|January 7, 2015|
Volume 17, Issue 1
|Midwifery Today E-News|
“Midwives and Social Media”
|Subscribe • Print Page|
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In This Week’s Issue
Learn about Essential Oils
Attend this full-day class to increase your knowledge of essential oils, herbs and homeopathy, and to learn how they can aid a midwife’s work during pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum. Part of our conference in Eugene, Oregon, March 2015.
Come to Germany this October!
Plan now to attend our conference in Bad Wildbad, Germany, October 2015. You’ll learn from expert teachers such as Elizabeth Davis (pictured), Cornelia Enning, Gail Hart, Fernando Molina, Sister MorningStar and Michel Odent. Choose from a wide variety of classes, including Breech, Mexican Techniques, Shoulder Dystocia, Birth Positions and Organic Midwifery.
Quote of the Week
Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community.
— Simon Mainwaring, social media specialist and blogger
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The Art of Midwifery
Technology is used appropriately to confirm rather than diagnose, and only when a better decision can be made based on the results—or when it is the only method that can produce needed information.
— Carla Hartley, excerpted from “Hi-Tech Midwifery,” Life of a Midwife, a Midwifery Today book
Life of a Midwife is out of print. You can find other Midwifery Today books here.
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There are many ways social networking can help in business. Facebook is what I use the most because it seems to be the easiest platform with the most users. At Midwifery Today we generate discussions that are sometimes used in Midwifery Today magazine or in E-News. We also use Facebook to connect with potential writers and to hear what topics birth practitioners would like us to cover in the magazine. Social networking allows us to stay connected with our conference attendees and to continue sharing our midwifery experiences with those who live in other parts of the world.
After the Midwifery Today conference in Australia, I spent some time in Fiji with the midwives there. When I returned home, I started a page called Fijian Midwifery. We are using that platform to discuss birth issues in Fiji and to plan a conference there in 2016.
I also enjoy Facebook because of the other pages I am part of that have nothing to do with midwifery, such as my kitty cat page, Bat Cr..ap Crazy, and also Gardening Midwives. It is easy to start a page and connect with people who are interested in that subject.
Of course the double-edged sword of social networking is that it can take a lot of time, but I suppose that is better than time spent on most TV programs. At least with social networking, you are communicating instead of just sitting on the sofa with a remote in hand! Whether for fun and avocational pursuits or for business, social networking is great.
— Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today
Jan Tritten is the founder, editor-in-chief and mother of Midwifery Today magazine. She became a midwife in 1977 after the amazing homebirth of her second daughter. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world, or join her online, as she works to transform birth practices around the world.
Greetings everyone! We are moving ever-closer to our next conference in our hometown of Eugene, Oregon, and we are excited to bring you another fantastic and diverse program. We’ve been promoting the conference not only on the website and in this e-newsletter, but on our Facebook pages as well. Social media has become such an integral part of most people’s lives, and thus it has become an amazing way to let people know about our conferences. But not only is it a wonderful marketing tool, it really does strengthen community, bringing together birth practitioners and supporters from all over the globe into one forum.
We have a Facebook page specifically for our conferences, and on there we not only post information about upcoming conferences, but we also share photos from past conferences, help people find hotel roommates and rides, and enable others to network and maybe find that amazing midwife they met at a conference who they want to keep in touch with.
Please come visit our page—it’s a lovely way to see what Midwifery Today conferences are all about. While you’re there, please “like” us and look at our photo albums and newsfeed for up-to-date conference information. If you can, please like and share our posts as well! The more attention they get, the more Facebook makes them visible to people who may be interested in attending.
You can find the page here.
If you’d like to find out more about upcoming conferences and how to register, please visit our website:
— Andrea Straw, Conference Coordinator
Keep up to date with conference news on Facebook:
Social Media and Midwives: What Is Appropriate?
The nature of the relationship between midwives and their clients lends itself to both intimacy and professional distance. After all, the old English word midwife means “with woman” and modern midwives take this seriously. Without a sense of being “with woman,” the modern midwife may not think she is doing her job correctly in supporting a woman throughout her pregnancy and during the birth of her baby. To allow time to build a relationship with her clients, a midwife will typically allow longer amounts of time for prenatal visits than a physician will. Midwives recount instances of holding a woman’s hand through labor or lending physical support and verbal encouragement as women traverse the landscape of labor and birth. All of this leads to an intimacy between the midwife and her client that cannot compare to any other relationship in the life of either. However, the midwife is still a health care professional and must be cognizant of and practice within the professional guidelines of all other health care professionals. She must maintain proper client files, provide appropriate care as outlined by her licensing body, refer appropriately if her clients’ health falls outside the realm of her expertise, be accountable for her actions and, among many other professional behaviors, she must maintain patient confidentiality.
Before the computer gave everyone access to a vast amount of venues for information, it was fairly simple to know which context was appropriate for discussion of confidential information and which wasn’t. Now that physicians have websites such as SERMO in which to discuss cases and everyone has access to social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook, the landscape of patient confidentiality has changed dramatically. Boundaries which were obvious before the upswing in computer sites are now not so obvious, especially to upcoming health care students and new graduates. So, with the rise of computer sites for health care professionals and social sites that health care professionals join, the question arises: How does a professional maintain confidentiality and professionalism in social media sites? This may seem simple to answer, as in “Don’t post anything confidential on Facebook” for instance, but it turns out to be a bit more complicated than that.
Let’s look at the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) legislation. There are many professional guidelines associated with this act, but the one most people and health care professionals have been educated about is the guarantee of privacy of individual health information or the confidentiality of patient information. Not only are health care providers tasked with maintaining verbal confidentiality of patient information but they must also be aware that “release of patient information, even between health care providers, must be kept to the minimum required for care, and written patient consent to release the information must be obtained” (Strasinger and Di Lorenzo, 2011, 41). So, if a midwife has a personal page on Facebook and in a “chat” posts something about a patient without using his or her name, does that breach confidentiality? Does there need to be written consent for this? While writing this, I did a scroll of posts on my Facebook page. I looked over the last twelve hours of posts and found twelve pieces of medical advice, posts with identifying information with and without actual names, and pictures of babies and mothers who had just given birth. There is no mention on any of these posts whether consent was given nor were there disclaimers for medical advice. This was not a thorough search either, but just a scroll of recent posts.
Read this editorial by Jan Tritten from the newest issue of Midwifery Today, Winter 2014:
Q: In what ways has social media affected your midwifery practice?
— Midwifery Today
A: Social media provides a vehicle to share really great and current information to my clients and other expecting parents. I have recently been a part of setting up two networking groups where we meet with our skin and smiles and support. But the groups are accessible by Facebook so it provides a fast and easy method to communicate, arrange meetings, share info and include a wider audience.
I am looking forward to my new website [being] finished which will access multiple social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. We need to get the word out in the land and change the culture of birth by sharing information and providing services to enable women and their families to have powerful and life-changing experiences.
— Lina Duncan
A: It saves me lots of money on yellow page ads!
— Elizabeth Wyson Smith
A: We have a service-user Facebook group to discuss care people receive or to share problems. It’s really great and many midwives are in the group, too.
— Sharon Campkin
A: As a midwife practicing “under the radar,” I have to be diligent when working with families to remind them to please not tag me, post a picture with me in the background or talk about their midwife on Facebook. Even vague references can be enough to identify me.
Looking for more birth stories and information?
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