Being smart not unprofessional !

Two conversations caught my eye on Twitter last night, both seemed to get a lot of air time.  The first conversation was sparked by this tweet from @DebsCooper131:

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The tweet got many responses and a good deal of interaction with lots of people tweeting about finding and loosing pens.  It was a good fun sort of thread.

The second tweet and ensuing conversation that captured my interest was sparked by this Tweet from @captaintau:

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There were lots of answers to this tweet and subsequent conversation, and I have to admit that some of the comments surprised me a little.

The two tweets got me thinking as both mention tools that we can use in nursing, the humble pen – been around for eons, everybody has one in their pocket (or even three if you are super organised) its a pretty useful communication device and no one questions its use in nursing; then we have the smartphone – its been around for a bit, it fits in your pocket, its a really useful communication device and yet we seem to question it’s use ! The two devices, pen and smartphone both seem quite useful to me however the two Twitter conversations could not have been more diverse.

The conversation around the pen was light hearted and fun but the conversation about the smartphone could not have been more intense.  I mentioned above that I was surprised by some of the tweets … and I was.  Some people were adamant that it is unprofessional to use a smartphone as a nurse, that it was too “tempting” for nurses to have smartphones in their pockets and why would they need a smartphone anyway ?!!

Can I just say this here and now …. GOOD GRIEF !!!

Firstly a device or a tool no matter how technological can never be unprofessional, ( I am currently rolling my eyes) it’s the inappropriate use of such things that is unprofessional.  A smartphone is a pocket sized communication tool that gives us a world of knowledge and expertise in the palm of our hand ….. why on earth would we not use that?  I would actually argue that not to have one is unprofessional. As for nurses being “tempted” if they have access to a smartphone whilst on duty (again I roll my eyes) I challenge any nurse to find the time to be tempted !! I know that when I do clinical work I really don’t have time to think about anything but the people I am caring for.

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What worries me more about both of these conversations is that our willingness to accept that a nurse needs a pen and that it is a valid nursing tool for 2017 (I rarely use a pen in my personal life, yet at work could not get through a second of clinical practice without one) yet our complete inability to accept that a smartphone is not a valid nursing tool (rolls eyes for third time)

There is so much that the smartphone has to offer nursing – access to information, access to expertise, bedside recording, access to records when and where we need it, access to apps, access to the internet, portable communication and all in your pocket.  The pen … well that just writes, and maybe stirs your coffee from time to time.  I was in a restaurant the other day and the waitress got out a smartphone to take my order, I didnt think it was unprofessional of her … I thought “wow, how fab is that?” Go into any Apple store and the sales assistants all use smartphones to help you make a purchase .. are they unprofessional? Does anyone question them? No ! So lets get over this …. smartphones are a smart way to work not an unprofessional way to work.

I was glad to see that Ann-Marie Riley (@AnnMarieRiley10) from Nottingham University Hospitals tweeted and shared her experience, as I know that they are really embracing the use of smartphones for nurses at Nottingham:

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I think Ann-Marie has hit the nail firmly on the head – why wouldn’t we use technology? It’s definitely the smart thing to do – we don’t need to work harder as nurses, we need to work smarter, we need to embrace the technology, we need to stop being fearful.  We are are the people who make ourselves look professional, technology is merely a tool and it cant take away our professionalism.

Finally Matt Ballantine (@ballentine70) brought my thinking full circle when he tweeted:

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It’s not the tools, it’s how we use them …… so lets get smart !

 

Stuck on CPD

I have had a few conversations lately both on and offline around continuing professional development (CPD)  in nursing, I guess its only natural as more and more of us are revalidating CPD is very much on our minds.  However with austerity still very much the order of the day it worries me that many nurses still remain very fixed in their idea of CPD. I had a conversation with a nurse a little while back who was absolutely adamant that CPD only counted if it took place in a classroom, he was utterly convinced that this was the case until I showed him what the NMC (2017) say about CPD:

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Why was he so fixed in his idea of CPD? I guess historically CPD is something that has always “happened” to us as nurses.  I recall as a newly qualified nurse we had training sessions on the ward I worked, where people came in to teach us about different areas or skills, we were also sent on training courses regularly and CPD was something that came to us from our employer.  Most of the CPD I did was passively sat in a classroom like environment, being talked at – CPD wasn’t something I had to actively do.  So perhaps this has something to do with the reason why so many of us are so fixed in our view of what counts as CPD in nursing?

I have three problems with this idea of CPD:

Firstly – I am not so sure that sitting passively and being talked at in a classroom is really the best way to learn and develop.  I know that it’s certainly not the case with me – I need to actively discuss things, have the scope to read or find out more, explore ideas, try things out and actually “do” instead of just sit and take notes.  A few years ago I came across this on Twitter:

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(Source: http://www.une.edu/studentlife/biddeford/las-1 )

I’m not sure if it’s steeped in any good quality evidence or research but it makes sense to me. I certainly know that passive learning is not for me, conversation, discussion, doing and showing seem to work much better. 

Secondly – There is no money… austerity reigns and classroom based CPD is expensive. Theres the cost of the venue, the speaker(s), the cost of lost work hours and also the cost of travel and expenses.  There has to be a smarter way that gathering people together at a venue … in fact we know there is, we just need to start using them.

Thirdly – We should take control of what we learn.  As a practicing nurse I have interests in social media, elderly care and dementia … learning IVI’s, TPA , BAL, HFEA or some other acronym is not really where i want to take my learning.  I was my CPD to be based around my needs.  I want to dictate when i do it, how I do it and what its on … its my learning after all.

How do we move with the times? How do we change our mindset regarding CPD – perhaps the answer is in developing . social mindset.  I really like this sketchnote by @tnvora that explores social mindset, in particular the social learning element:

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Social learning is about taking our traditional idea of learning and giving it a good shake.  I love the term “working out loud” and I think that the potential to apply this is nursing is huge.  learning together, developing communities of practice and creating an ecosystem of learning when and where we want it is, in my opinion, a very attractive proposition.

Isn’t it time that we took hold of CPD and turned it on its head? Isn’t it time we took responsibility for it? Isn’t it time we took control of it?  Isn’t it time to stop being passive about our learning as nurses? I think that social learning is the way forward – it’s time to step out of the classroom and into individualised lifelong social learning.