Tag Archives: Google+

A Blog About A Blog About Suicide

I’m going to keep this short.

On the eve of the second anniversary of the meta4RN.com blog we (guest writer Stevie Jacobs and I) have finally released her powerful, gutsy post “These words have been in my head and they needed to come out (a blog post about suicide).” I thought by opening up meta4RN.com to occasional guest posts I would save myself some time and effort. Ha! Stevie’s post has had the longest, most difficult gestation of all of the posts on this blog.

Why? It’s not because of Stevie’s writing – she writes very well – It’s because of the content.

It’s because we don’t know how to talk about suicide.

mindframe I remember as a 14  year old learning about suicidal ideation via the famous Hamlet soliloquy which starts: “To be, or not to be, that is the question…” Shakespeare didn’t seem to be as afraid as getting the tone/message wrong as Stevie Jacobs and I have been.

Luckily, we don’t have to navigate this tricky territory without a map. Mindframe – Australia’s national media initiative – have some very handy tips aimed (mostly) at media. They also have info for universities, the performing arts, police and courts. It would be silly to replicate all their information here – cut out the middle-man and visit the Mindframe website:

The only thing I want to make sure is included here is that we, the health professionals, remain mindful of responsible use of language in social media, including blogs (and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) . Melissa Sweet of croakey (the Crikey health blog) has used the term “citizen journalist” to refer to us non-journos who are active on social media. I have shied-away from that label because I have zero knowledge/pretensions of being a journalist. However, when it comes to talking about mental health and/or suicide, I reckon that those of using social media as health professionals should take some ownership of the “citizen journalist” tag.

Health professionals are used to being informed by evidence-based guidelines, right? That’s what the Mindframe guidelines are. They are guidelines for how language should be used by journalists. Those of us who are blogging/Tweeting/Facebooking/whatever can, if we choose to be safe and ethical, abide by the same code of good practice (here).

Let’s watch our language.

Let’s edit and re-edit.

Let’s reflect and think about our impact. Let’s do that slowly.

Let’s be safe. ethical and kind.

Let’s do no harm.

Let’s follow the Mindframe guidelines when we’re blogging about mental health and/or suicide.


That’s it. Thanks for visiting.

If you haven’t done so already, visit Stevie Jacob’s guest post here: meta4RN.com/guest02 My favourite part is the middle part (the meat in the sandwich?) which is honest, powerful, raw and gutsy. I hope/think that the edits made have been in keeping with the Mindframe guidelines. If  not, that is my responsibility. Please let me know and I will fix it as soon as possible.

Paul McNamara, 23rd September 2014

Short URL: meta4RN.com/mindframe

Luddites I Have Known

In the never-ending quest to enthuse midwives and nurses about professional use of social media I’ve talked to people about it, given inservice education sessions, demonstrated is use as an adjunct to education, facilitated workshops, submitted conference posters, contributed to journal articles and have been invited to speak at conferences. To spread the word I’ve taken the risk of being called geek wanker narcissist, and even had cards printed:


When I talk to people about health care social media, I always mention how it lets information be shared quickly and easily,  and network with people from a range of professions/walks-of-life from all around the world. However, the thing I value the most and try to emphasise the most, is the participative, interactive nature of social media. Social media is where the debates are held; those of us who want to influence and participate in decisions gather and test our ideas on social media. Twitter is especially good for this: it lets anyone join in and contribute to- and be enlightened by- the contest of ideas.

To see how Twitter works to share information and the contest of ideas, see these two recent examples (click on the pics to see the complete conversations unfurl):

In health and education roles I encounter many people who give dumb blanket statements like, “I will never use Twitter – I don’t care what Justin Bieber had for breakfast”. Much to my embarrassment, this is the sort of thing I hear nurses (especially those in positions of influence and power) say all the time. These people are so stubborn that they won’t even look, listen or learn about professional use of social media.

A few months ago two Australian nurse lecturers forthrightly and very confidently told me that Twitter and facts are (somehow) mutually exclusive, and they do not and never will use it. I tried being zen about the whole thing (water flows around resistance, rocks in the stream shift or erode), and celebrated some of the nurse academics who are more enlightned about health care social media (see storify.com/meta4RN/lecturers).

However, the same thing keeps happening: people in positions of power and influence in the health care and higher education systems are still using silly, uninformed, blanket statements to decry the use of social media and warn people off from using it.

No more Mr Nice Guy – I’m calling these people what they are: Luddites.

People being resistive to new technologies and innovations is not new, and in my lifetime I have seen that change is inevitable – the luddites and laggards will catch-up eventually.

In the 1970s I knew people who refused to play video-games like Space Invaders – “No it’s too confusing, I’m sticking with the pinball machine” said my friend when we went into the pinball parlour.

In the 1980s I knew people who refused to use ATMs (automatic teller machines) – “No, you can’t trust a little card and machine. I’ll wait until the bank opens on Monday.” said my relative.

In the 1990s I knew people who refused to use computers. Every now and then I still hear people say, “I don’t believe in computers” as if computers are akin to the tooth fairy or religion.

In the 2000s I knew people who refused to use a mobile phone, “Why would I ever need one?”, people would say. Now, in Australia, there are more mobile phones than people (for more info: meta4RN.com/mobile).

In the 2010s I know people who refuse to use social media. As evidenced by the “I don’t need to know what Justin Bieber had for breakfast” type of statements, the reason they don’t use it is twofold: [1] they do not understand it, and [2] they decline the opportunities to learn.

I guess I should be patient with my resistive colleagues – history shows that they’ll come around eventually. However, for those nurses and midwives in positions of power and influence, I’m hoping people will print and fax you a copy of this picture below. If  you can’t summon the willingness to learn about professional health care social media, please summon the dignity and sense to stop critiquing something you do not understand.


PDF version (suitable to print and fax to a social media denier of your choosing): Luddites

As always, your comments/feedback is welcome.

Paul McNamara, 3rd May 2014




Social Media for Nurses: my ten step, slightly-ranty, version

9780826195883There’s been a new book released called Social Media for Nurses: Educating Practitioners and Patients in a Networked World. I have not read the book, so for all I know it’s the most enlightening piece of literature in the world, but finding-out about its existence did get me wondering – do nurses really need to read a 284 page book on using social media?

Asking such a question = running the risk of seeming like some ranting, permissive, anti-academia, anti-intellectual hack.

I am permissive, and can be a bit ranty and hack-like at times, but am neither anti-academia nor anti-intellectual. I just think a book talking about social media for nurses is less valuable than nurses acquiring first-hand experience observing and using social media.

Now I’ll take a big breath and argue my case.

See One. Do One. Teach One.

I remember as a first year student nurse giving an IM injection for the first time. Preparation included some didactic teaching about the process and physiology of asepsis, locating the appropriate injection site, and rationale for IM injections. We also had interactive tutorials about some of the do’s and don’ts of IM injections. Then we student nurses were directed to review the relevant policies and procedures in our training hospital. The final part of classroom-based teaching was when we had a chance to rehearse the physical skill/dexterity of giving an IM injection – using oranges, of all things.

This is how student nurse vodka-orange parties get started.

Anyway, all of that was useful background learning for the clinical environment. In most hospital wards administering medication via IM injection is an unremarkable, routine nursing task. Experienced nurses are usually very adept at the skills involved in IM injection preparation, administration and documentation. Generally speaking, it is only the novices (ie: patients unfamiliar with being unwell and new student nurses) who find IM injections intimidating. Student nurses move from novice to beginning practitioner in nursing skills through experiential education, which is often referred to as “See One, Do One, Teach One”.

So, as a capstone to the classroom education, as a student nurse I assisted and observed more experienced nurse colleagues give IM injections. Having picked-up a few extra tips and tricks, I then took the confidence-requiring, confidence-acquiring step of administering IM injections under close supervision by a senior nurse. Incidentally, I gave my first IM injection to a lady who had Portugese as her first language – on giving the injection she said something like, “Obrigado Paulo. Isso foi o mais suave procedimento indolor, que eu já encontrei. Você é uma enfermeira maravilhosa.”*

The final part of embedding the skill of giving IM injections is when I went from being the mentored to the mentor. If you ever want to learn something really well, you could do worse than aim to teach it really well.

If there is a 284 page book on giving IM injections I have not read it. If I did read it, it still would not have overcome the very necessary part of experiential learning – the “See One, Do One, Teach One.” part.

And so it is with social media.SoMeFlowchart

Social Media for Nurses in Ten Tweets

Yesterday, after I found-out about the book, I wondered out-loud (via Twitter, that is) about social media for nurses. Ten consecutive tweets were sent using the hashtags #SocialMediaForNurses and #see1do1teach1 – the Tweets are collated on Storify. The Tweet that started the thought train is also included – umm… that makes eleven tweets, but anyway…

Look, I’m not an expert in anything much, least of all social media. Even Mark Zuckerberg would need to be a bit cautious about calling himself a social media expert – Facebook did not exist before February 2004. Twitter didn’t exist before March 2006. We are all relatively new to social media, so only the brave amongst us claim the title “social media expert”. “Expert” usually implies both depth of knowledge and length of expertise; given the relative recency of social media, the former is in short supply, and the latter is all-but unavailable.

So, with that disclaimer in mind, here is my take on social media for nurses in ten tweets (with occasional elaboration):

1Additional Info. Learn by watching other nurses using social media in a professional capacity.

Not sure where to get started? You could do much worse than following nominees for 2012 Social Media Nurse of the Year, they each have their Twitter handles listed here. The nurse who created Social Media Nurse of the Year disqualified himself from being nominated. Be sure to follow Ian Miller via his impactednurse social media portfolio: Twitter, Facebook or Blog.

Another way to get involved is via Google+ – check-out a community there called Nurse+



3Additional Info. This includes all the usual stuff about patient confidentiality too.




Additional Info. Learning by mistakes will be part of learning social media. I’ll probably fall for taking troll-bait again when discussing something I feel strongly about, but my troll-radar is more refined than it used to be.


Additional Info. Those that do name their employer often add the disclaimer “views my own”. I am not sure why this is so. It is usually assumed that people are representing their own views, not their employer’s, when chatting via phone or email, so I’m not really sure why it would be considered different on Twitter/social media.

Anyway, just to clarify: although I was once an altar boy in a Catholic church, the views I express on social media do not represent the views of God, Jesus, The Pope, or other members of the Catholic clergy or congregation. Same goes for previous, current and future employers.


Additional Info. There might be exceptions to this rule if there is something positive, fun and noteworthy to Tweet about, eg: “Here is a photo of the prize-winning Christmas decorations on the Paeds ward” (no patients in photo).


Additional Info. Maybe this is true. As with bland hospital food, take this with a large pinch of salt. 😉


Additional Info. This is probably the best single bit of advice I can give. The risks of social media are commonly overstated by those who are not using it, feel threatened by it, or are trying to make a living out of it. For the rest of us, nurses or not, it’s a fun way to find and share information and interact with interesting people from all over the world.

What have I missed? What advice would you give to a SoMe newbie? Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 20th January 2013

Short URL meta4RN.com/rant1

Author’s note

The lady who I administered my first IM injection to really was Portuguese, and she did say something in Portuguese after I gave the injection. However, judging from her grimace, I doubt very much that she said anything like the completely fabricated sentence in quotation marks above.

What is social media saying about perinatal and infant mental health this week?

For the last 12 months or so, under the soon-to-be-mothballed @PiMHnurse Twitter handle, I have been using a tool/website called paper.li to collate information into a weekly “online newspaper” called The Perinatal Mental Health Nurse. I’ve now given it a refresh using my new Twitter account/online social media “brand” @meta4RN.

“The Perinatal Mental Health Nurse” is an online newspaper that attempts to answer the question, “What is social media saying about perinatal and infant mental health this week?”

The purpose of The Perinatal Mental Health Nurse is to attempt to answer the question, “What is social media saying about perinatal and infant mental health this week?”. To flush-out that answer, Twitter, Facebook & Google+ are being used as the data sources, and these search terms have been set: “perinatal mental health” and “infant mental health”. To add a little local and mental health nursing flavour, the terms “ACMHN” (abbreviation/hashtag for “Australian College of Mental Health Nurses”) and “HCSMANZ” (abbreviation/hashtag for “Health Care Social Media Australia & New Zealand”) are also searched on Twitter.

[Addit. 28th November 2012] An additional search term has been added: “#bePNDaware”; this hashtag had strong uptake on social media during Australia’s Postnatal Depression Awareness Week (more info about that here).

The beauty of using paper.li is that it is one of those set-and-forget tools which, at first blush, seems kind of magical and empowering: “Who needs Rupert Murdoch? I just made my own newspaper!” Just set the sources and search terms and paper.li does all the rest for you. How much does it cost? Nothing. How much time does it take to set up? Not much; less than half an hour. However, over time too-frequent updates can become a bit tired, just part of the background noise, the flotsam and jetsam of Web 2.0. Hopefully with The Perinatal Mental Health Nurse the “noise” won’t be too intrusive – the updates have been set to just once a week (Wednesdays at 6.00am, Cairns time), which will be accompanied by an automagical Twitter and Facebook anouncement.

I hope that you’ll find some items of interest in The Perinatal Mental Health Nurse. If not, why not see if there are other paper.li online newspapers that are more to your tastes or, better again, start your own?

One last thing. If you’re looking for a more thoughtfully and academically curated compilation of information regarding perinatal and infant mental health, the best website that I know of is the Perintal and Infant Mental Health LibGuide

Paul McNamara, 20th October 2012

short URL meta4RN.com/PMH-paper