Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ante natal care goes virtual at Caboolture

I am always interested to hear of online initiatives in healthcare, especially in the maternity services. So I pricked up my ears when midwife Jillian Clarke told me about a new website that has just gone live.  

The Caboolture Hospital Maternity and Newborn Service (Queensland, Australia) has just launched a website that allows pregnant women and parents to register online with the hospital and gives access to up to date information: http://www.health.qld.gov.au/caboolture/maternity

It is my understanding that eventually, the website will provide the ability for women to have live chats with midwives. 

What interests me is....what drives pregnant women to use online chat facilities, such as websites like this, or Facebook pages, rather than phoning a hospital or talking to a midwife? What do you think?

Friday, July 20, 2012

More from midwives about what they need to meet their CPD needs

I was talking to midwives the other day about continuing professional development and what they need to meet all their professional requirements and professional learning needs. Here is one midwife, Jillain Clarke from Brisbane, talking about how she needs the opportunity - CPD has to be accessible, flexible and provided on her terms, to meet her individual needs.


What do you think of what Jillian is saying? Do you think she's being unrealistic? How would you like CPD to be delivered?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hearing from midwives about their professional development needs

The other day I used Facebook and Twitter to ask midwives what they needed to meet their professional development needs. All the old chestnuts cropped up such as time and access. Here is the "Storify" I made up with everyone's responses. It has some interesting commentary on the whole issue of COP.


What do you think of the comments these midwives made? Are there any you would disagree with, and why?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to prepare for a virtual job interview

It's been my observation that there is an increase in virtual job interviews, and by that, I mean interviews using web conference technologies such as Skype. Companies cannot afford to fly candidates to a face-to-face interview. Yet, phone interviews lack the ability to see the candidate, and note the subliminal messages that body language give off. A number of people I've spoken to lately have been interviewed with Skype and webcam. The beauty of using these techniques is that it saves money, but also allows the interviewers to see candidates.

For candidates, virtual interviews bring their own challenges. Here are a few tips from my own experience to help you prepare for a virtual job interview.

1. Check that the technology works
  • Ask to have a quick run through with the technology before the interview, to make sure everything works both at your end, and at the interviewer's end.
  • If you have to give a presentation, make sure the interviewer has any resources that go with it in plenty of time, so that he can check that everything works, such as a PowerPoint presentation.
  • If you are using resources such as a PowerPoint presentation, use several means of getting the file to the interviewer eg via email and a web site such as SlideShare, so that you're doubly sure the interviewer has what he needs. 
  • Wear a headset because this improves the quality of the audio.
  • Be aware that sometimes web cam impacts on the quality of the internet connection. I suggest that you agree with the interviewer that if this is the case, have the webcam on at first when you do your introductions, and then turn it off.
  • Discuss with the interviewer what Plan B will be if the technology doesn't work on the day.
2.  Make sure your environment is right
  • Check the lighting, so that you can be seen by the interviewer. If you have the lighting behind you, your face will be dark and not seen easily.
  • Make sure you feel relaxed eg your computer is at the correct height; you have a comfortable chair; the room temperature is not too cold or hot; you have a glass of water by your side (but not too near the computer that you knock water all over the keyboard!)
3.  Practice  
  • Have a practice run with a friend, so you are comfortable with using the technology, and the "feel" of this mode of interview. If you're not used to working in this online environment, it can be a little off-putting. Practicing will give you a feel for working in a situation where you don't have the same messages you get when you're interviewed in a face-to-face situation. 
4. Dress appropriately
  • Don't fall into the trap of wearing pj bottoms because no-one can see them. Wear the same clothing that you'd wear in a F2F interview. This will help get you in the mood and remind you to behave professionally. 
5. Check how you look on camera
  • Web camera always shows up my wrinkles, so next time I have an interview I am going to wear a little make-up to hide the wrinkles and add colour to my face. 
  • Check that the clothes you plan to wear do not drain the colour from you on camera.
6. Get rid of any distractions
  • Get rid of anything that will interrupt or distract you during the interview. Put the cat out...send the baby to childcare...turn off all your phones...
  • Close down any unnecessary programs, websites or pop-ups that you won't be using, that may act as a distraction.  This is especially relevant to real-time communication programs such as Twitter, or chat programs such as gTalk.
  • Set your Skype status to "Invisible". This will stop your contacts will disturbing you, but you can continue to use Skype in a normal way. But remember to warn your interviewer that that is what you're doing, or else he will not be able to see you in his contacts list.
7. Think about the name of your Skype account
  • Use a professional name for your Skype account, which looks a lot better than using a name like "fluffysexkitten", unless you're being interviewed for a job as a stripper!
8. Look at the camera
  • When you're being interviewed, look at the camera all of the time. If you keep looking away, the interviewer won't be able to connect with you....and you might end up sending the message that you're easily distracted or bored.
  • It's easy to forget that someone is on the other end of the camera watching you, and fall into the trap of thinking you're on your own and no one can see you. So don't let your guard down and do something inappropriate, like picking your nose!

Have you ever attended a virtual interview, either as interviewer or interviewee? What was your experience? What tips would you pass on to job hunter?

How to handle a virtual job interview. Lindsay Olson. 2012. http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2012/03/06/how-to-handle-a-virtual-job-interview

Job interviews: Tips for the virtual interview. Charles Purdy. 2011. http://www.monsterthinking.com/2011/04/18/job-interviews-tips-for-the-virtual-interview 

Image: 'The most expensive webcam of all times?'

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A question for midwives. What do you need to meet your professional learning needs?

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about midwives' professional learning needs....what they are....what impacts on them....who or what dictates what the learning needs are. And what do midwives need to meet those needs?

Obviously there are the statutory and professional requirements that midwives have to meet, as well as the local expectations of employers.  There's the requirements around meeting women's needs and practicing evidence-based midwifery. And then there's the formal education requirements of courses that midwives undertake.

So much to think about....

What do you need, as a midwife, to meet those professional learning needs? How are your needs being met now...and what would you like to have in place in the future?

Image: '"we are doing this together"'

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Would love to hear your ideas about this question: How to develop a national support program for health professionals?

I have been asked to put together some thoughts and a presentation for a non-profit organization that works with a group of health professionals. What the organization is interested in, is my ideas for a national program that would provide support to this particular group of health professionals.

The organisation also wants the presentation to have a little razzle dazzle. I refuse to use Prezi because I cannot get on with it, for all the tea in China.

So I am looking for ideas. What technologies could I use and embed into my presentation?

But even more important, what key points do you think I should consider when thinking about how an organization can support health professions? 

Image: 'Were thinking of you'

Monday, July 9, 2012

A horrible fright!

I had a horrible fright this morning!

I woke up and thought I was having a heart attack.

All I could hear was a heart beat...going very fast...much faster than my usual slow plodding rate...

This is it...I thought...about to go into cardiac arrest...there's no one here to help me....my life rushed in front of my eyes.

But wait...what a relief....

I realised the cat was sitting on top of my head and it was her heart I could hear!

Whew...I get to live another day!