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First, I utilize these tools to access course materials, participate in online discussions about course materials, remind my peers to attend tutorials and complete assignments in time, and even share online resources relevant to the coursework. For example, I accessed the reading material assigned in week 7 Seminar (Lior Frenkel’s video) on YouTube. I downloaded this material on my smartphone and reviewed it later when doing my portfolio project. I also searched for videos explaining how to set up my Mahara e-Portfolio. Monitoring and assessing how to draw my pages on the e-portfolio is an essential skill to me as a nursing student because it establishes an integral part of how nurses develop their clinical reasoning and judgment skills in practice (Merk et al 2012). In addition to the practical and technical aspects of this technology run by the faculty Learning Technology team and peers who attended the two-week workshops, i searched YouTube to locate relevant videos which could help me revise how to construct and upload resources onto my, how to draw my portfolio pages together as a collection, and how to submit my portfolio after completing it. These videos proved useful whenever I got stuck performing these tasks. Also, I explore YouTube for videos on appropriate and inappropriate social media use in the nursing profession on the same site which I found informative during the portfolio assignment.
Second, I leverage these sites to communicate directly with my fellow students. I have found the high interactivity and immediacy inherent in typical social media interactions appropriate for class-related online interactions. I utilize Facebook and blogging sites to initiate and participate in online discussion forums and to supplement cognitive and affective learning during class lectures (Bowman and Akcaoglu 2014). These tools can facilitate collaboration in learning which is integral to student engagement and learning (Lepp, Barkley, and Karpinski 2014). Social media mediated collaboration can “mitigate the problems traditionally facing online learners, such as isolation and lack of support while contributing to a positive learning experience” (Veletsianos and Navarrete 2012). By simply commenting on other users’ posts and subscribing to threads on the social network, I can now contribute to this sense of community and interaction to encourage my peers to engage with others, while ensuring my presence is still strongly felt.
Third, I have learned how to use social networking sites more judiciously to capitalize on my digital footprint. Social media presents an excellent platform through which practicing nurses and nursing students can establish or access support networks required to share and talk about specific issues, interests, research findings, and clinical experiences through these platforms (NMC 2015). As a result of undertaking the eSmart learning package, I have recognized the value of building and maintaining professional relationships on social media. At their very core, social media networking sites are about connecting with a community (Tower, Latimer, and Hewitt 2014). These tools have helped me not only eliminate geographical barriers from friendships, peers students, and academics staff but also let me find an online community of nursing professionals who can help me grow both as a person and a nurse. While keeping HIPAA in mind, I recently joined the Travel Nurse Network (The Gypsy Nurse) and the Nurseup.com Facebook groups to enhance my professional networks and opportunities. These Facebook communities are public and designed primarily for professional educating, empowering and networking with nurses and other healthcare professionals from all over the world (Tower, Latimer, and Hewitt 2014). Through these social media groups, I can access nurses in specialties areas I am interested in, have an experience of practical issues faced in the nursing profession, and get advice from experts on handling difficult job situations (Ryan 2017).
Also, I am always updated on the important news on the current state of nursing, advances in nursing care, and evidenced practices in the field (Ryan 2017). Alternatively, I can log in onto these sites to just laugh at intriguing nursing memes and jokes. When I have a bad day after work I have often been playing with my kids, taking a hot shower or running along the street to relieve stress. But I have also found browsing Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blogs and other social networking sites for funny pictures and reading article that have been posted by other users to be a more fulfilling way to have fun, relieve stress and solicit motivation and professional support.
Another area I have made tremendous improvement concerns how I now use social media more appropriately. Lior Frenkel’s TED presentation on our relationship with the smartphone and the NMC (2015) guidance on social media use coupled by refined searches for news stories where healthcare practitioners have acted unprofessionally when using social media exposed me to the legal and professional consequences of using these tools. This course incorporates relevant and informative content that helped me understand the potential benefits and risks that come along with the use of social networking sites not only my personal life but also the nursing profession. Before this course, I was very oblivious to situations in which health care providers can act unprofessionally when handling their social media sites.
However, I have developed an in-depth understanding of how to use these tools in a lawful, ethical, and professional manner. Most importantly, I demonstrate respect and professionalism towards all people I interact with on the social network by respecting their right to privacy and confidentiality. For example, I cannot share the confidential information of another person inappropriately. I cannot capture incidences of an individual receiving care and post it on social media without their consent. I always avoid making inappropriate remarks about people and patients on the media. I always discourage myself and others from perpetuating violence, hatred, discrimination, or exploitation on social media. According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2015), all these cases amount to unlawful and unprofessional use of social media particularly within the provisions of the HIPAA Act. I have realized that disclosing a person’s confidential information online can cause a devastating impact on the person compared to sharing it verbally (NMC 2015). Information posted on social media platforms spread at an alarming speed and across a wider coverage (NMC 2015). Reflecting on these strategies helps to understand how to avoid them in practice (Jasper, Koubel, Rolfe, and Elliott 2006). Today, I understand that using information anonymously some can still be traced to the owner, thereby breaching a patient or individual’s rights to confidentiality.
Additionally, Seminar 7 and 8, especially Lior Frenkel’s YouTube Video helped me decipher how my dependence on my smartphone previously predisposed to these unlawful and unprofessional practices. These readings have allowed me to recognize how to use smartphones appropriately during my class activities in order to avoid unnecessary distractions which are negatively related to classroom learning (Ravizza, Hambrick, and Fenn 2014). For example, I switch my phone to the silent mode when in class or other contexts that call for adequate concentration (Gupta and Irwin 2016). I also avoid texting in class to ensure unparalleled focus on the instruction and learning experience (Dietz and Henrich 2014).
In conclusion, this course has equipped with a number of strategies I seek to utilize to use social network sites in a lawful and professional manner. I intend to continually develop this skill by attending more seminars and exploring online sources to find relevant content on emerging best practices and new laws and regulations on social media use in the nursing profession. I will also find time to discuss these issues with my peers and faculty.
Bowman, N. and Akcaoglu, M. 2014. “I see smart people!”: Using Facebook to supplement cognitive and affective learning in the university mass lecture. Internet and Higher Education. 23: 1-8
Dietz, S. and Henrich, C. 2014. Texting as a distraction to learning in college students. Computers in Human Behaviour. 36: 163- 167.
Gupta, N. and Irwin, J. 2016. In-class distractions: the role of Facebook and the primary learning task. Computers in Human Behaviour. 55: 1165-1178.
Jasper, M. Koubel, G. Rolfe, G. & Elliott, P. 2006. Professional development, reflection and decision-making [e-book]. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lepp, A. Barkley, J. and Karpinski, A. 2014. The relationship between cell phone use, academic performance, anxiety, and satisfaction with life in college students. Computers in Human Behaviour. 31: 343- 350.
Nursing & Midwifery Council. 2015. Guidance on using social media responsibly.
Ravizza, S. Hambrick, D. and Fenn, K. 2014. Non-academic internet use in the classroom is negatively related to classroom learning regardless of intellectual ability. Computers and Education. 78: 109-114.
Ryan, G.S., 2017. What do nurses do in professional Facebook groups and how can we explain their behaviours?.
Tower, M. Latimer, S. and Hewitt, J. 2014. Social networking as a learning tool: Nursing students’ perception of efficacy. Nurse Education Today. 34: 1012-1017.
Veletsianos, G. & Navarrete, C.C. 2012. Online Social Networks as Formal Learning Environments: Learner Experiences and Activities. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. 13(1).
This material is a screenshot of eSmart learning package – an online training package which has been designed to provide guidance on appropriate use of the Internet and Social Media. The screenshot captures the dark side of the Internet. Going through this resource demonstrates how I have developed responsible use of the Internet and Social Media.
Academic Resilience Skills
Throughout this course, I have enhanced my motivation and ability to overcome the myriad challenges I faced especially in striking a proper balance between my personal and academic life. McAllister and McKinnon (2009) and Stephens (2013) have illuminated the importance of resilience in nursing students and practicing nurses by pointing out that these nurses and students not only play demanding roles but also work in chaotic environments that expose them to higher academic stress, death and dying, communicable diseases and diverse lifestyles. In their integrative review, Thomas and Hunter-Revell (2016) assert that resilience is an important skill for nursing students. Before delving into this section, it is imperative to note that I have faced a number of serious adversities that have negatively impacted my academic resilience - the ability to overcome adversity and include how one learns to grow stronger from the experience (McAllister and McKinnon 2009).
Balancing school and family responsibilities are perhaps the most daunting task I have always find challenging to manage. Having a 19 months old child and managing workload required at school, juggling has never been easy. On top of that, I got less support from my family, peers and even faculty than I would have liked. These challenges were compounded by disappointing academic results, particularly in my clinical skills assignment. Receiving poor grades and negative feedback elicited emotional reactions adversely affected my ability to reflect on my academic potential more accurately. These effects are consistent with recent research findings associating lack of or poor academic achievement to negative feedback and poor grades (Plakht, Shiyovich, Nusbaum, and raiser 2013; Agius and Wilkinson 2014).
Despite all these setbacks and obstacles, learning how to deal with these issues in a positive and professional way has helped me bounce back to and hold up well under non-stop pressure. I have improved my time and organizational management skills which have helped me find a proper balance in my daily life and completing my courses asynchronously. Good time management and organizational skills to be critical to not only remaining focused and motivated in an online environment but also my preparedness with time and schedule organization (Cyril 2015). Taking a look at a 24-hour block of my daily schedule to get a mental picture of how a spend my day has been a big eye-opener as I can now “see” and reflect on where I have been wasting time during the day. For example, I realized that I waste a lot of time on social media. I have embarked on fighting the menace of academic procrastination which has been established to be a predictor of poor academic achievement (Balkis 2013). To achieve this goal, I ensure proper transition from the daily internet and social media use to navigate my courses which are partly communicated online.
Moreover, I am able to develop a block of time dedicated to class activities throughout the week. I always set aside a block of time for study when I am most alert, fresh and have a minimal distraction. In addition to the blocked study, I create “to-do” list to prioritize tasks with defined deadlines. The list details both .g. school work and personal responsibilities that I am expected to accomplish to the whole week. I also create specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely and challenging goals with strict deadlines. Proper planning and scheduling of my personal tasks and academic work have not only enhanced control over what I am supposed to accomplish with the set deadlines (Gordan and Borkan 2014). I can further avoid the stress associated with accumulated workload (Häfner, Stock, and Oberst 2015). Today, I can submit my assignment on time thanks to the time management and organizational skills I have developed over the course period.
Furthermore, I seek support and empowerment necessary to cope with the adversaries in my personal and college life. I maintain good friendships and loving relationships with my family, friends, peers, and faculty to get the support I require to be a resilient nursing student. Talking with and receiving constructive feedback from my family, fellow students and even academic staff team diminish the impact of stress resulting from academic workload besides improving my self-worth and self-confidence more than ever before (Hirsch et al. 2015). Besides that, I also use the Internet and social media to locate stories about experiences parents with small kids face and strategies they employ to remain resilient in school. For example, I often visit Facebook groups such as the Travel Nurse Network as they provide educational messages from healthcare professionals that help me stay motivated and focused on my personal and professional commitments.
In summary, I have enhanced my ability to bounce back setbacks from my personal, academic and professional life and most importantly hold up well under non-stop pressure. I constantly learn from and easily adapt to new or unexpected experiences. I am now very mentally and emotionally flexible, more self-confident and express my feelings honestly. I look forward to exploring diverse resilience training courses and programs on campus and online in order to learn new ways to gain even better resilience in my education life and clinical practice. The internet provides excellent academic skills resources, learning support services and stories on academic resilience in nursing students and practitioners which I intend to explore further to sharp this critical skill.
Agius, N. and Wilkinosn, A. 2014. Students’ and teachers’ views of written feedback at undergraduate level: A literature review. Nurse Education Today. 34: 552-559.
Thomas, L. and Hunter-Revell, S. 2016. Resilience in nursing students: An integrative review. Nurse Education Today. 36: 457-462.
Plakht, Y. Shiyovich, A. Nusbaum, L. and raiser, H. 2013. The association of positive and negative feedback with clinical performance, self-evaluation and practice contribution of nursing students. Nurse Education Today. 33: 1264-1268.
Stephens, T.M., 2013, April. Nursing student resilience: a concept clarification. In Nursing forum (Vol. 48, No. 2, pp. 125-133).
Cyril, A. 2014. Time management and academic achievement of higher secondary students. Journal on School Educational Technology. 10 (3): 38-43.
McAllister, M. and McKinnon, J., 2009. The importance of teaching and learning resilience in the health disciplines: a critical review of the literature. Nurse education today, 29(4), pp.371-379.
Häfner, A., Stock, A. and Oberst, V., 2015. Decreasing students’ stress through time management training: an intervention study. European journal of psychology of education, 30(1), pp.81-94.
Gordan, C. and Borkan, S. 2014. Recapturing time: A practical approach to time management for physicians. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 90: 267-272.
Hirsch, C. Barlem, E. Tomaschewski-Barlem, J. Lunardi, V. and de Oliveira, A. 2015. Predictors of stress and coping strategies adopted by nursing students. Acta Paulista de Enfermagem (Paulista Journal of Nursing). 28 (3): 224-229.
Balkis, M. 2013. Academic procrastination, academic life satisfaction and academic achievement: The mediation role of rational beliefs about studying. Journal of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapies. 13 (1): 57-74.
1. Completed “Resilience self-assessment quiz” by Siebert (2005) in seminar 12
2. Completed and analysed time and organisational management handout completed in Seminar 12
Academic Essay Writing Skills
Academic writing skills are one of the areas that I have made a considerable improvement over the academic year. Academic writing skills are particularly important to my school work and professional clinical practice because as a nursing student and a prospective nurse I must develop an advanced ability to express my own professional and informed ideas and perspectives through logical, coherent and evidence-based arguments (Wright, Street, and Gousy 2011). The need to state my own informed perspectives that are based on a variety of the best available scholarly evidence and ideas underscore my focus on this skill. Besides that, I have encountered serious challenges in writing my essays which partly explain the disappointing grades, particularly I scored in my clinical skills. I strongly attribute this poor performance to a deficiency in academic essay writing skills. However, I have made notable improvements in my essay writing skills.
First, I have honed skills in searching and evaluating quality academic literature to support the arguments I present in my academic submissions. At the start of this year, I employed very poor literature searching and evaluation techniques. For example, I often relied on Google search to find the literature to inform my essay ideas. Also, I tended to search evidence for supporting my ideas from freely-available web-based resources like Wikipedia which marred with inaccurate information and omissions (Colón-Aguirre and Fleming-May 2012). It is imperative to observe that these threats can mislead me to present false weak arguments if I entirely rely on the incomplete information generated from these nonacademic sources.
Nonetheless, I have developed effective literature search and evaluation techniques to improve the quality of my work. For example, I have developed standard search strategies involving querying reputable academic and professional databases such as the online BU academic database “mySearch,” MEDLINE, PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane (Anders and Evans 2013). Before embarking on the actual search process, I develop a search strategy by identifying the keywords and concepts within my research question and then combining them to locate the literature. Entering the word combination, I utilize the various filters and Boolean operators to refine my search which provides me with a large variety of relevant sources for supporting my arguments. After identifying the potential article, I proceed to the evaluation phase in which I thoroughly assess the abstract and bibliographies of those relevant articles, websites of the agencies sponsoring the study, the journal in which the literature is published, publication period, and the reference list at the end of the article (Goddard 2013). This comprehensive search and evaluation help me locate more relevant evidence and ideas to work out my own professional views on the topic.
Second, I have developed a good command of the Harvard referencing style. After exploring resources on Harvard referencing on the e-library and other relevant articles on this topic, I have learned that this style comprises in-text citations and detailed references both of which must be included in my academic work (Neville 2010). Previously, I often failed to include in-text citations a problem Neville (2012) believes is common in referencing. Today, I ensure that each time I refer to another person’s ideas, findings, methods or work in my assignment, I must acknowledge the author by including the author’s name and date of publication within my text particularly at the point where I discuss the ideas derived from the source. Complying with these referencing conventions allows me to not only avoid plagiarism but also cite the sources correctly (Anderson 2009). Furthermore, I always cite the author whenever I draw a quote, summarize or paraphrase someone else’s work within my writing. The cited content includes definitions, tables, images, figures, and statistics that are not entirely my own work (Anderson 2009). Another mistake I have learned to avoid in Harvard referencing is placing a comma immediately after the author’s name (Truluck and Richardson 2013). I strongly believe that this portfolio assignment is clear evidence of how I have improved the ability to cite sources correctly and avoid plagiarism using the Harvard referencing style.
Third, I have developed excellent proofreading strategies which are critical to submitting error-free assignments. The various tutorials I took part in this year helped me realize the value of peer draft review. Delivering assignments with some errors has been a common problem in my previous academic work. Today, I always reach out to my peers and academic team for help and support with my proofreading where necessary. My experience working with my peers has been entirely positive. For example, they have made themselves available to help me in examining my drafts carefully to point out and eliminate typographical errors as well as mistakes in grammar, style, and spelling. They also provide helpful and constructive feedback which I always found useful for improving the overall quality of my work (Whitehead 2002).
I intend to improve my proofreading skills by taking classes, participating in grammar workshops, and exploring more materials on academic writing to enhance my ability to detect and correct writing errors. Second, I will reach out to my instructors and writing experts to explain mistakes, find better ways to detecting and fixing them, and even recommend useful resources on preparation and proofreading of academic work. Also, I will practice reading my work backward word by work to help me catch certain typos and mistakes with homonyms. Lastly, I will also consider exploring computer and online tools for spelling and grammar check.
Anders, M. and Evans, D. 2010. Comparison of PubMed and Google Scholar literature searches. Respiratory Care. 55 (5): 578-583.
Anderson, I. 2009. Avoiding plagiarism in academic writing. Nursing Standard. 23 (18): 35-37. Goppee, N. 1999. Referencing academic assignments. Nursing Standard. 13 (27): 37- 40.
Colón-Aguirre, M. and Fleming-May, R. 2012. “You just type in what you’re looking for:” Undergraduate’ use of library resources v Wikipedia. Journal of Academic Librarianship. 38 (6): 391-399.
Goddard, R. 2013. An introduction to literature searching: helpful tips for aesthetic nurses. Journal of Aesthetic Nursing. 2 (7): 352-354.
Neville, C. 2010. The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. (2nd edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Neville, C. 2012. Referencing: Principles, practice and problems. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2 (2): 1-8.
Truluck, C. and Richardson, D. 2013. Citing sources correctly. Radiologic Technology. 84.
Whitehead, D. 2002. The academic writing experiences of a group of student nurses: a phenomenological study. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 38 (5): 498-506.
Wright, K. Street, P. and Gousy, M. 2011. Academic skills: using literature to support your discussion. British Journal of Nursing. 20 (2): 1-6.
Literature search strategy on mySearch
The screenshot below demonstrate how I utilize the various filters and Boolean operators on mySearch database to refine my search which provides me with a large variety of relevant sources for supporting my arguments. As depicted in the image, I have combined several terms (social media, use, and nursing profession) and limited the search to only peer reviewed articled published from the period stretching from 2013 to 2016.
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