Posted in Education, Politics, SocialMedia, Technology

Social Media in Healthcare and Local Government

Sharing the latest article I wrote for my Master’s in Public Administration course work at Bellevue University.  Check out the Healthcare Hashtag Project (link in references below).

This post offers a brief summary of an article found using the Elton B. Stephens Company (EBSCO) database on the use of electronic communications to serve clients of the healthcare industry.

Today’s technology allows many opportunities for patient-centered care.  Email, text messaging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offer today’s nurses a chance to modernize healthcare practitioner methods of patient interaction.  The article cites a Pew Research Center study reporting 85% of American’s are online, and 55% of these people are using mobile devices (Weaver, Lindsay, Gitelman, 2012).  These statistics suggest a public ready for new methods of interacting with healthcare providers.

Using modern communication technologies, nurses can educate the public about four changeable behaviors, identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as negatively affecting the health of Americans:

  • Lack of Exercise
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Tobacco Use
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Nurses are in the best position to use technology to improve the health and communications practices between healthcare providers and patients.  “Experience suggests that nursing leaders–and those who discover they can lead in this way–will seek the opportunities and efficiencies that electronic connections afford both their patients and them (Weaver, Lindsay, Gitelman, 2012).”  If nurses are in the best position to use technology in modernizing healthcare service delivery, could these same practices be applied to public administration?

City governments have access to the same no-cost solutions as other for-profit organizations.  YouTube and other social media offers free platforms for broadcasting and disseminating local government activities.  A quick search for local municipalities’ use of technology proves there is still a lot of room for improvement by our local governments.  The City of Papillion is a great example of a local government instituting best practices using electronic communication.

Papillion City Happenings YouTube Video
Papillion City Happenings YouTube Video

To remain relevant as a governing body, public administration must follow communication methods of the people governed.  “If conversation norms govern how often we talk and with whom, there are other structures that govern what we talk about and how we talk about it, not only in conversations but also in media and other communication modes (Gastil, 2008, p. 226).”

References:

City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from
https://www.facebook.com/CityofPapillion

City of Papillion. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from https://twitter.com/CityofPapillion

Gastil, J. (2008). Political communication and deliberation. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage Publications, Inc.

Papillion City Council for November 19, 2013 [Video file]. (2013, November 20).
Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=H6eRVtopGiY&feature=share&list=UUJtw2GjLfFIAueHjKT-1rdA

The healthcare hashtag project. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2013, from
http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/

Weaver, B., Lindsay, B., & Gitelman, B. (2012). Communication technology and
social media: Opportunities and implications for healthcare systems.
Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.3912/
OJIN.Vol17No03Man03

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Posted in Education, SocialMedia

Seasons of Change

Taken from the walking bridge over the Elkhorn River in Nebraska.
Taken from the walking bridge over the Elkhorn River in Nebraska.

The fall season is at its peak of beauty in many places and we’re about to be plunged into the grips of winter!  As we transition from one season to the next, so goes my blog.

The tenor and content of my blog posts will likely take on a new tone for a while during my Public Administration studies.  I’m enrolled in a 16-month accelerated Master’s Program at Bellevue University.  So far, I’m really enjoying the class.  The first term is dealing with nonprofits and grant writing.  We have a practical class exercise we are actually accomplishing in real life with Omaha‘s Open Door Mission.  Our project team members are writing a grant to gain funds for unmet needs at Open Door Mission.  This project is for one of the three courses of our first term.

The other two courses in our first term focus on Foundations in Public Administration, and Communications in the Public Sector.  We have just completed the foundations course.  The foundations course had us reviewing how government at all levels manages budgets, implements policies and deals with crisis.  Conducting case study reviews, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about situations like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Columbine Shootings, and other events.  We are now moving into the communications in the second half of our term.  This course deals with what we (the public) experience in communications from media, conversations, discussions and debate.  I’m very curious to share and learn from you about your understanding of how our beliefs and decisions are shaped through media.

Considering I do have a family, a full-time job and I’m pursuing my Master’s….there isn’t a lot of time.  I will however, try to use this platform to share with you the fun, surprising, and disturbing.  I’ll also share opportunities (resources) for you to become more informed about what I’m learning.  I hope you find my posts during this course of study useful and educational.  I will still occasionally post reflective and personal notes….however, my focus is currently on my studies.

On the personal side of life, my twin daughters have had their braces removed, they’re both driving, and engaged deeply in their studies at Metro Community College.  My son just turned 14 on Veteran’s Day.  My wife is still educating our son at home and slowly regaining a bit of “personal time” back into her life.  Digesting these facts and assimilating all of these changes is dizzying at times.  I’m looking forward to a break from everything around the holidays.

I hope life is treating you well.  Be kind to yourself.  Take a moment and count your blessings.  Be safe and look out for one another.

Cheers

Posted in Education, Writing

Farewell 2011, Hello 2012!

Ron Paul, member of the United States House of...
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Tonight my wife and I took our children to a Ron Paul Town Hall at the MidAmerica Center in Council Bluffs, IA.  We’ve been keeping tabs on the Republican candidates through social media, television debates, newspaper, and discussions around the dinner table.  Being a homeschooling family, our children have been very interested in and vocal about their concerns and criticisms on the issues facing our nation.  Ron Paul mentioned some of the departments he would do away with if elected President….starting with the Department of Education!  The quality of education has endured a decay in quality since the Federal government made it their business to get involved in and in some cases overrule the State’s rights/business.  “No Child Left Behind“, and now “Race to the Top” are classic examples of federal programs that attempt to address the symptoms of social problems not being dealt with.

My daughter, Madeleine, and I were questioned by a reporter from a Pennsylvania gazette about our views on Ron Paul.  I was glad to hear his clarifications on his foreign policy decisions–he’s not ignorant and would endorse/support going after maniacs who threaten our lands and people (9/11), but he feels that any action to “go to war” should be in accordance with the Constitution and the matter voted on and supported by a majority of Congress!  I also appreciate his constant referral to “what is the role of government?”  Few candidates on the Republican field will rewind the discussion of politics all the way back to the Founder’s intent in the role of government–to protect our rights!  My college course at Bellevue University has really got me pouring over these founding documents in detail.  The more I learn the more angry I’m becoming about the erosion of our liberties and freedoms.  My hope is that more Americans will show up at the voting booths.  Considering the past history (view voting statistics here) its a shame that so few of all who benefit from living in this country don’t show up to exercise their rights/choice by doing their research and checking the ballot box for the candidates that best represent their values/ideals.  Anyway, before I get too riled up let me just say, I’m very interested in the outcome of the caucuses and the outcome of the race for a Republican nominee.

This year has definitely been a year of personal metamorphosis.  As mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve moved into a new house, my girls started driving, I started college, lost a grandmother, a dog and two cats…life never slows down or waits for anyone.  For this reason I’ve decided to not allow any more circumstances in my life be the result of indecision or lack of choosing.  There’s no time like the present, and nobody is going to look out for your best interest….so you better do it.  I decided to get a head start on goals and New Years Resolutions!  Beginning Monday of this week, I started eating less, exercising more, nurturing my passion for writing and reading, and generally taking better care of myself.  Its amazing how much you can pack into such a short amount of time when you set your mind to it.

Here are just a few of the exciting personal events/goals on the horizon for 2012:

Turning 45 years old 🙂
Celebrating 20 years of marriage
Graduating from Bellevue University with a Bachelor’s in Business Analysis and Management
Becoming a published author (in addition to my blog )
Voting in the 2012 Presidential Election
Developing and keeping personal fitness habits to improve my health
Growing as many vegetables and fruit for the family on our postage stamp-sized yard
Improving the quality (being more present/conscious) of my relationships with family and friends

To all who stumble across this post, I wish you the safest of New Years celebrations and an exciting and personally fulfilling and prosperous 2012.

Posted in Education, Politics, Writing

Eroding Freedoms

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jeffe...
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I’m enrolled at Bellevue University and participating in a course they call the Kirkpatrick Series.  This is an in-class and online participation course of study.  I’m really enjoying it so far.  We are studying the founding of America and the details of our founding documents:  The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights.  Additional readings are required from scholarly studies, the Federalist Papers and a great deal of essays involving opposing view points.

I find that I’m becoming more passionate each week about my rights, freedoms, and responsibilities as a citizen.  Over the next couple of months I’ll share with you some of my thoughts that are the result of conversation that I post on our classroom’s discussion board.   This particular post I feel passionate about sharing.  I feel that the reason our country is in the state its in, is because we have too many in our society today who have great expectations but aren’t willing to put forth much effort.  I hope you enjoy reading it.  Feel free to add your perspectives even if you don’t agree:

I was just thinking on the way home tonight regarding the responsibilities of citizenship. There are so many instances in our society where we have established a system or set something in place to “take care of the details for us” (technology, insurance policies, public school systems, local and state elected officials, retirement accounts, cruise control, etc…).

Our society is riddled with the false assumptions that because we’ve checked the right box, paid our premiums, elected so-and-so, etc…that somebody is taking care of all the details for us.  That’s an incredible amount of trust to place in complete strangers hands!  All of us are so busy with the details of our own lives that we don’t have time to check up on the job being done for us until somebody realizes its being done wrong or not at all.  Then we react with shocked surprise!

There’s an expression I’ve heard (related to church attendance) “Don’t check your brain at the door” (meaning…with all situations, we must be vigilant and mentally sharp with skills of observation, logic, and reasoning.)  Challenge what you disagree with, ask questions when you don’t understand, and take action when you feel that something’s just not right.  We have lost many freedoms and rights because of our assumptions and passiveness.  I believe the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street participants are borne out of the anger of people who are waking up and realizing (unfortunately after the fact) that not all have acted in good faith, with ethics and morals, when entrusted to act on behalf of other people (Madoff, Enron, Blagojevich, Wall Street, the list goes on.)

As we enter this election cycle, ask yourself:  “Am I willing to give up freedoms, rights, and burden my children and the next several generations unnecessarily?”  If your answer is no, then you must ask:  “Am I giving my best, am I holding myself and those around me accountable to standards and values that best represent everyone involved (not just those who agree with me)?”  These are the types of thoughts our Founding Fathers committed themselves to wrestle with before writing such liberating words that set our nation free from tyranny.  Its easy to criticize others by passively assigning labels (liberal, conservative, left-wing/right-wing, fundamentalist), its much harder to critically examine the impacts of actions or inactions that will cause permanent and “freedom-altering” changes to our country that may some day forbid us to so readily throw labels around.

It is not enough for us cast our vote, we must be involved, be observant and willing to take necessary and sometimes unpopular or inconvenient actions to preserve this great democracy.  We do not have to be victims, and our government is only empowered at the will of “We the People!”  I fear we have allowed our society to become split into two classes of Americans, the main street citizen, and the politician.  We have made the process of governing ourselves far too complicated and constipated!  So much so, that the main street American trying to seek “the dream” cannot possibly comprehend the fine print and understand the impacts (cost/effects).  If I can be expected to write a persuasive paper limited to between 1000 and 1200 words to succinctly articulate my position for or against an issue, why should any bill presented to our legislatures require reams of paper?

Its time for us to pick up the power of the mighty pen (or laptop, iPad) and take action, like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and write for ourselves a more practical future, filled with promise, freedom and hope for future generations!

Be of great courage my fellow Americans!

Posted in Education, Relationships, Writing

Who Can Afford a Mid-Life Crisis?

Citizens registered as an Independent, Democra...
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As an entrepreneurial minded person, I have always enjoyed observing different environments and assessing what could be done to make things better, more efficient, more pleasurable and rewarding.  So much of my adult life has been a path of least resistance trek…settling some might say.  I have decided to finally fulfill my motto for this year, “Passion with Purpose!”  But man, what a time in life to be engaging in such tumultuous choices!  Nevertheless, if you want different results, you have to make different choices….so, next month I finally begin to finish what I started YEARS ago!  That’s right, when I should be having a mid-life crisis–I’m sharpening pencils, buying new lined notebooks, making sure my laptop and printer are ready to support me in the role of student!  I’m going to finish my bachelors degree in Business Analysis and Management through an accelerated program at Bellevue University!

We have twin daughters who will be needing braces soon, will start driving and going to college; a house that we’re pulling off the market to rent out until the housing outlook improves; and aging in-laws with health issues.  Our elected officials seem bent on allowing the economy to tank while arguing the correctness of standing proudly on party principle.  I don’t even bother to turn on the news anymore.  Election campaigns are spinning up and nobody has anything nice to say about anyone else.  My party is more correct than your party–this party holds the monopoly on perfection–please, we do not allow our children to behave that way!  Is responsibility and stewardship forgotten after being appointed to Congress or the Senate?  That may seem a rather harsh or unfair question, but from the “common folks” perspective, seriously, how are we supposed to believe that common sense is being applied?

I do not for one minute think that only Republicans are capable of appropriate size and responsible stewardship of the government, nor do I believe that Democrats are the only people who care about social programs or topics that fall into the pro-choice bucket.   The Tea Party (a loosely leaderless group) is also not the only sect of people who would like to distance themselves from the Republicans and Democrats.  Its hard not to feel lost and disenfranchised by these cliques that truly no longer represent me or my views/ideals.

I’m reading a book titled “Not Quite Adults”  by Richard Settersten, Ph.D., and Barbara E. Ray.  My wife has already read it and recommended it to me.  Its an eye-opening look at the harsh reality of why our youth of today and the country are in the situation you see when you look around.  How many children have moved back in with mom and dad because they can’t afford to buy into the American Dream?  How many retired couples are having to return to work because their nest eggs have dwindled to nothing since the recession of 2008?  In order to get ahead, many go into debt to achieve the higher level degrees required to earn the income necessary to support all their obligations and subsidize their children’s successful launch into adulthood.

Where does it end?  Where did we go wrong?  But more importantly, how do we stop the insanity and get on a path to health?  The other book I’m reading right now is “Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain” by Ryan Blair with Don Yaeger.  A very interesting story about a young kid from a troubled childhood who found himself in juvenile detention centers, but with the help of a few good mentors, managed to turn his life around and rise to the top.  His book challenges you to be persistently looking for ways to turn unfortunate circumstances into opportunities for success.

As for me, I’m starting to consciously plan for a new direction in life–one with more options…starting with going back to school!  I’m also starting to think that there’s got to be a better way for preparing for retirement/future than Wall Street.  Something is majorly wrong when bad news on the other side of the world can cause your stock value in an American company to plummet!  Is it just me?  Am I alone in feeling discombobulated?