FOAM & Social Media: The New Learning for an Old Generation 9

I am an old school nurse of the generational belief that the old ways, once learnt, are the right way, and the way it should be forever more.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are just a perverted way of checking out whether old school friends and ex-girlfriends had aged as horribly as you had hoped they would. A way for the young kids to ‘have a voice’ and ‘be heard’ as well as bully their peers and show ‘selfies’ that would make Larry Flint blush.

Blogs are a way for blowhard, pontificating celebrities to tell us how to live our lives; to be green; and to save creatures none of us have heard of, let alone ever seen.

Podcasts are how I could listen to my favourite comedians, or learn how to run 5kms in a matter of weeks.

How is any of this relevant to me in my professional life and ability to progress my career? Why do I need to know about this passing fad? I am happy with my knowledge. Journals and textbooks keep me up to date. I don’t need to stay young by keeping up with the kids!


One day, about three years ago, my friend Luke was espousing the values of Twitter as a platform for some new ways to access learning tools. Sceptical, but identifying my need for some new ways to present my teachings, I begrudgingly signed up. Immediately I was exposed to a whole world of people willing to share their thoughts and opinions in 140 characters.

I found a whole new universe of links and websites that aided me in honing my craft, packing an educational punch like the big boys (and gals). TEDtalks blew me away. I was able to redefine my presentation style in ways beyond endless PowerPoint slides and YouTube clips.

The other upside was the access to current and cutting edge information, right now. And for free! Free, I tells ya! This wonderful and well researched information that I was able to incorporate and impart was magnificent (and made me seem instantly smarter – if not more attractive).

Then, another day a few years later, my friend Jesse convinced me to check out his blog. I was impressed. Well thought out and cleverly presented nursing concepts that I had long thought too dry to take much interest in. Once Injectable Orange found it’s way onto the FOAMed map, my professional world went into overload. I realised there was unlimited access to other blogs, websites and podcasts allowed me to keep myself current with the thoughts, trials and tribulations of others around the world. My peer review network expanded exponentially! And it was accessible across professional streams, something previously thought to be taboo in healthcare.

To finally round off this shift in my learning attitude, I was fortunate enough to meet some of these people at the SMACCGold conference this year. To find such knowledgeable people, who are so happy to freely impart their thoughts and experience is a truly humbling experience. I dare not name them for fear of leaving someone off the list. These people really put the humanity back into healthcare.

I was an old school nurse of the generational belief that the old ways, once learnt, are the right way, and the way it should be forever more. I have since seen the light.

You can teach an old nurse new tricks.

Many thanks to @lukie27 and @Inject_Orange for setting me on this path of FOAM enlightment.


Document this CPD

9 thoughts on “FOAM & Social Media: The New Learning for an Old Generation

  • Rob

    well said Sean. It is a great world where the barriers to learning are not falling but being smashed to the ground from every direction and every profession. It makes the future more and more exciting for us old dogs.

  • Anne Maree

    What a fantastically entertaining and insightful piece. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ALL of it. You have a real flare and I look forward to the next blog. Only saw this through Jesse’s twitter – can you sign me up?

    • Jesse Spurr Post author

      Hi Anne Maree, Sean did a great job on his first article and I’m really privileged to host such great guest authors. If you want to follow the blog, just sign up in the left sidebar and you’ll get email notifications when a new post is published.

  • Ann Hitchen

    Thank you Sean for such an insightful encouraging and optimistic piece I look forward to seeing and hearing more !!! – From another old schoolie … Ann

    • Jesse Spurr Post author

      Thanks for dropping by Ann. Lovely to hear from some great nurses who I know and respect. Please spread the word about the site, have had great feedback from a lot of nursing students in US and UK, not much in Aus yet.
      Cheers Jesse
      ps. Sean is working on second post right now… the guest author featured image from ‘Misery’ is somewhat akin to my editorial style.

  • Jonathan Downham

    Sean, that could almost be my story you are telling there. I discovered Twiiter a year and a half ago and have not looked back. A whole new world has opened up to me and has rejuvenated my enthusiasm for learning and helping others to learn.

    I would love to call it something other than social media as I think this has to many negative connotations to the general public but I have yet to come up with any other ideas! Any thoughts?

Comments are closed.