Organic feeling

Everything has come to an end… After participating in the course “Cultural awareness in health and social research”, I would hereby like to declare myself as being cultural aware! This course have for sure given me whole new perspectives. It doesn’t make sense, but the new perspectives and the feeling I have about it is hard to explain. The feeling is in a deeper dimension, it almost feels “organic”. Nevertheless, I love the course design since it has impelled me to experience cultural differences AND to overcome them.

I think that we in struggle a bit with how to team up and work effectively together. I also think that we manage to overcome our differences and that we mastered the challenges when it came to connecting and collaborating. We succeeded to discuss and to exchange cultural experiences. Very rewarding and it was definitely worth the effort! Being part of this course have been like sweet music in my ears…

You know when you here a song and you keep playing it on repeat again and again. That’s how it been for me since I woke up this morning and heard charming Mason Ramsey sing “Famous”. It’s of course a love song and he sings that he wants to be famous for loving his girl. During my morning walk, that made me think of – what if I was famous… What would it be for? I wish that if I’m gonna be famous for something, I wanna be famous for being frank, fearless and loving. My ambition is to be accepting, curious and respectful towards my fellow human beings, in the spirit of being cultural competent.

After dwelling around in this creative social media forum (where I’m pretty confident) I now have to step up and challenge myself. Guess I have to become more serious and dig into the scientific aspect of this topic and deepen my knowledge about how this will affect my research plan. For this purpose, my assessment paper comes in handy.

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com

 

Not even close baby

Right now, as a PhD student, I´m a participant in a course named “Cultural awareness in health and social research”. This course is a great collaboration between La Trobe University (Australia), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) and Malmö University (Sweden). We have meet once in a Zoom meting. At this webinar we presented us for each other and one of the instructor held a short opening introduction to the topic “cultural awareness”. As a common digital space our competent instructors have made us a Facebook group were we have been asked to post our personal reflections after this first webinar.

I guess we are all products of our experiences… I´ve participated in the ONL course and that have of course made me to who I am today 😉 No, but really… The experiences I had in this ONL course goes beyond oral explanations. The more I think of it… it has helped me and shaped me and my digital literacies in an amazing way (both personal and professional).

So, back to the course about cultural awareness. I was surprised by reading the other participants reflection since most of them dealt with the idea of coming together and interact with fellows worldwide. I am trained in the spirit of ONL and started with great joy to comment the other participant reflections, eager to discuss cultural awareness. I got an answer to all of my comments but then… nothing happened… ABSOLUTELY nothing! Until this day, no one else have made a comment and the Facebook group is a “dead” place for posting reflections and there is zero interaction.

We are a total of 18 participant and we have been divided into three smaller groups. And here comes trouble again… I find it extremely hard to get a group discussion going and a productive atmosphere to appear. It´s not that it is hostile, absolutely not, it just isn´t… it is nothing, as I said, lack of activity. Some of my dear group fellows don´t even return with answers about suggested times to meet. Some of it has probably to do with absent motivation but I am quite sure it also has something to do with digital literacies.

Lastly, I am utterly thankful for the time I spent in the ONL community! And you know what…? Today, I´ve been accepted into another Facebook group – the ONL alumni 🙂

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com

Cultural awareness

Last autumn I started as a PhD student and I had absolutely no clue of what to expect and do. At the moment I believe that I have adopted to my new role a little bit better.

I´ve just started as a participant in a PhD course called “Cultural awareness in health and social research”. It´s a course that is held as a collaboration between three universities; La Trobe University (Australia), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) and Malmö University (Sweden).

Me as a PhD student are supposed to broaden and deepen my understanding of cultural awareness in order to critically appraise research and the research process in health and social sciences. I have participated in the first webinar and really… I can feel it in my bones, this course is a real eye opener for me! In this blog post I will share my reflections so fare.

The diversity is broad and profound, right? The globalisation gives us diversity everywhere in the population and in the society. It´s all over, among nursing students, PhD candidates, professors and of course our patients and study participants/informants.

As I was reading about cross-cultural communication, I came to think about my clinical experiences. When I work as a clinical nurse it often happens that I meet patients from other countries and cultures. If the patient is ill (I mean really sick) they seem to experience insecurity and anxiety in a Swedish hospital care system they don´t know how to orient in. If, luckily, a healthcare professional from their own culture, speaking their own language comes and interact with them, the patient usually calms down and express comfort and peace. I believe that when we are “fragile”, the culture that we are familiar with is most important. A unit with a diversity of healthcare professionals is a strong cultural competent workplace and have prerequisites for individual and unique communication and interaction.

To be honest, I still struggle a bit with the meaning of cultural awareness. That´s probably because, until now, I have been unaware and,  I do have to enhance my knowledge regarding the concept cultural competence and the different “subcategories” of it. According to Hadziabdic et al. (2016) cultural awareness is about being aware that a person’s cultural background affects the person’s behaviours and attitudes. Furthermore, cultural awareness is described as an affective dimension and the lowest level of cultural competence (Rew et al., 2003). As I see it, this course is my first steps towards becoming more aware of culture and how it affects me and my fellows. But, actually, I wonder why we choose to focus on cultural awareness and no on the overall ultimate cultural competence. I´m very curious to learn more about this topic and how it will affect my studies. Looking forward to the future of this course and the interaction with all of you!

References
Hadziabdic et al. (2016) Swedish version of measuring cultural awareness in nursing students: validity and reliability test. BMC Nursing, 15(25), 1-9.

Rew et al. (2003) Measuring cultural awareness in nursing students. Journal of Nursing Education, 42(6), 249-257.

Photo: www.pixabay.com (CC0 1.0)

Grounded scholar

Right now, there is too much focus on myself when I am teaching. I want to make a change!

After participating in a workshop held by The Centre for Teaching and Learning at Malmö University (about student-centeredness) I made a promise to myself and now it is time for me to embody it. Stop the talking and start making it into a real shape. I want to model with clay and I want to create digital visualizations of “real life” patient scenarios.

Two things inspire me. First, I participated in yet another workshop held by The Centre for Teaching and Learning at Malmö University, this time on the topic storytelling. Secondly, at a rhetoric lecture some years ago, I learned that what we remember from a lecture is the stories that are told and I do believe that is a truth!

Usually, when I lecture in acid-base balance I tell the students a story about when I was working in Copenhagen at a Thoracic Intensive care unit and we used a medicine called Diamox (which is an example of a specific carbonic anhydrase inhibitors who slow the acid-bace balance down). My other “story” is when the football player Henke Larsson broke his leg in 2006 (which is an example of acid-bace disorder, putative respiratory alkalosis). Thinking of it, this is NOT the stories I want my students to remember!

I want them to remember stories about different patients’ symptoms and treatments. I want them to remember how the amazing human body compensate for the disorders and I want them to remember how they as nurses’ can prevent the acid-bace disorder to happen. I want them to remember “real” patients!

My idea builds upon enhancing student-centeredness since I will give them the patients´ stories and I want them (the students) to give the answers. By recording stories and edit, those into short movies (eBites) I hope to keep the students interest and attention. After watching an “eBite” I will encourage the students to discuss with each other about for example the patient’s symptoms and suggested treatment. I would like the student to have different stories to discuss and at the end of the lecture present their discussions and answers for one another.

In conclusion, I want to enhance student-centeredness by using storytelling.

This spring I got an excellent offer to participate in a “Grounded scholar” at Malmö University. The grounded scholar will be an ongoing activity during 2017/2018 containing of,

  • Six whole day seminar sessions
  • Identification of outcomes and outputs (e.g. conference papers, learning and teaching materials etc.)
  • Tutorial support
  • Discussion based seminars
  • Dissemination conference/publication
  • Explore the concept of the ‘blended HE professional
  • In-seminar time to develop scholarly outputs

I am super excited and tomorrow I will present this idea about storytelling for my colleagues. Let me get back to you regarding the process of this project.

Photo: Pixabay

Digital Communities

According to the title of this blog post it will be about digital communities but first of all I have to tell that my ambition was to spice this up with a beautiful picture from the magnificent drama Outlander. The novel series which is written by the splendid author Diana Gabaldon and superior filmed by Starz about the strong and independent nurse Claire and her Scottish warrior Jamie. I´ve been searching the internet with the intention to find an official free photo of the popular TV show without any luck. All images that I found are under restrictions, terms of use and privacy policy. After years, I finally learnt, to only use images free to use, preferably, under a creative common license. There are a numerous sites (or should I say communities?) providing free images under Creative Commons licenses, largest of course are Flickr and Pixabay not fare behind. I´ve also found some smaller sights, Knykkenilluku and Fotoakuten (both in Swedish). Anyway, back to the community business. For all of us who´s in love with the story Outlander (we´re called #Droughtlander – desperately waiting for season 3 to air in September 2017) there are a lot of communities to take part of. Some of them are welcoming while others are the opposite. Henceforth, while describing communities, I’m talking about communities which are opened and friendly. Communities where you break down walls (not like the Inverness Castle´s strong walls, built for defense) and share your knowledge with peers and fellows.

Northern_Constabulary_Pipe_Band_Drum_Majors_by_Dave Connor
Northern Constabulary Pipe Band – Drum Majors (Present, Future and Past) by Dave Conner (CC BY 2.0)
In accordance with Vygotski´s belief, learning occurs in human interactions which is embedded in social context. In Vygotski´s sociocultural learning theory he acknowledge the individual learning and development dependent on collaboration with (sometimes more capable) peers and in relationship with others. Bandura, one of the main social learning theorist, claims that individuals learn behavioral patterns from each other through observation and imitation. Those observed response patterns have an inhibitory or dis-inhibitory effect on the learner who decides whether the observed response patterns are worth imitating. Thus, the individual decides whether or not the learning leads to a change in behavior (Jarvis, 2010). Considering this, it is of great importance that the community has a lack of pessimistic culture or toxic atmosphere since observing and imitating such behaviors and beliefs ought to be negative for the participant/learner. A community spirit is a reflection of its mind and soul and I believe that dedicated communities needs a leadership with emphasis on equality, engagement and contribution. Even with strong basic values such as, NOT allow bullying for example.

Cove_habour_by_Nell_Roger_CCBY_NC_ND2.0
Cove harbour by Neil Roger (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The phenomenon, Community of Practice origins from the sociocultural learning theory and is developed and described by Lave and Wenger (1999). The theory is based upon several assumptions, where among other things, knowledge is dependent on collaboration. The knowledge is described to be embedded and integrated into social relationships and communities. A key factor, in a community where the participants have a shared interest and passion for something, is the commitment and the desire to interact regularly. Social media can be used as a facilitator for this communication. By participating in the Open Networked Learning  I´d experienced how it is to be a part of a great community where we collaborated and shared our precious ideas with each other. Still is by the way!

SArah_on_the_ben_Aan_summit_By_Marc_CCBY_NC_ND2.0
Cornerstone Peak! by Marc (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sam Heughan is one of the leading star in the filmed version of my favorite story Outlander. He has founded a community named “My peak challenge“, which is a great example of how a supportive and encouraging community can be build. The peak challenge is about making positive changes in life, to simply live healthier, happier and more balanced. The challenge could be either physical or creative – you decide and make a promise to yourself. The physical part comes quite natural for me since I´ve regularly been exercising for years… Guess I´m addicted to the endorphin. If I should make a promise to myself and become a peaker, I think my challenge would be of another kind. It would be to build a friendly and enhancing community with my students and fellow colleagues on the exciting topic Acid-Base Balance.

To summarize, I say – YES to Community of Practice – Je Suis Prest (I am ready)!

References
Jarvis P (2010) Adult education and lifelong learning. Theory and practice. (4th ed.) London & New York, Routledge.

Lave J, Wenger E (1999) Learning and pedagogy. I  Leach J, Moon B (red.) Learning and pedagogy. London, Paul Chapman.

Photo: Inverness Castle Scotland by Dave Connor (CC BY 2.0)

Accessible sharing

We´re all familiar with the expression “sharing is caring” but what if what you share is not great? Imagine if not everyone can use and receive what you share. That is not good care! Is that a problem or not? Until now I have thought that good is enough but now I realise that good is not always enough anymore. This week I have undergone an eye opening process where I´ve starting to be aware of that I have a big responsibility to make my sharing accessible to everyone. It´s a pity that I haven´t become conscious of it till now but better late then never, right?

When you sit in a wheelchair it´s kind of obvious that you’re in need of some accessibility to be able to move around at for example pavements. In the digital world your requirements are not always that clear. For those in need, I know that there is a lot of “aid-tools” which enable accessibility but for me, the big question is… – Where do my trustworthiness begin?

When David Wiley is talking about sharing he says that we have to overcome the inner 2 year old in us. We have to stop thinking… -Mine, mine, it´s mine!!! We have to act against a culture of withholding and instead he argues for giving, generousness and openness in education. So, I guess that I´m an adolescence when it comes to sharing. I love to share, if someone think it´s good enough for them to use I gladly share it with them. No problem at all! It´s almost like a recognition for my ego (as the self-centred youth I am) if someone asks if it´s OK to use some of my teaching material. Feel free!

Now, one of my next goal is to enter the adulthood (after all I´m 46 years old). This is of cause going to be a process but I´m good at focusing when I´m motivated so I believe I can cross the finishing line before the end of 2017. I have to make all my prerecorded content accessible for everyone. The main thing that I have to learn (and then do) is to add subtitles to my lectures. I also have to think of colors in some slides. Are there other things I have to consider?

Reference
Wiley, David (2010) Open education and the future TED-talk.

Photo: Awesome and beautiful Linnea Blomberg by Karen Blomberg.

Increased opportunities

I sense increased opportunities by participating in this iteration of the ONL course. So what´s the secret to sucking me in to engage once again? Opportunities to interact and engage in this amazing community of fabulous, creative and knowledgeable people. Yesterday, when I was casually looking into our Goggle+ community I got inspired by Anita Berlin. She´s made a great post about digital literacies and ended it with a hilarious clip from the Ellen DeGeneres show with title “You posted that on Facebook?“. Ellen is showing pictures from some of the audience Facebook timelines and… oh my goodness – what did they thought of when they published some of the photos? The photos were (I believe) intended for personal amusement but obviously easy to find for those who wanted to. So we really have to think of what we upload to this thing called internet and we need to reflect of how we want to be perceived.

I try to keep my digital identity clean and sober. I do have a weakness for guinea pigs and that has resulted in their own Instagram but apart from that, I don´t think I have any skeleton in the cupboard…

David White (2014) is talking about our motivation to engage and that we have different modes that we use depending of the context we´re in. When we´re in visitor mode, we don’t leave any trace of our-self online, comparing to the residents mode, where we choose to be present with other people.

Last year I started this blog (in residents mode) and I felt then, and still does, that it is scary to write “in public” like this. I see this blog posting, as a challenge and it is a part of a plan for my professional development as a lecturer. I want to reflect, to write down my thoughts and get comments from wise colleagues and by that process and interaction grow and enhance my digital literacies.

References
David White: Visitors and residents (part 1)
David White: Visitors and residents – Credibility (part 2)

Photo: Damn…again by Lisa Brown (CC BY-NC 2.0)

New sensation

First of all I have to clarify that I´m alright, I´m actually fine. And with that statement I also would like to add a new sudden feeling of loneliness. One year ago I participated in the ONL161 together with Nour, Marc, Åsa, Jennifer and Alastair. Some weeks the struggle was real, especially when it came to find time for the studies. When completing the course I felt like I was on top of the world. I had a feeling of achievement, that I had accomplished something. Last term I was a co-facilitator in the ONL162. This term I am… nothing…

I´m the only one at my department that have participated in the ONL course. To be honest, I have a lack of companions and friendlessness at my department. No one to share the experience of ONL with. In order to take away this feeling, I guess I have a need for new strategies to keep in touch with my personal learning network. As a first step I have decided to be an open learner in the ONL171!

Photo: Loneliness by Paul (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

PhD application

For me, the eagerness and excitement for skiing has no boundaries, so instead of writing on my PhD application I went to Val d´Isère in France for a week with two of my best girlfriends. The enthusiasm I feel for this white perfect winter landscape goes beyond the joy I normal experience for things that I like to do or participate in. To slide down a smooth slop and be one with nature is a true blessing.

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Now, I´m back here (in front of the computer) trying to describe my research ambitions, full of energy and longings for next years skiing adventure.

So, what I want to do is learn more about how to prepare nursing students and/or registered nurses before participating in a scenario- or practical skill training. I would like to prepare them for their training in a digital environment using collaborative learning. I believe (or the hypothesis is) that the learning is increased by this approach.

I am aware of the expression “social loafing” and I do understand that this is a dilemma when working together in groups. Sometimes individuals tend to regress in their responsibility and engagement thus they believe that their effort is less important for the group. Nothing could be more wrong. The diversity emerge if everyone contributing with their knowledge, skills and attitude!

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Photo: Juicyrai by The CCA(C) experience (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Isn’t it a common responsibility we all have to each other as human being? To be willing to engage and to participate aiming to do things better?

Isn’t the real challenge for educators and teachers to get the group going? To encourage the groups team-working skills and to facilitate the different learning activities?

According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (2016) one of the most important skill required by employees is the ability to work in teams. The Swedish Society of Nursing and The Swedish Society of Medicine (2013) agrees with this view as they a few years ago made a common cause to highlight the importance of teamwork for health care professionals.

Let´s defiance the challenges of mastering work in teams and look ahead to the future were we´re dependent by one another to reach common goals, just like the highlanders tug-of-war. Individuals are not strong when we stand alone. Let’s work together and collaborate!

References
Svensk sjuksköterskeförening (2013) Teamarbete och förbättringskunskap. In Swedish.
Association of Graduate Recruiters (2016) Skills for Graduates in the 21st Century

Photo on top: Highland Regiments Tug-of-War by Jamie McCaffrey (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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