Prompting nursing students to study using Twitter

To help their students prepare for end-of-course exams followed by board certification exams, faculty in a nurse-midwifery course used Twitter to help their students study and prepare all semester long. The faculty set up an account, @MidwifeSnackLearning, and required all students in the course to subscribe to it. Faculty then posted “brief questions or challenging statements” every 3-7 days, which students could receive as texts on their phones, or view via the Twitter page.


Students were expected to read these posts and know the answers right away. If not, they were expected to find and learn the answers themselves, verifying their findings with classmates. Answers were not posted by student or faculty. Examples of the tweeted study questions include:

  • How do infections change your AP, IP, NB management? HSV, HIV, Chlamydia, Hep B
  • What are your differentials for first trimester bleeding? Second trimester? What tests would perform and/or order?
  • What is the recommended pregnancy weight gain for a woman with a BMI of 22? Of 30?

Response to the tweeted study prompts was positive across-the-board, with one student suggesting they be sent more often. Nudging students in this way to study during the semester required little faculty time. And all students in this cohort passed the American Midwifery Certification Board examination on the first try!


Phillippi, J. C., & Buxton, M. (2014). Twitter() as a study prompt: engaging adult learners on the go. Journal of Nursing Education 53(6), 363. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20140521-11

One view of the future of medicine

A nursing colleague shared this video link with me. It’s about 10 minutes long, and is about a cardiologist who foresees mobile technology allowing patients to access medical care remotely.

At first blush, I would agree that this would save our system a lot of money and time. Patients could talk with their doctors from the comfort of their homes, and not have to fight inclement weather. This would be especially helpful for homebound seniors and others like them.

But this assumes all patients are able to afford, and tech-savvy enough to use mobile technology. With a shrinking middle-class, this is not so certain. I’ve written previously about how the esteem we hold doctors in can prevent patients from speaking up in appointments. If we put a device between patients and physicians, will that make it harder or easier for patients to speak up and ask questions when needed? As for me, I will work with such tech changes as needed, but I much prefer live, in-person interactions with the people I seek medical care from.

If we are going to put such technological “improvements” in place, all of us — patients, caregivers and healthcare providers — must insist that the savings be used to hire more nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals. Too many places in our country have too little or no access to healthcare, and people are suffering the consequences.

“Appy Hour”: tips & tricks for nursing and health-related mobile applications

A few weeks ago, a nursing colleague and I gave a one-hour “brownbag” presentation on mobile software applications (“apps”) for the iPad. Below is the video recording of that event.

Do you have a favorite nursing-related mobile app? Would you like to see more such events? Leave a comment or email me.

The power of language

Taking a moment to diverge from the regular flow of topics on this blog, I want to talk about the power of language and words. Language has great power, including the awesome power to contextualize challenges that face us. Continue reading

How mobile phones are tackling poverty

After writing numerous posts challenging those who develop and use technology, I was delighted to find this infographic showing all the ways it is happening. Click on the image to see it full size. Thanks to Upworthy for the info.

infographic showing how mobile phones can be used to fight poverty