Monday, November 2, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Social Media Venn Diagram T-Shirt

The 2010 Annual Assembly co-sponsored by The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA), of which I'm a member, is being held in Boston next March, and I plan to attend. I've had the chance to participate in a pallative care/end of life conference, workshop, or similar activity pretty much every year for the last 7 years, and I'm looking forward to this one.

I've always valued professional conferences, because I find them energizing and I enjoy meeting people whose interests I share. I particularly appreciate meeting other health professionals who work with patients and families at end of life.

A few weeks ago, I was very pleased to learn from Drew's post at Pallimed about an opportunity to perhaps even participate in the conference to a greater degree.

A session titled, "Interactive Educational Exchange: Sharing Innovative Teaching Materials and Methods," had already caught my attention. I noted in my other blog last September that my final project in a course I'm taking on information technology in health care will be to continue developing Death Club for Cuties, supplemented by a paper on the subject of blogging.

For my money, blogging's where the action is right now.

Anywhoozle, I went ahead and submitted a proposal to present blogging as a tool for professional development, and for enhancing communication among palliative/end of life care givers. We'll see how it flies.

Now, I'm certainly not presenting myself as some kind of expert, or pioneer. There were many nurses, physicians, and others blogging about these issues long before I started. And there are plenty of people who do it better, and more consistently than me.

It's simply that as my practice has evolved, so have my interests. EOL blogging is pretty much where those interests intersect.

But, whether or not my proposal is selected, I'll be the guy with the black t-shirt at the Hynes Convention Center. And if anyone wants to experience the real Boston, I'm your tourguide.

Anywhoozle, this is from my submission -

Name of Educational Innovation: Blogging as a tool for professional development, and for enhancing communication among palliative/end of life (EOL) caregivers.

Setting/Program/School for which innovation is intended: The innovation is appropriate for both students and clinicians at all levels of practice; and is appropriate for physicians, nurses, social workers, and others involved in providing palliative and end of life care.

Degree or Certificate to which your innovation contributes: The innovation is not directly associated with any specific degree or certification, though it can be a useful supplement to a clinician’s course work and clinical practice.

Blogging as a tool for professional development, and for enhancing communication among palliative/end of life (EOL) caregivers.

Self-reflection, objective feedback from peers, and keeping current with new methods and findings are essential for professional development. Similarly, the ability to write effectively and to participate in a collegial network are important ways for clinicians to enhance their individual skills while advancing their professions.

Physicians, nurses, social workers, and others read and contribute to professional journals and other publications. They also teach and attend courses, conferences, and seminars

New channels for professional development are now possible because of the ubiquity of technology tools and the widespread use of the Internet.

Google’s Blogger and other related technologies mean anyone associated with EOL care can reach a worldwide audience of peers, and actively engage them in a rich and ever-evolving conversation using text, audio, video, and more.

Objectives of the Innovation
1. To support effective writing, self-reflection, and community;
2. To develop and expand a network of EOL bloggers;
3. To establish a resource center for current and potential EOL bloggers

I launched two blogs (blog names intentionally omitted from this abstract) earlier this year to explore topics of professional interest to me - EOL care, and nursing education - and will use this experience as a case study on how others can establish and maintain blogs of their own.

I will also use my experience to illustrate the development of a personal professional network, and I will describe some of the EOL blogs that have become an essential part of that network.

I will identify a range of no-cost and low-cost tools and techniques for EOL professionals who are considering blogging for the first time.

Finally, I will present an online resource center I have developed specifically for EOL bloggers.

I have established online relationships with other EOL, health care, and general interest bloggers. Several shared blogging standards of practice have evolved within this network, including monthly grand rounds hosted by different EOL bloggers on a rotating basis. These grand rounds are used to highlight work within the field in both online and traditional media.

The EOL bloggers in the network show unique writing styles, are interested in a wide range of topics, and approach their subject matter in many different ways, from essays based on personal experiences to more expository pieces that display the rigor associated with peer-reviewed journals.

Blogging tools are easy to use. What matters most in establishing a compelling blog is an ability to express oneself, a willingness to ask questions, and a desire to support and engage with others.

This innovation will assist EOL caregivers who wish to explore their professional development through blogging, and will help to increase and enhance the scope of online resources for EOL caregivers.