Case Study NU4025 Health Informatics for Nurses and Midwives

Health Informatics for Nurses and Midwives - Using Podcasts as creators, evaluators and communicators of knowledge

Name: Dr Sile Creedon        

Contact: 021 4901469


Programme: NU4025 Health Informatics for Nurses and Midwives


Background: Healthcare and provision of healthcare information is moving into the electronic arena.  Many individuals search for health information online, frequently using their mobile phone.  However, the most trusted sources of health information are healthcare professionals themselves such as nurses or midwives. A podcast is a digital audio file of information, such as health information, made available on the internet for downloading onto a mobile phone or computer. The purpose of this project was to create health information podcasts developed and narrated by nurses or midwives.  Methods: Twenty-one (21) graduate nurses and midwives each developed a podcast using the recording studio in Boole library, UCC or a recording application on their smart phone.  Outputs: Each graduate developed a podcast based on a health-related topic, drawing on their own expertise as well as direct experiences from other health professionals and clients alike. 


In what context does this initiative/practice take place? 

This initiative takes place within the context of an optional 5 credit module offered to all final year undergraduate nurses and midwives.  The content of the module covers national and international ehealth strategies, delivering digital health care, digital health care and patient safety, genomics, artificial intelligence, sensors/wearables, robotics, preparing healthcare professionals to deliver digital healthcare, trust and online health information, clinical decision support systems as well as principles and concepts underlying electronic health records.


What was the rationale for introducing this initiative/practice/project?

The rationale for asking students to develop a podcast is that a substantial portion of society use podcasts to further their education or for entertainment.  Furthermore, a substantial proportion of society receive healthcare or require further information about an aspect of healthcare. 

Nurses and midwives are a trusted source of health information and are the only group of health professionals that have contact with individuals who require care or information ranging from pre-conception to old age.  Furthermore, nurses/midwives care for people who are homeless, live in the community, residential care, mental healthcare settings, intellectual disability settings or are in acute/emergency care settings. 

Many people seek health information or advice online but are unsure how to access trustworthy information.  Moreover, many people have difficulty reading, or find it difficult to find time to read information.  Health related podcasts developed by nurses or midwives provide an ideal medium for providing trusted health information using an audio medium which can be accessed anywhere irrespective of setting.  For example, it is possible to listen to podcasts in cars, trains, buses, bicycles, while walking or indoors. 



The structure of the podcast is that the graduate introduces him/herself by name and profession. They then introduce their health-related topic of choice.  The graduate provides an overall account of the topic and how they see their professional relationship with the topic.  The graduate then enters a discussion with a person who has received care or has had direct experience with the chosen topic.  This is followed by the graduate engaging in a discussion with another health professional/care giver on this topic.  The graduate then summarises both discussions, as well as an account of the topic. 


Are there any unique elements? 

Yes, graduate nurses and midwives creating audible health related objects prepared for delivery to the wider society is unique certainly in Ireland. 

To date, most health-related information is paper based (handouts, pamphlets, discharge advice) or sometimes it is made available through the medium of a website.  Both these approaches require the person to be literate, or to be in a sedentary position at a computer. 

Podcasting has the advantage of providing information to people while engaged in other activities, literate or otherwise.  Podcast development speaks directly to preparing healthcare professionals deliver healthcare using an electronic medium.  Philosophically, it allows the student to use podcasting to scaffold their professional expertise/learning through an electronic medium. 

How has this initiative/project/practice helped the development of 'graduate attributes' in your students?

Creators, evaluators and communicators of knowledge This initiative has allowed students create and communicate health related knowledge in a way that is more accessible than usual for the public.  Given that they are in their final year of their degree in nursing or midwifery, these students have developed clinical and academic expertise. They have also developed expertise in evaluating knowledge as they have received incremental input over the four years of their BSc in critiquing web sites and research evidence.  In their final year project, they complete a literature review where the focus is on critical and evaluative thinking.  They complete this literature review concomitantly with their podcast thereby allowing them to create knowledge using a high level of critical analysis in a manner that is easily communicated to the wider society. 

Independent and creative thinkers: Students chose the focus of the podcast themselves.  This develops their independent thinking and their choice of people/setting to include in the podcast fosters their creativity.


Digitally Fluent: The term podcast derives from iPod and broadcast using a web based medium.  Developing a podcast requires a fluency in using hardware and software programmes.  It also requires fluency of discourse.  It is the quintessential example of digital fluency. 


Socially Responsible: Students are free to choose their podcast topic.  However, they are required to draw on their clinical and evidence-based expertise to choose that topic.  The topic must reflect a health interest among the public and address that interest/request for information using their clinical expertise, academic expertise and interpersonal communication expertise.  In that way, their podcasts illustrate social responsibility. 


Effective global citizens, who recognise and challenge inequality: Graduate nurses and midwives care for, and provide information to citizens who are pregnant or otherwise, homeless, members of minority groups, illiterate, migrants, disabled, mentally/physically unwell or in poverty.  They also care for and provide information to citizens who are wealthy, socially included, educated and well. 

Creating a podcast is one way of communicating with most members of society as well as addressing the ‘digital divide’  as citizens do not need to pay, do not need to have the ability to read, do not need a postal address or a home computer. 

How are you going to make Graduate Attributes development explicit in the expression of the Curriculum and Learning Outcomes?

I will include the requirement to create a health-based information object in the learning outcomes. 


What suggestions would you give to others considering introducing a similar initiative/practice in their own department/institution?

I suggest we critically examine the type of assignments we set for our students. Completing an assignment should ideally provide the student with further learning/skills rather than the assignment being an endpoint. 

I also suggest we consider and utilise the supports we have across the University e.g. the studio in Boole.   


Key features/strengths of the approach described in this case study

The key strengths of this approach is that it speaks to how a large proportion of society seek and receive information.  It also speaks to nurse / midwife graduate’s clinical expertise, academic expertise, interpersonal skills, and social responsibility. 


Any student/employer/stakeholder testimonials?

Students were asked to reflect on their experience of podcasting.  This is a snapshot of their reflections. 

 “To my own surprise, I tremendously enjoyed creating this podcast. I believe this form of an assessment provided me with new skills and was a pleasant change from a typical assignment or practical. Initially, when informed of this assessment I thought I was being pushed outside my comfort zone. However, on reflection, I think this was a great personal and educational growing opportunity. I learned how to create a podcast using new software and develop interviewing skills”

“Overall, I found this a very enjoyable and interesting assignment to do. Podcasts are something I had recently begun enjoying, so I was very glad to have the opportunity to learn what goes into making one, for example, the different recording and editing tools you can use. The main thing I would change was my time keeping. I interviewed my first guest for slightly too long by having too many questions prepared, and therefore I was not able to speak to my second guest for as long as I wanted to” 

“Conducting and taking part in the podcast was highly enjoyable. I found talking to the guest speakers beneficial to develop my interpersonal skills and knowledge from their perspective. As technology has become so popular in the world today, podcasting can be very effective to provide accurate  health  information  to  patients.  I would  be  very  interested  to conduct  another  podcast  in  the  future,  if  so,  I  would  increase  the  time  of  the  podcast  to provide more health knowledge and information”

“This was a fun and interesting way of examination for a module. I enjoyed carrying out and editing the podcast. I would recommend it in the future for a method of examination”

“Making the podcast was a valuable experience. If podcasts were to be made in the future, it would be more beneficial to have both interviewees in the same room and hold a continuous conversation with both participants”

“If I were to carry out a podcast again I would maybe interview both the expert in care and receiver of care together as this may encourage more of a discussion on the chosen topic”

“I really enjoyed recording this podcast with a nurse and a midwife from the ‘Perinatal Mental Health’ team. I hope to raise awareness of the common pressures placed on expectant mothers”

“Recording an audio file for an assignment was a new experience which brought many new challenges. I created a detailed plan for the podcast and detailed the questions to guide the flow of the recording. However, this plan was more difficult to execute than anticipated. I recorded a total of 30 minutes of content and then had to work on editing this down to include the most relevant content to the topic. Doing this I learned a completely new set of skills working with software. Podcasting, both hosting and speaking on, is much like public speaking, it is a learned skill that takes practice to skilfully execute”  On reflection I would have added a conclusion just to summarise the podcast at the end. I’m not very good at computer skills; however, I did enjoy editing the podcast”.

“By  conducting  this  podcast  I  have  worked  on  numerous  skills  including  interpersonal  skills, communication skills and IT skills. As technology is the way forward, it is important that healthcare keeps up with it and is constantly developing new ways of getting information to the public with regards healthcare.  Having speakers on the podcast that have professional and personal experience in my opinion and made the podcast more engaging and insightful”

“On  reflection,  the  Podcast  was  enjoyable  to  create  and  promoted  discussions  with participants  around  supporting  women  and  the  changes  needed  within  the  Irish healthcare  context  to  normalise  and  promote  breastfeed”

“This was my first podcast and I am very proud. Overall I found this podcast experience very beneficial and a creative way of leaning which I found very unique and effective”

“On reflection, I enjoyed the experience of recording and editing the podcast. At first, I was quite nervous that I would not be able to get my point across in a short amount of time. Once I prepared exactly what I was going to discuss with both guests, I felt a lot more reassured that my aim would be successful. When I met with the guests, before recording, I went through what I was going to ask them and if they were comfortable and had anything to add or take out. This helped me a lot to feel more prepared and at ease. I also learned a lot about the technology involved and the work that is put into a short clip in order to make the information useful and easy to interpret for the listener. In the future, I would love to produce more podcasts as I think they are an effective way to relay information to individuals on any topic or concern in a way which is very easily accessible to everyone”.

Graduate Attributes Programme

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