Thursday, September 13, 2012

Patient-Family Support Websites: A wonderful Idea!

CaringBridge horizontal logo version thumbnail 

I recently learned about patient-family support websites such as following the unexpected and heartbreaking hospitalization of a family friend that has become protracted. I have witnessed as a nurse and with friends how prolonged hospitalizations can cripple a family financially. Communicating information to anyone connected to the patient adds additional stress to family members closest to the situation. Patient-family support websites make an excellent alternative for the endeavor of informing family and loved ones of the patient's condition. In popular social media sites, posted announcements about the patient can be easily lost in the rapid stream of information. Privacy may also be a concern.

On “caring sites,” Patient stories can be shared by the family in a private setting. Caring Bridge offers, a personal, protected online space where one can post health updates and keep friends and family informed. On my friend’s account, journal entries made by the family keep me informed of his current status. Friends and family can also enter messages in the “Guest Book” that is also found on the personal site. In general, messages are a source of support, encouragement, prayers, and hope.

Imagine a head of a household or a self-supporting individual who is unexpectedly hospitalized. Consider if the hospital is not nearby or the family members are from out of state. Commuting, childcare, meals, and lodging expenses add up quickly, while household bills must still be paid on time. Raising money helps in this situation but there are very few people I know who are experienced in fund-raising or setting up a web site to accomplish this task.  Patient-family support websites can also serve as central area that can link to donation accounts specifically set up for the patient.

The Caring Bridge is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity. The individual sites are made possible at no cost through donations.  See the video below for more information on CaringBridge.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Twitter 2012 Basics for Nurses

Have you ever thought of joining Twitter? Below are three videos on getting started in Twitter from setting up an account to engaging in a chat.

Setting up an Account:

Overview of Twitter Terminology:

Chatting on Twitter:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Big Marker Video Conferencing for Nursing Education

Last June I searched web-conferencing sites for my STTI Region Coordinator and I came upon the site. is a videoconferencing site where the user can collaborate with others and provide community hosting. The application is cloud-based so users do not have to download software or install updates. What intrigued me was what the site offered for FREE and/or low cost. A free membership offers unlimited public video conferencing with up to 50 person Conference Rooms | 3 Hosts to start + 1 for every 50 members, unlimited members in your community, 8GB file storage, discussion boards, and a community calendar. Click Here to see the other pricing options that range from $9-$99 for their “Pro Communities.” The major difference between Pro Community from the Free Community membership is that one can offer both public and private conferences in addition to other amenities.
For those of you familiar with on 6/22/12 the site revealed new updates to the site including a conference room with the following features: easier navigation in the conference room, an optimized audio system, microphone optional, able to listen in via android mobile devices, and more.
View the "How to Use" YouTube video below to see how their conference room works:

I decided the best way to try the site was to host a webinar by creating a free community membership. I found setting up a conference easy to accomplish.
The feedback I received from participants related to the platform was positive. One participant reported some feedback with the audio on her end. I was using a headset to deliver the presentation.  I did report this issue to Big Marker Support. I was informed that the conference room was meant to work without a headset. I am planning to give another short webinar on the Big Marker site, September 26, at 7:00 PM ET on Success Tips for Nurses Considering Online College. This time I will not use a headset and hopefully the audio reception will be improved!
While experimenting with the site I found that I was able to open and use this application in the hospital setting which I found to be a pleasant surprise considering the firewall and video blockers. The low price for private video conferencing makes this an attractive offer and application for hospital and system-wide group projects.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Online Binders in the Hospital Setting

Last weekend as the snow fell in New York, I had the good fortune of stumbling upon a presentation on “LiveBinders” that was streaming live from the “TeachMeetGA 2012” conference. Steven W. Anderson also known as @web20classroom gave a presentation that provided excellent information on this application. If you have an opportunity visit his blog for good information and tips!
The website describes “LiveBinders” as a “three ring binder for the web.” By creating a "Live Binder", one can collect and organize resources found on the web including PDFs and videos. This is a terrific site to use for compiling information on any topic into a small neat online binder. According to the site and individual can upload any file up to 5 MB with a total storage of 100 MB. Current subscriptions are free!
LiveBinders offers video tutorials that clearly explain how to use the site. Click here for a brief video overview of LiveBinders. I found this application easy use and fairly intuitive. Some considerations for using this site in the hospital setting:
  • Use websites that the hospital has already approved for a bypass proxy. This will simplify access to pages by staff who may or may not have internet access
  • Request a bypass proxy in writing for hospital-blocked sites and provide the rationale for access (Example: Educational YouTube videos)
  • Use the embedding codes to have the binder appear on the website
  • Organize binders for almost any topic including patient education, hospital safety, new initiatives, staff education, practice updates, and more!
  • Use the Edit button to access the different page layouts 
  • Binders can be easily updated by adding/changing URLs to existing or new tabs
Below is a LiveBinder that I quickly put together on Patient Safety Information.