The Journey Begins… A Contextual Statement

para-1
ˈparə/
prefix
prefix: para-; prefix: par-

beside; adjacent to.
beyond or distinct from, but analogous to.

From Greek para ‘beside’; in combinations often meaning ‘amiss, irregular’ and denoting alteration or modification.


I am a paramedic who has just started as a Paramedicine lecturer with the Auckland University of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand, and have around 20 years of prehospital experience.

I initially did a Bachelor of Arts degree at The University of Auckland, majoring in Psychology and Philosophy.  While I was studying I joined St John New Zealand as a volunteer and then the New Zealand Army Territorial Force as a medic.  After graduating, I went full time with the army for two years to complete my medic training before returning to a part-time role with the Territorial Force.  This eventually led to full time employment with St John as an ambulance officer in Auckland in 2005.

While working for the ambulance service, I completed my Bachelor of Heath Science degree in Paramedicine by studying part-time.  After becoming an Intensive Care Paramedic I moved onto other non-operational roles within the Clinical Development Team, becoming an Education tutor; Clinical Coach; Clinical Advisor in the communications centre; and working on the national ambulance air desk co-ordinating rescue helicopter responses.

The ambulance service has traditionally been a trade based role, moving over recent years into a degree based health profession.  A normal part of the ambulance service when I joined was on the job apprenticeship type training and mentoring, in addition to short didactic classroom training, assignments and reflective case studies.  It was also normal to mentor more junior ambulance officers as you gained experience, so teaching and education was a part of the role even if there was no formally training in how to do this.  As I progressed in the army and completed my Junior NCO course, I learned to give very structured instructional lessons, broadly divided into mental skills instructions, or physical skill instructions.  Although these were very good at breaking down complex skills into simple steps, it was completely instructor centred.

Things started to change for me from an educational perspective after I signed up to Twitter at the end of 2012.  I came across physicians, nurses, and paramedics who were sharing perspectives and content on clinical topics.  A few months before I signed up to Twitter an Emergency Physician Mike Cadogan from Western Australia had coined the term ‘FOAM’ (Free Open Access Medical Education) to refer to the collection of evolving, collaborative and interactive online resources that had been available for many years and were growing in influence.  From this collection of resources has emerged an ethos and community of online educators who are passionate about sharing clinical education resources for the benefit of patients in both a contextual and asynchronous format to augment traditional education formats, connected through the hashtags #FOAM and #FOAMed (Nickson & Cadogan, 2014).

FOAMed

I found Twitter a useful tool for my own learning, giving me a network of health professionals and educators that formed a virtual learning network for me, and connecting me to a wide range of educational resources that were available in the form of blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and more (Gottlieb, Chan, Sherbino, Yarris, & Wagner, 2017).  As I worked to complete my Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science I found I was learning just as much, if not more through these alternative asynchronous resources.  Social Media and evidence base academia appear as a contradiction to many health professionals, but there are now many clinicians and educators who are reconciling the use of social media with medical education (Gottlieb et al., 2017; Roland & Brazil, 2015)

As I start my first year teaching as a university lecturer, I am interested in how I can transform the pre-existing PowerPoint heavy content I have inherited.  I would like to deliver it in a way that embraces the mobile devices and social medial platforms that my students use every day, to make their learning a more interactive, social, and asynchronous process.  CMALT cMOOC is forcing me to think more deeply about educational learning theories and my own pedagogy, which is something I haven’t done before, and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me.


References:

Gottlieb, M., Chan, T. M., Sherbino, J., Yarris, L., & Wagner, J. (2017). Multiple Wins: Embracing Technology to Increase Efficiency and Maximize Efforts. AEM Education and Training, 1(3), 185-190. doi:10.1002/aet2.10029

Nickson, C. P., & Cadogan, M. (2014). Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) for the emergency physician. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 26(1), 76-83. doi:doi:10.1111/1742-6723.12191

Roland, R., & Brazil, V. (2015). Top 10 ways to reconcile social media and ‘traditional’ education in emergency care. Emergency Medicine Journal, 0, 1-4. doi:10.1136/emermed-201520502410.1136/emermed-2015-205024


 

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