; grief is a part of life – a difficult part of life – that is usually successfully navigated without psychiatric input. Support from loved ones and/or social workers and/or specific counselling services can help.

So, that’s an overview of what it is to be a mental health nurse in a general hospital. It’s a varied role where we spend nearly as much time with the general hospital nurses, midwives, allied health staff and doctors as we do with the hospital patients. The role involves direct clinical care, collaborating with colleagues and providing education. For more information on the speciality please visit my website or the consultation liaison nurses special interest group section of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses website.

END

Print Version (PDF): CLnurse

Thanks to Amanda Griffiths of My Health Career for inviting me to submit this overview of consultation liaison nursing.

As always, your comments are welcome.

Paul McNamara, 2nd May 2014

 

Trying to Stay Focused

PatientFocused Some days it feels like a cruel conspiracy.

Those are the days when it feels like the time and space I have made to speak one-to-one to the patient* is in the middle of a sports arena. The patient and I walk into the middle of the empty playing surface and make our preparations for meaningful discussion, for emotional catharsis, for education, for counselling, for disclosure, for discovery, for therapy.

Then the grandstands of the arena start filling with people with loud voices. These people are not providing frontline care, so we would like to think of them as supporters. However, they all seem to think of themselves as coaches. They each have their own special area(s) of interest and shout well-meaning advice from their seats in the grandstand.

It gets very rowdy and distracting. SystemsFocused So many supporters coaches. So many systems**.

Systems are what makes airlines so safe – apparently that’s why hospitals have become so system-focused over the last couple of decades. I think it is a bit silly that public health systems try so hard to align themselves with profit-making airline systems. The cost of a regional hospital redevelopment ($454m) is about the same cost as two Boeing 787s (source), However, they serve very different purposes: the hospital is filled with critically ill people aiming to become less unwell or die with dignity. Commercial jets are filled with tourists and business people going on a planned journey. The hospital is a place of unknowns: discovery, diagnosis, treatment, trials and strong, unpredictable human emotions. A commercial jet is a trumped-up bus that travels at a scheduled time on a scheduled route between clearly defined destinations, carrying only people who are wealthy and healthy enough to travel long distances.

Hospitals and airlines have such very different clients, expectations, control and outcomes – can they really teach-each other much about systems?

Nevertheless, I understand the rationale for systems, and will make no effort to argue against them. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if there was one healthcare system? As it stands in my workplace, the emergency department has a system (EDIS) that does not speak to the ICU system (MetaVision), which does not speak to the general hospital system (ieMR), which does not speak to the mental health system (CIMHA). And that’s just within one hospital – imagine how fragmented it gets when we start thinking of the primary healthcare and rural/remote outpatient sectors.

I understand that some of these systems, some of these competing demands, are very important – but not all of them are. For example, it is not important that a clinician spend time away from their patients to transpose a bit of information that is in one hospital system into another hospital system –  this is a matter of dumb systems.

Which is why nurses and other clinicians know that sometimes the safest, most compassionate, and most ethical thing to do is to turn their back on the distractions created by dozens of disjointed systems, and make the priority to simply be with the patient.

Why? Because we are trying to stay focused – patient focused.

*Clarification re using the word “Patient”

In mental health over the last couple of decades nomenclature has changed from “patient” to “client” to “consumer” or “service user”. I understand the rationale for this – it is to move away from the passive (i.e.: “patient” as someone that the “expert” diagnoses and fixes) to participant (i.e.: “informed “consumer” of a service). In my current role I provide mental health assessment, support and education in a general hospital – the people I see are, in this context, first-and-foremost medical/surgical/obsetric hospital inpatients. It is these people’s physical health that had them admitted to an acute general hospital as “patients”, hence my use the word here.

**All the systems named in the “Systems Focused” cartoon are real, as is the claim that using each one is VERY IMPORTANT.

Tech Tip

I used an easy-to-use iPad app called Notes Plus to draw the cartoons. As you can see, my artistic skills have pretty-much plateaued since kindergarten, as has my spelling. Nevertheless, I think the cartoon might have been a little better and a lot easier to draw if I had used a stylus – that’s what I would recommend if you plan to do something similar.

End

As always, your thoughts/feedback is welcome in the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 6th April 2014

Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

photoA while ago I wrote about my most frightening workplace experience in a post called “Emotional Aftershocks“, which included a section titled “Zero Tolerance is Unrealistic and Unfair”.

Today, via a Tweet by Nicky Lambert I am reminded of how ridiculous the “Zero Tolerance” approach in hospitals is and (more importantly) have been introduced to an evidence-based alternative strategy that has recently been launched in the UK. To cut-out the middle-man and go straight to source of this pretty-cool strategy, click on the link: www.abetteraande.com

To subject yourself to my ideas and waffle, please read on…

What’s Wrong with Zero Tolerance?

A dumb, shouty poster.

A dumb, shouty poster.

It is inevitable that health services, hospitals especially, will have a large percentage of patients who have cognitive and perceptual deficits due to the very medical condition that has them bought them to the health facility in the first place. About 9% of the over-65s (a significant component of health service users) have dementia. Often these people will not have the cognitive capacity to discriminate between friend and foe, and will, at times, lash out to defend themselves against a perceived threat. All the shouty “Zero Tolerance” signs in the world will not make a difference to this. Why would we want to create a false expectation for staff?

As an aside, during the week I made use of Australia’s Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) regarding strategies to use with a nursing home resident who had been aggressive. I found the service to be very user-friendly and helpful – if you provide care to people with dementia you should keep DBMAS in mind: dbmas.org.au

Huh? Of course people will get angry: it is an unavoidable, natural human emotion.

Huh? Of course people will get angry: it is an unavoidable, natural human emotion.

The “zero tolerance” concept is unfair because it is not reciprocated. We (that’s “we” as in “we the health system”) require patients and their loved-ones to be incredibly tolerant of us. Think waiting lists, physical discomfort, unplanned delays, unclear communication, unmet expectations, cancelled procedures, lack of privacy, lack of dignity, lack of control, lack of compassion, lack of progress… the list could go on. Can you find me a health facility where no patient has ever experienced these things?

Our health system relies on people being tolerant. This “zero tolerance” malarkey doesn’t allow for the reality that people in hospital are often having the most traumatic, frightening and disempowering day(s) of their life. It would be lovely for staff if everyone experiencing acute emotional distress expressed their emotions in a clear, calm and composed manner, but is it realistic?

A Smarter, More Sophisticated Approach

We need a smarter, more sophisticated way to manage difficult emotions in the health care setting. “Zero Tolerance” is jarringly out of step with the nurturing, caring, compassionate, altruistic qualities that most health professionals identified with when choosing their career. We need a new set of posters that are attuned to the needs of patients and the aspirations of health services and clinicians.

Of course, it’s not just posters on the wall that determine the quality and tone of the conversation. All health care workers should have an opportunity to reflect on their practice in a safe, structured way. As I’ve written about before (in “Nurturing the Nurturers“) clinical supervision (aka guided reflective practice) allows this to happen. There is an abundance of evidence that clinical supervision improves management of difficult encounters in health care settings – we should insist on it.

Nevertheless, posters and signage can play an important part in setting clear expectations. Just as they’re doing in UK accident and emergency departments, let’s take a proactive approach to preventing and managing distress. Part of that strategy should be moving way from the authoritative, uncompromising and negative campaigns of the past, to one that demonstrates and models respect.

putyourhandup

This poster is my suggestion of the how we should set the parameters. Let’s not try to shut-down people from expressing distress. Instead, let’s invite patients and relatives to articulate their concerns before the emotions become so intense that they are difficult to contain.

Here’s the script to my poster:

Put your hand up and talk to us.

We don’t want you to feel distressed.

If you are feeling upset, frustrated or unsure about what’s happening please don’t bottle-it-up: talk to us.

One of the nurses, doctors or other hospital staff will listen to your concerns and try their best to help.

pdficonPDF version of the poster here: putyourhandup

.

Acknowledgement

Some of the ideas here are taken from and/or informed by a keynote presentation by Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane at the ACMHN 39th International Mental Health Nursing Conference, held in Perth, Western Australia, 22nd-24th October 2013. Some of the Tweets from that presentation have been collated here: storify.com/meta4RN/zero

What would your poster say?

Please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 7th December 2013

Professional use of Twitter and Healthcare Social Media #NPD100

SmartCare-Poster

About the Conference

Peter Carr is an innovative Nurse Lecturer who coordinates the subject NPD100 Health Communications, Research and Informatics for undergraduate nurses at The University of Notre Dame Australia.

Peter, with support from his colleagues and students, has organised the SMART CARE Conference (SMART = Social Media Application for Research and Teaching) hosted by the University of Notre Dame, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Fremantle campus on Friday 25th of October, 2013. More about the conference here: #NPD100 The Conference

The tagline on the poster “#NPD100 The Conference” refers to the neat trick of using the subject code as the hashtag. Such a good idea. Some universities and workplaces still have a stop it or you’ll go blind! kind of attitude towards social media, so it’s very refreshing to see a university subject that so strongly encourages students to utilise social media professionally, to be digital citizens.

It is a terrific honour to be asked to contribute at this conference – I’m very grateful to Peter for asking me along. Together with Kane Guthrie and Marie Ennis O’Connor, we will have time to explore some of the uses of health care social media. To assist the flow of ideas to continue beyond one Friday in Freo, a copy of my #NPD100 SMART CARE Conference presentation is included below.

Professional use of Twitter and Healthcare Social Media

Two Notes in Closing

  1. Regular visitors to meta4RN will recognise the presentation above as having a lot in common with this recent post: meta4RN.com/poster. Yes folks: self-plagarism is alive and well. However, in my defence, the #NPD100 presentation will be able to explore some of these ideas in a lot more detail than the poster version.
  2. Ironically, I’m about to go pretty quiet on social media for a couple of weeks. After spending all week in Perth and Fremantle talking about and using social media, I’m going on holiday in country Western Australia with my lovely partner. On one of the slides above I present balance as being one of the risks of using social media. To manage that risk, there are times when ignoring social media and simply enjoying time with the people you love is the sensible, balanced thing to do. Digital citizens need to be analogue citizens too. :-)

See you in a couple of weeks!

Paul McNamara, 25th October 2013

Hits and Misses: The First Twelve Months of meta4RN

Today I will blog about my blog. I feel quite uncomfortable about it, and am very afraid that I will completely disappear up my own bum.

On 24th September 2012 meta4RN.com was launched with two posts. One said “Hello World!“, the other post “About” set the agenda and explained the rationale for the blog. Now, exactly 12 months later, let’s see what’s happened.

hits

Hits

country1Serendipitously, the 11,000th hit on meta4RN.com happened on the day of its first birthday. Actually, it wasn’t coincidence at all – it was more the desperate attention-seeking of somebody sad enough to write a blog about his blog. I could see that the milestone was getting close and started promoting pimping various pages of meta4RN.com on Twitter from about 5:00am.

Early-waking insomnia has me conveniently awake in prime-time evening social media time for Europeans. Many of the social media connections I have made are in the UK – one of them, Anne Cooper also starting blogging in 2012. Although Annie started blogging just a couple of months before me, she taught me a valuable lesson on Twitter: Pimp Your Blog! (see Tip 7 here: anniecoops.com). Annie acknowledges Wendy Lee (aka @TheRealBaglady)  as the source for this idea. I think we should also give credit to those who wrote the bible and the people who translated it into English… the biblical proverb, “don’t hide your light under a bushel” is very similar in meaning to the proverb, “pimp your blog!”

country2Twitter accounts for nearly a quarter of all hits on meta4RN.com. To the best of my ability I’ve tried to mimic the Twitter style of @mamamia – they take the “pimp your blog” idea to the next level with around-the-clock, mostly-not-repetitive, nearly-always-poignant-funny-and/or-interesting Tweets promoting mamamia.com.au content. When I’m pimping my blog I use scheduled tweets and a bit of imagination to try to channel the mamamia style of Twitter wit and wisdom.

With Twitter well in the lead, here is the Top 10 of referral sources to meta4RN.com:

  1. Twitter
  2. Search Engines
  3. Facebook
  4. Nurse Uncut
  5. Google+
  6. Philip Darbyshire
  7. PANDA (Post and Antenatal Depression Awareness Association)
  8. impactednurse (by the inspiring Ian Miller)
  9. Outlook.com
  10. Croakey (the Crikey health blog, by the very supportive Melissa Sweet)

The blog has attracted over 100 comments, and I am very grateful for the support of all those who have referred/linked to the meta4RN site. Overall there are about 90 websites and oodles of Digital Citizens that have directed traffic in this direction – my sincere thanks to you all.

There have been meta4RN.com views from 85 countries, however many of these countries have visited less than a handful of times.

Searching for Meaning

WordPress (the platform used for meta4RN.com) gives access to some of the search engine data. Predictably, Google was the search engine used for 95% of the  queries that found meta4RN.com pages. The most common search terms related to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) – scanning through the very long list of search terms that led people to meta4RN.com it looks like nearly a third of all searchers wanted info about the EPDS. This is reflected in the stats for pages with the most hits too: setting aside the “generic” Home, Archive and About pages, the Top 10 of page views goes like this:

  1. Using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (November 2012)
  2. Emotional Aftershocks (August 2013, re hospital violence)
  3. #ICNAust2013: Looking Back at a Nursing Conference through a Social Media Lens (May 2013)
  4. Perinatal Jargon Busting (April 2013 – interestingly, this had the most hits in a day – 22/07/13, the day Prince George was born – when this quote from the post was shared on social media: “Babies are born. Women give birth. Pizzas are delivered.”)
  5. Nurturing the Nurturers (January 2013)
  6. Social Media for Nurses: my ten step, slightly-ranty, version (january 2013)
  7. #acmhn2012: Looking Back at a Mental Health Nursing Conference through a Social Media Lens (October 2012)
  8. Precovery: a proactive version of recovery (March 2013 – subsequently this post was adapted for publication as per this citation: McNamara, Paul and McCauley, Kay. (2013).‘Precovery’: A proactive version of recovery in perinatal mental health. Australian Nursing Journal: , Vol. 21, No. 1, Jul 2013: 38.)
  9. Follow Friday and other Twitterisms (July 2013)
  10. #bePNDaware: Looking Back at Postnatal Depression Awareness Week through a Social Media Lens (November 2013)

Misses

In this section, let’s have a look at things that have not gone so well.

Quantity: The original idea was for a post a week – that has not been achieved. There have been 33 posts in the first 12 months (this one will be the 34th). I’m planning to change the original goal to at least two posts per month – that’s more realistic for me: somebody with a fulltime job, a social life, and a bad habit of being verbose and over-inclusive when writing blog posts. Like now, for instance.

Quality: I can’t believe how awful I am at proof-reading my own work. Every time I publish a post I have to go back and edit out the typos and nonsensical sentences that are included. Weirdly, I seem to be much better at noticing the mistakes after they’ve been out out in the public domain… it’s as if I’m an Apple iO7 designer or something. [look Mum - contemporary humour!]

countrymapReach: as per the map above, meta4RN.com has totally failed to capture the all-important Chinese market. 我要加倍努力接触到中国的护士。Not doing at all well in cracking Greenland either. Damn.

Dud Posts: Less than 50 visits have been made to these three posts – a poor reward for effort, but also an indication that sometimes I waffle-on about stuff that not many people care about.

  1. What has social media been saying about clinical supervision this week? (January 2013)
  2. Should May 15th be International Mental Health Nurse Day? (May 2013)
  3. Hello World! (September 2012)

Appearance: I really dislike the random hyphenation of this blog. It is truly awful and ugly sometimes. Also, the overall look if meta4RN.com is a bit daggy. I might give it a bit of a refresh in coming weeks/months – stay tuned.

So What?

This is a meta post – like a conversation about conversations (see number 5 here: meta4rn.com/about). The purpose of this post is not to show the answers, but to show my working-out… you know, just like my Year 5 maths teacher always said, “Getting the right answer can be dumb luck – I want to see how you arrived at the answer! Show how you worked it out!” Hopefully somebody can pick-up some ideas from seeing the working-out of a nurse who blogs.

I didn’t know what “blog” meant until about 12 months ago (slow, i know). It is word play from the original “Web Log”, which was contracted to “WebLog”, which was playfully converted to “We Blog”, which then left the thing that “we” do as a “blog”. Cute.

I am pleased to have an avenue of conversation about professional matters that is not constrained by the traditions and discipline of academic journals. I think the language we can use on blogs is much more accessible, and the freedom of sharing ideas for consideration is liberating. Practice-based-evidence instead of evidence-based-practice. It’s still peer reviewed, but is not hidden behind a paywall. Professional blogs are not in competition with journals, and will never attain their level of academic credibility. However, hopefully these sort of blogs can go some way towards bridging that long-lamented theory-practice gap. I hope so.

Hat Tips

When introducing meta4RN.com this time last year, I acknowledged Ian Miller of impactednurse.com and all those who participate in Health Care and Social Media in Australia and New Zealand (#hcsmanz on Twitter). I want to reinforce my thanks for their support and inspiration now. Ian is especially impressive in leading the way for digital citizen health professionals.

There have been dozens of other who have been very supportive of meta4RN.com over the last twelve months. I will not attempt to list them all, but will just single-out two:

Melissa Sweet of @croakeyblog on Twitter and croakey online plays a significant role in sharing health-related information in the social media environment. I have been especially grateful for Melissa’s feedback and support for some of the meta4RN.com blog posts. Very rewarding and gratefully received.

My partner Stella is incredibly tolerant of the time I have spent on something that does nothing to pay our mortgage or enhance our social life together. I am especially grateful to Stella for affording me the luxury of experimenting in this space: thank you darling.

End

Thanks very much for reading meta4RN.com – as always, your comments are welcome.

Paul McNamara, 24th September 2013