Tag Archives: nursing

If you can Tweet you can Blog (and vice versa)

Gather around children, Uncle Paul has a little story to tell.

No! Wait! Don’t run away! I’ll be pretty quick. Promise.

Back in the olden days when the internet was just a pup, there was no Twitter, Facebook or Google. Even MySpace (RIP) wasn’t invented then.

They were dark days, my friends. “Ask Jeeves” and “Alta Vista” were crappy search engines plagued by porn pop-ups. #embarrassing

Correction. Hashtags weren’t even invented then. #darkdaysmyfriends

They were dark days, my friends. March 2000 screenshot via Wayback Machine web.archive.org

People still communicated with each other via discussion boards. It was cool how people spontaneously repurposed sites like LonelyPlanet to use their discussion boards for funny, serious and mystical exchanges of ideas. Often all at the same time. Reddit still thrives using the discussion board format. Humans seem to like conversation.

In the late 1990s a couple of platforms were released that allowed ordinary people with no coding skills to write about stuff that interested them online. These platforms allowed non-geeks to create and maintain their own web site. “OpenDiary” and “Live Journal” were amongst the first.

It was a paradigm shift. Before then anything called a “diary” or a “journal” would have been kept private. These people were intentionally sharing stuff about their lives and interests with anyone who dropped-in online.

That sort of platform was called a “Web Log”. The pioneering community that used them started played with the words, and said “We Blog”. Fast forward a few years, and TaDa! in 2004 “Blog” was the Merriam-Webster Number 1 Word of the Year

Bloggers had humble beginnings as an online diary/journal, eg:
“Yesterday was an especially shitty day…”
“I learnt something about myself at work today…”
“Andrew McLeod is the smoothest footy player in the history of humans…”

Bloggers have probably become a bit more sophisticated in relation to content and boundaries, and blogs definitely look fancier nowadays. Nevertheless, blogging is still a humble craft. As with the pioneers, you learn blogging by doing blogs.

Learn from the mistakes of others though. Naming employers or workmates is bad for job security, especially if you’re being negative. The Australian Health Professional Registering Authority have a policy [here] which is mostly pretty common-sense stuff, but they’ve thrown in a couple of unexpected bits. Better have a quick look at it if you’re working in the health care caper.

My recommendation is to be clear re boundaries. Is your blog going to be Personal, Professional or Official? My definitions are:
Personal Use
Personal use of social media is where you share photos of your holidays with family and friends on services like Facebook or Instagram. If you happen to be interested in what Justin Bieber had for breakfast, you might follow him on Instagram or Twitter and see what he has to share with the world (it’s OK: we won’t judge you – it’s your choice).
Official Use
Official use of social media is where a company or organisation presents their brand and shares information online, like the Ausmed Education Twitter account, for example: @ausmed.
Professional Use
Professional use of social media is based on your area of expertise and interests. This use of social media allows you to share information with and interact with other individuals and organisations that have the same interests.

[source: www.ausmed.com.au/twitter-for-nurses]

Choose one.

On my blog I used the “About” page [here: meta4RN.com/about] to clarify boundaries that suit me. Maybe start with a similar idea – think about and articulate what you want the blog to become. Then go for it! 🙂

End

Motivated by Bec (aka @notesforreview) and Katherine (aka @KatherineFaire1), this post aims to lend encouragement to nurses, midwives and other health professionals who are considering a blog. I made the claim that if you can Tweet you can blog. To prove the point, this post is just a replica of what I put on Twitter earlier today (see here or here) ,with most of the typos fixed.

 

See? Same same, but different. 🙂

One last thing. You may be wondering what platforms are best for blogging. Me too. Click here.  🙄

Thanks for visiting. As always, feedback is welcomed via the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 10 November 2018

Short URL: meta4RN.com/blog

They were dark days, my friends. March 2000 screenshot via Wayback Machine web.archive.org

 

Your Ordinary is Extraordinary

“I have come to learn that it is fundamental for mental health nurses to establish relationships of trust and provide care to people who are in need, setting aside any bias or prejudice. What this means is that, as mental health nurses, you are championing human rights on a daily basis by simply doing your jobs. It must seem so ordinary to you as you go about your lives, but your ordinary is extraordinary.
Sharina Smith
Communications and Publications Officer
Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
September 2018

Cite in text
(Smith, 2018. p. 2)

Cite in reference list
Smith, S. (2018, September). Welcome. ACMHN News. Spring 2018 edition. Australian College of Mental Health Nurses: Canberra.

Context

I was flicking through the most recent edition of ACMHN News, themed “mental health and human rights”, one last time before consigning it the recycling bin. Sharina Smith is editor of the publication, and always offers a short “welcome” column introducing the content. Stopping my trip to the bin, the three sentences quoted above jumped off the page.

It’s instructive to have someone from an unrelated field (in Sharina’s case marketing and communications), examine mental health nursing through their lens of education and experience. Sharina’s comments shine a spotlight on an incredibly important part of our work that we often take for granted.

Just as the paper of the magazine deserves to be recycled, so do Sharina’s observations about human rights and mental health nursing. That’s the purpose of liberating the excerpt above from the printed page to the internet.

End

Sincere thanks to Sharina Smith, and all the office staff at ACMHN. Your ongoing support of Australian mental health nurses is very much appreciated.

Find out more about ACMHN here: www.acmhn.org

Paul McNamara, 10 November 2018

Short URL meta4RN.com/ordinary

#ACMHN2018 on Twitter

Information from and about ACMHN’s 44th International Mental Health Nursing Conference went well beyond the walls of the Cairns conference venue, and bounced around the world via social media.

Over the week of the conference more than 320 separate Twitter accounts used the #ACMHN2018 hashtag. There were over 2,750 tweets. 40 or so (less than 50, anyway) of the conference delegates, keynote speakers and sponsors were using the #ACMHN2018 hashtag – the content they generated was shared by over 250 people not in attendance. Many thanks to the relatively small percentage of conference participants who have amplified mental health nursing’s voice and values.

Free access to the #ACMHN2018 data and content is online,

One last thing. People are already talking about next year’s conference in Sydney using the #ACMHN2019 hashtag. Will you be part of the conversation?

End

That’s it. I’ve done detailed dissections of conference tweeting previously. This time I’m just dropping the info that was published in the ACMHN “Tuesday Times” on 30/10/18.

Short and sweet. 🙂

If you’re after more info about the conference content, I suggest that you browse the #ACMHN2018 tweets via this link, or the conference abstracts via this link.

Paul McNamara, 31 October 2018

Short URL: meta4RN.com/ACMHN2018

 

Conversations, not just citations, count: Social Media and the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

This page serves as a place to collate the Prezi, YouTube video, abstract and list of references, data sources and visuals used for a presentation at the 44th ACMHN International Mental Health Nursing Conference.

Click on the pic to access the Prezi

Presenter Introductions

Paul McNamara is CNC with the Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Service at Cairns Hospital. Paul is also Social Media Editor of the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Kim Usher is Professor and Head of School at the School of Health, University of New England. Kim is also Chief Editor of the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Abstract

Traditionally the impact and reach of a specific journal article has been estimated through the measurement of how many times it is cited elsewhere in scholarly literature. Sometimes years could pass between conducting the original research, writing and refining drafts, submitting and reviewing manuscripts, the article being published, and subsequent researchers including this citation in their published reference list. The resulting time lag means that citations are a retrospective measurement of research impact.

There is however an alternative measure of research impact; a metric that is more immediate. This alternative does not rely on the passive hope that other people will see and share research findings, but allows interested parties to play a hand in generalised and targeted promotion of a published piece of research.

Charlene Li famously described social media not as a technology, but as a conversation (Israel, 2009). Now these online conversations can be quantified, and offer “real‐time” feedback to researchers/authors about the impact and reach of their published research.

In order to support these claims, we will provide an overview of the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing social media strategy. Altmetric data will be presented to demonstrate the measurable effects of this strategy. General information and specific examples will be shared so that researchers, authors, and the institutions that support their work, are exposed to strategies they could use to contribute to future Altmetric scores. In doing so, conference delegates who attend this presentation will be equipped with knowledge on how to improve the impact and reach of their publications on social media, and further their understanding of why this matters.

References, Data Sources + Presentation Visuals

Altmetric attention scores re top 5 IJMHN articles, data as at 18/09/18:

  1. Do adult mental health services identify child abuse and neglect? A systematic review https://wiley.altmetric.com/details/23964454
  2. Mental healthcare staff well‐being and burnout: A narrative review of trends, causes, implications, and recommendations for future interventions https://wiley.altmetric.com/details/30485876
  3. An integrative review exploring the physical and psychological harm inherent in using restraint in mental health inpatient settings https://wiley.altmetric.com/details/31986204
  4. Lethal hopelessness: Understanding and responding to asylum seeker distress and mental deterioration https://wiley.altmetric.com/details/17878566
  5. How many of 1829 antidepressant users report withdrawal effects or addiction? https://wiley.altmetric.com/details/43387887

Altmetric attention scores re IJMHN impact from July 2015 to June 2018, MS Excel spreadsheet data courtesy of Kornelia Junge, Senior Research Manager, Wiley.

Altmetric logo via https://www.altmetric.com/about-us/logos/ (retrieved 06/10/2018)

CrossRef data re IJMHN most-cited articles based on citations published in the last three years, via https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14470349 (retrieved 04/10/2018)

Hootsuite logo via https://hootsuite.com/about/media-kit (retrieved 06/10/18)

IJMHN. (03/01/17). The @IJMHN 2017 New Year resolution is to refresh our Twitter home page and Tweeting practices. Watch this space! 🙂 [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/ijmhn/status/816202247604301824?s=21

International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, October 2018, volume 27, issue 5, cover image via https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/inm.12395

Israel, S. (foreward by Li, C.). (2009). Twitter Ville: How businesses can thrive in the new global neighborhoods. New York: Portfolio.

Tweet activity examples as at 06/10/18

  1. Combining #eMentalHealth intervention development with human computer interaction (HCI) design to enhance technology‐facilitated recovery for people with depression and/or anxiety conditions Amalie Søgaard Neilsen + @RhondaWilsonMHN https://twitter.com/ijmhn/status/1036177022811340800?s=21
  2. Meeting the needs of young people with psychosis: We MUST do better Editorial by @Michael_A_Roche @debraejackson @KimUsher3 + Wendy Cross https://twitter.com/ijmhn/status/1033277919865593858?s=21
  3. Literature review of trauma-informed care: Implications for mental health nurses https://twitter.com/ijmhn/status/1029110510569091072?s=21

Twitter data re IJMHN activity from July 2015 to June 2018 via http://www.twitonomy.com/profile.php?sn=IJMHN (retrieved 20/10/18)

Twitter data re IJMHN impact from July 2015 to June 2018 via https://analytics.twitter.com/user/IJMHN/home (retrieved 09/10/2018)

Twitter logo via https://about.twitter.com/en_us/company/brand-resources.html (retrieved 06/10/18)

Video Version

The YouTube version of the presentation (slightly different to the conference version) can be viewed below and/or shared using this URL: https://youtu.be/vWSI3u4O2Bc

Presentation Tweets

Using Hootsuite, these Tweets using the conference hashtag (#ACMHN2018) were scheduled to be sent during the presentation. Look Mum! No Hands!

 

Citation

To cite this page:
McNamara, P. (2018). Conversations, not just citations, count: Social Media and the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. Retrieved from https://meta4RN.com/count

To cite the presentation abstract:
McNamara, P. & Usher, K. (2018). Conversations, not just citations, count: Social Media and the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, Volume 27, Issue S1, Page 31 onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/inm.12539

End

That’s it. Thanks for reading this far down the page. You’re probably the only one who’s bothered. 🙂

In keeping with the theme of the presentation, I’d be grateful if you share the page with your social networks.

As always, questions and feedback are welcomed via the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 15 October 2018

Short URL meta4RN.com/count

Update: 20 October 2018

There was a flat spot in the original presentation where I struggled to convey clarity and sustain interest. In an effort to overcome this, I deleted a couple of slides from the original Prezi, modified another, and added the data/chart below. Thank you for your helpful critique and suggestions @StellaGRN.

Update: 27 October 2018

The Tweets that were scheduled to coincide with the presentation have now been embedded in the post.

Diagnostic Overshadowing

Source: I had a black dog, his name was depression https://youtu.be/XiCrniLQGYc

I work in a general hospital doing mental health clinical work and education. The two roles overlap. A lot.

A significant part of the job is undiagnosing mental illness. It’s not unusual for us to be asked to see somebody who is emotionally overwhelmed or dysregulated. Sometimes this is in the context of mental health problems, often it’s in the context of significant stress. We don’t want to psychiatricise the human condition. Of course you cry when you’re sad. Of course you’re anxious when, like Courtney Barnett in ‘Avant Gardener‘, you’re not that good at breathing in. Of course you’e frustrated when you’re in pain and/or don’t understand what’s going on.

It’s important to validate understandable and proportionate emotions.

It’s equally important to make sure that somebody who has experienced mental health problems previously doesn’t have every presentation to the hospital/outpatient clinic seen through that lens. That’s called “diagnostic overshadowing”. It’s a real problem.

Diagnostic overshadowing is where physical symptoms are overlooked, dismissed or downplayed as a psychiatric/psychosomatic symptom. It must be one of the most dangerous things that happens in hospitals. The President of the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Professor Malcolm Hopwood, said in May 2016, “I sometimes think that the worse thing a person can do for their physical health is to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder.”

It often comes as a shock to people when they find out that those diagnosed with mental illness die between 10 and 25 years younger than the general public. The next shock comes when discovering suicide accounts for only about 14% of premature death. [source: ‘Please believe me, my life depends on it’: Physical health concerns of people diagnosed with mental illness]

It’s a big deal. About 60% of people who experience mental health problems experience chronic physical health problems too. Poor mental health is a major risk factor for poor physical health, and vice versa. [Source: Australia’s mental and physical health tracker 2018]

Diagnostic overshadowing happens outside of hospitals too. In this example, understandable and proportionate human emotions were misinterpreted as psychopathology. The cascade of events that followed makes for a sobering read:

Questions for Reflection

Assuming that you – the person reading this blog post – is a nurse, midwife or other health professional, I have some questions I’d like you to reflect on.

Have I ever witnessed a person’s mental health history influence how their presenting complaint was investigated or treated?

How does my workplace prevent mental health stigmatising and diagnostic overshadowing?

What can I do to support good holistic patient care, without falling into the trap of diagnostic overshadowing?

References

Happell, B. & Ewart, S. (2016). ‘Please believe me, my life depends on it’: Physical health concerns of people diagnosed with mental illness [online]. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 23(11), 47.

Harris, B. Duggan, M. Batterham, P. Bartlem, K. Clinton-McHarg, T. Dunbar, J. Fehily, C. Lawrence, D. Morgan, M. Rosenbaum, S. (2018). Australia’s mental health and physical health tracker: Background paper. Australian Health Policy Collaboration issues paper no. 2018-02, Melbourne, AHPC.

Lakeman, R. & Emeleus, M. (2014). Un-diagnosing mental illness in the process of helping. Psychotherapy in Australia, 21(1), 38-45.

Patfield, M. (2011). Undiagnosis: An Important New Role for Psychiatry. Australasian Psychiatry, 19(2), 107–109.

Seriously mentally ill ‘die younger’. (2016, May 10). SBS News. Retrieved from https://www.sbs.com.au/news/seriously-mentally-ill-die-younger

End

Sincere thanks to Bec (aka @notesforreview on Twitter) for giving permission to share her tweets re mental health stigma and diagnostic overshadowing. Her first-hand account is a powerful cautionary tale.

Paul McNamara, 1st October 2018

Short URL meta4RN.com/shadow

Why on earth would a mental health nurse use social media?

Here’s my contribution to Chapter 15 “E-Mental Health” in “Mental Health: A Person-Centred Approach, 2nd edition.”

There is a famous quote attributed to author, speaker and Harvard Business School graduate Charlene Li that states, “Twitter is not a technology. It’s a conversation. And it’s happening with or without you.” This is not unique to Twitter – the same notion applies to all of social media.

Over the years a lot of talk about healthcare matters and nursing has happened without including nurses. Since the emergence of social media, nurses don’t have to wait to be invited to join in these conversations. We nurses we can share our experience, knowledge and values with the world, whether the world want to hear us or not. To paraphrase author, feminist and media expert Jane Caro, social media allows nurses and midwives unmediated access to public conversations for the first time in history.

We would be foolish to let that opportunity slip by.

I’m a mental health nurse working in consultation liaison psychiatry in a busy general hospital in a regional city in Australia. People like me often go unheard in the “big picture” discussions. As a busy clinician, I’m not ever likely to pump-out dozens of journal articles or write books about my role.

Clinical nurses like me are more likely to share ‘war-stories” with each other. A lot of interesting, funny, sad and (sometimes) scary things happen on the frontline. There’s a strong oral tradition of story-telling amongst nurses and midwives, and we learn a lot from each other. Social media allows us to share our stories beyond our workplace and beyond our immediate workmates. We can share our stories with nurses, midwives, and anyone else who is interested all over the world. As our circles of communication and connection become wider and more diverse, our minds expand, we learn more, we have an opportunity to reflect on our work more. It’s a fun way to do professional development.

Some of your patients, some of your colleagues, and some of your current or future employers will use a search engine like google to find out more about you. They probably won’t be malicious or creepy. They’ll probably just be idly curious. Either way – no matter their intent – don’t you want to be in charge of what they find?

I think it’s important to be clear and intentional when using social media. Nurses already know about boundaries and confidentiality, and are nearly always good at in the flesh. Sometimes nurses blur boundaries between their social life and professional life online. That’s where it gets tricky.  I suggest having two distinctly different social media identities: a personal one for family and friends, and a professional one for patients, colleagues and employers.

Personal use of social media is where you share photos of holidays and parties with family and friends on services like Facebook or Instagram. Relax. Have fun with it. Don’t bother naming your employer, or talk too much about work there. It’s a place to enjoy yourself. Do you have to use your actual name? A nickname will increase your privacy.

Professional use of social media is based on your area of expertise and interests. This use of social media allows you to share information and interact with other individuals and organisations that have the similar interests. Here you don’t want to hide your light under a bushel: use your real name.

I have a blog that I usually update every month or so with posts that are of interest to me: have a look at meta4RN.com if you’re interested in what a nursing blog looks like. It’s not the only nursing blog out there – in fact, there are many nursing blogs that are much fancier and more regularly updated than mine. Visit the NurseUncut Blogroll (www.nurseuncut.com.au/blog-roll) to track down others.

Twitter is a fantastic way to connect with people all over the world. The best way to learn about Twitter is to follow people who are already using it – please feel free to follow me via my Twitter handle: @meta4RN. By way of explanation, “meta4RN” is a homophone: read it as either “metaphor RN” or “meta for RN”.

I also use the meta4RN handle on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Prezi and other online accounts. Nearly all of the things I share on these social media platforms relate to my professional life, but there’s room for a bit of playfulness and fun too. Professional doesn’t have to be boring. Just check on yourself as go, and ask, “is this something I want my patients, colleagues and managers to see?” If not, either it belongs on your personal social media accounts, or shouldn’t be posted at all.

So, back to the opening question: why on earth would a mental health nurse use social media? To connect and collaborate with others, for professional development, to make sure that ordinary clinical nurses have a voice online, and to expand my horizons. Also, it doesn’t hurt that when people do search for me online I am in control of what is seen.

Explainer

You may be wondering why I’m sharing this excerpt now. Simple – I’m drawing attention to this news:

Being named best in category for “Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning Resource: blended learning (print and digital)” at the Educational Publishing Awards 2018 is a pretty big deal. The authors and editors deserve to be congratulated.

I’m very grateful to Rhonda Wilson (aka @RhondaWilsonMHN) for inviting me to contribute to the book. It’s not false modesty to note that my contribution isn’t what won the book the award, but I’m pleased as punch to be part of it!

End

Thanks for reading. While you’re at it, have a squiz at Rhonda’s blog: rhondawilsonmhn.com 🙂

Paul McNamara, 22nd September 2018

Short URL: meta4RN.com/book

References

Israel, S. (foreward by Li, C.). (2009). Twitterville: How businesses can thrive in the new global neighborhoods. New York: Portfolio.

Wilson, R. (contribution by McNamara, P.) . (2017). E-mental health. In Procter, N., Hamer, H., McGarry, D., Wilson, R., & Froggatt, T. (Editors.), Mental health : a person-centred approach, second edition (pp. 360-362). Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Australia.

Top 5 Tips for #ACMHN2018 Delegates

In October 2018 hundreds of mental health nurses will descend on Cairns for the 44th ACMHN International Mental Health Nursing Conference. As part of pre-conference publicity ACMHN have put their “Top 5 Tips for #ACMHN2018 Presenters” online [link].

That got me thinking that it might be helpful to have some “Top 5 Tips for #ACMHN2018 Delegates”, ie:  a local mental health nurse’s suggestions on what to do when you’re NOT at the conference. FNQ (Far North Queensland) is worth exploring – be sure to tack-on some rest and recreation time before and after the conference.

With no further ado, please read on…

Top 5 Places for a Drink

Mondo www.mondoonthewaterfront.com.au
Mondo is my favourite place for afternoon drinks or lunch. It’s a 500m walk from the conference venue. The location is fantastic, with views across Trinity Inlet and nearly always a cool breeze.
Local’s tip: If you do decide to eat here try the sizzling fajita. Yum!

Hemingways www.hemingwaysbrewery.com
Hemingways opened in June 2018, and sits in a beautifully restored/repurposed dockside cargo shed. It has an industrial chic look and feel about it, and they make their own beers on site. Hemingways is less that 200m from the conference venue… stumbling distance 🙂
Local’s tip: craft beer not your thing? the AIX Rosé is delicious!

Salt House salthouse.com.au
A 10 minute walk from the conference venue, Salt House has a new deck that overlooks the marina and a larger area where there is often live music. It’s cool and casual, and a favourite with the after-work crowd.
Local’s tip: have the Bloody Mary oyster shooter!

RSL www.cairnsrsl.com.au
Do you have an image of a RSL as a dingy old place full of dingy old people? Forget it! From the conference venue take a 10-15 minute stroll along the lively, cosmopolitan esplanade to take a seat at the light and breezy bar with tilt-up windows.
Local’s tip: the bar’s resident willy wagtail is called Russell

Vine Room www.facebook.com/thevineroomurbanprovedore
Situated just across Florence Street from the RSL, Vine Room is an open air, slightly elevated spot for an afternoon/evening drink. Watch the dive trips come in from the reef with a cool beverage.
Local’s tip: if you’re with 3 or 4 others grab one of their platters for a nibble

Top 5 Places to Eat

Fusion www.fusionartbar.com.au
Less than 200m from the conference venue, this groovy little place is great for just a drink, but the food is too yummy to miss. My favourites are the tapas dishes, which the friendly staff will match to your wines if you ask them to.
Local’s tip: the specials are nearly always amazing!

Splash www.splashrestaurant.com.au
This seafood restaurant on The Nard (local speak for “The Esplanade”) is a great spot to watch the world go by while eating delicious things. It’s a 10-15 meander from the conference venue.
Local’s tip: the seafood chowder is a delicious and surprisingly cheap meal; if you want to treat yourself have the Morton Bay Bugs in garlic butter

Iyara www.facebook.com/IyarabySakare
The best Thai restaurant in Cairns is also on The Nard, but is a bit harder to find than the others. Look for the casual and fun Courtyard at street level. The door to the stairs taking you up to Iyara is to the right of the entrance to Courtyard. It’s a very good restaurant, and if you’re seated on the balcony you’ll be able to see the blinking lights of the shipping channel snaking out to sea.
Local’s tip: the starter that has a prawn, lime and peanuts wrapped in a betel leaf is fantastic!

Tha Fish www.thafish.com.au
Situated on the boardwalk of The Pier, Tha Fish overlooks the marina – it’s a 5-10 minute walk from the conference venue. Great food, great wine list and great service.
Local’s tip: order from “tha fish list” where you choose from one of 5 fishes and one of 5 cooking styles

Ochre ochrerestaurant.com.au
If you found Mondo you can find Ochre – it’s just another 50m or so along the boardwalk that fronts Trinity Inlet. A creative menu using lots of native Australia ingredients. Classy!
Local’s tip: if there are two or more of you have a tasting platter (be sure to include the salt and pepper quail)

Top 5 Things to Do in Cairns

The Lagoon/Boardwalk www.cairns.qld.gov.au/esplanade
The boardwalk is a nice stroll, and well used by locals and visitors alike. If you do the whole thing it connects Hemingways to the mangroves near the airport, but that’s not much fun in full sun. Around sunrise or sunset it’s pretty nice though.
Local’s tip: there are a couple of avenues of large trees that converge at the lagoon – go via the shade if it’s sunny!

Rusty’s Markets www.rustysmarkets.com.au
The markets are a couple of blocks from the conference venue fronting both Grafton and Sheridan Streets. They markets are well-worth a visit on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. There’s a bit of standard hippy bling near the Grafton Street entrance, but the cool stuff is the food in the middle and Sheridan Street end of the markets.
Local’s tip: buy a few tropical fruits you’ve never tried before – the stallholders are generous with showing/telling you how to eat them

The Tanks www.tanksartscentre.com
If there’s a show on at The Tanks that coincides with your trip to Cairns get there. Tank 5 is a fantastic venue to see bands/other acts. If there are no live shows that appeal sus-out any art exhibitions. The Tanks are about $10-15 in an Uber or $20-25 in a taxi from the conference venue. There’s also a bus (see below).
Local’s tip: the botanic gardens are next door if you’re doing a day trip

The Beaches travelnq.com/cairns-beaches
It shits me when people say Cairns doesn’t have a beach. It doesn’t have a beach in the CBD, but then neither does Sydney. But you don’t hear people say Sydney doesn’t have a beach. The nine Cairns beaches are all north of the city. If you don’t have a hire car, take the sunbus to the beaches of your choice: www.sunbus.com.au/cairns
Local’s tip: stinger season usually starts in November, but they can come early some years.

The Red Arrow www.cairns.qld.gov.au
For a sweat-inducing but beautiful walk head to The Red Arrow near The Tanks/botanic gardens. Green exercise is better for mental health than gym-based exercise, and when you’re puffing for breath looking down on the airport/city from Mount Whitfield you’ll notice a smile pass over your lips between gasps.
Local’s tip: your accom provider may be able to provide a bike for you to get there – if so you can do the whole trip on designated bike tracks away from nasty killer cars [maps here]

Top 5 Trips out of Cairns

Great Barrier Reef www.cairnsattractions.com.au
You can see the Great Barrier Reef from outer space or from a boat from Cairns or Port Douglas. Boat trips are much cheaper than rocket trips, but it’s worth paying a bit extra for one that goes to the outer reef – that’s where the cool stuff is. Snorkelling is pretty easy unless you’re very unfit.
Local’s tip: don’t pre-book your trip, watch the day-to-day weather forecasts before booking – ideally you’ll go on a day when the wind is 10kmh or less.

Daintree Rainforest/Cape Tribulation www.destinationdaintree.com
You can do this as a day trip in a hire car easily. Here’s my special secret itinerary which, until now, I’ve only ever shared with family and friends: 

Wake up early. An early start means you beat the tourist buses heading up to the Daintree. It doesn’t have to be a pre-dawn take-off, but this is written as if you’re in the car and driving at 7:00am(ish) – if you’re not on the road before 8:00am you’re too late.

Drive north up Sheridan Street/Captain Cook Highway. If you didn’t get proper coffee before you left town, too bad: get it in the Daintree instead.

You’ll drive past all the suburban beach turnoffs and Palm Cove in the way out of town. Relax. By leaving early you can see any of them on the way back.

Drive through Ellis Beach. About 15-20 minutes later you’ll see the signs/parking area for Rex Lookout. Stop there for photos and fresh air. Lovely.

Keep driving north, don’t turn off to Port Douglas: keep going towards Mossman. If you’re REALLY desperate for coffee you can try your luck in Mossman, but it’s better to keep driving. 

20-30 minutes later you’re at the ferry that crosses the Daintree River. Get a return ticket, and officially start to relax. You’ve beaten the traffic. You’re in a lovely part of the world.

You’ve crossed the river now. Chill. Soon after you get off the ferry you’ll see the sign pointing to Florence Lookout on the right. Take the turn. Take some photos.

Now you’re less than half an hour away from stopping for breakfast. Keep driving north until you get to Thornton Beach. There’s a place next to the beach that makes good coffee and breakfast. You can take your time.

Along the way there a free boardwalks. Take the time to walk along all of the free ones. There’s a commercial boardwalk/skywalk thingy too. You’ll see it advertised. It’s good, but so are the free boardwalks. You can choose to go on the paid boardwalk/skywalk on the way back if you want to.

Putter your way to Cape Tribulation. There are lovely beaches there – check with a local on whether it’s safe to get in the sea (irukandji likely to be a bigger risk than crocs).

Take your time. Late brunch/early lunch in Cape Trib. Soon the tourist buses will start arriving. You don’t care, you’re turning around and leaving Cape Trib now.

Enjoy the drive south. Turn -off/stop wherever you want. Make sure you stop in at that tropical fruit ice-cream place you saw on the way up.

After you’ve crossed the river again, plan to drop into Mossman Gorge on the way home. If you couldn’t swim before, you can here: fantastic clear, cold, croc-free fresh water.

How’s the time going? You’ll be time to have a look at Port Douglas: make sure. to get photos @ Four Mile Beach, somewhere down the other end of Macrossen Street near the Courthouse Hotel. Hang a right, and go up to the lookout. 

Take your time driving home. Be sure to stop at Rex Lookout again (the light has changed, it looks different, there may be hang-gliders). 

Do you have time to stop at Ellis Beach? It’s more about the beach than anything else.

Do you have time to stop at Palm Cove? It’s more about the bars and restaurants than anything else, but there is a nice jetty for a walk, and an irukandji net to allow safe(ish) swimming. 

There a few more beaches on the way back to Cairns. They all have different looks/qualities, visit whichever you like: most are only 10 minutes off the highway, Yorkeys Knob is more like 15.

That’s it.. 

Have fun! 

Mossman Gorge www.mossmangorge.com.au
Mossman Gorge is beautiful. If you can’t get to The Daintree for whatever reason go here instead – it’ll give you a good taste of the wet tropics with the bonus of cultural context.
Local’s tip: if you’re feeling the heat/humidity pack your togs – the croc-free water is always cool in Mossman Gorge

Port Douglas www.tourismportdouglas.com.au
Port is a pretty town which somehow maintains a small town feel despite all the tourist infrastructure. It’s definitely worth staying in Port for a night or two if you have time.
Local’s tip: the Sunday morning markets and Sunday arvo session at The Courthouse are fun

The Waterfall Circuit www.millaamillaa.com
This is another do-able as a day trip in a hire car thing. It’s lovely up on the tablelands, and a good way to see the good stuff is to ignore the advice of TLC and DO go chasing waterfalls. There’s a map in the link above,
Local’s tip: if you’re up that way definitely drop into the Mungulli Creek Dairy for cheese, chocolate and other yummy stuff

End

That’ll do for now.

My meta4RN website does not accept paid advertising – in fact, I pay a bit more each year to have a website without advertising. This is a prelude to say that my “Top 5 Tips for #ACMHN2018 Delegates” are just my opinion. It’s OK to ignore or disagree with my suggestions or – better still – add your suggestions in the comments section below… if enough people do add their suggestions, I’ll create another category: Top5 Reader Suggestions. 🙂

See you in Cairns for #ACMHN2018!

Paul McNamara
27th August 2018 [Twitter pics/updates on 9th September 2018]
Short URL: meta4RN.com/tips