Rural Doctors are a disparate bunch. Whilst I reckon that rural medicine is one of the best jobs in the world due to the sheer diversity (primary care, emergency medicine, obstetrics, anaesthetics), it can be hard for the isolated rural doctor to keep up to date.
This site is for clinicians who want to keep in touch with the latest in FOAMed concepts applicable to rural practice, listen to relevant podcasts and share thoughts on typical cases, using info from the wider FOAMed community
FOAMed (or free open access medical education) helps us break down some of the barrier of isolation AND learn from high-quality educational resources via Social Media (SoMe).
We can all access textbooks, read journals, attend conferences, courses & workshops. However it is a sad fact that whilst these give the basic structure to ongoing lifelong medical education, they lag behind the cutting edge. Some of the best learning comes from conversations with colleagues – whether speaking to a specialist by phone or a ‘corridor conversation’ with a colleague. FOAMEd and SoMe build on that. Rather than have a collection of interesting clinical images and presentations on our individual PCs, the global FOAMed community encourages clinicians to put up content on the web where all can access, share, comment and learn. The Global Medical Education Project (GMEP.org) is emerging as one excellent repository of clinical material. Meanwhile there is a wealth of other online websites and blogs which are relevant to rural doctors.
What is FOAM?
The maxim from respected Emergency Physician Joe Lex is :
- If you want to know how we practiced medicine 5 years ago – read a textbook
- If you want to know how we practiced medicine 2 years ago – read a journal
- If you want to know how we practice medicine now – go to a (good) conference
- If you want to know how we will practice medicine in the future – use FOAMed
The difficulty then is how to keep up with all this online content – the volume of available information is akin to ‘drinking from the firehose’ of online information.
By following a select group of websites & blogs, using tools such as RSS feeds or email “follows”, the rural doctor can get up-to-date & relevant information delivered to his/her mailbox. Similarly podcasts and vodcasts can be downloaded for later digestion. Twitter allows clinicians to communicate in real time – a sort of slimmed down email – and to share ideas around the world.
I have been somewhat obsessed by airway management in recent months, and was astounded to find that Twitter allowed me to exchange ideas, comments and ‘chat’ with world experts such as Scott Weingart and Minh le Cong. Think of it as a ‘corridor chat’ that is open to the worldwide medical community.
Of course there is a risk of INFORMATION OVERLOAD – have a look at this advice from Dr Chris Nickson on how to manage the flow of FOAMed. FOAMed and SoMe have changed how I practice medicine and maintain professional upskilling in my work as a rural doctor. Once a sceptic, now a convert!
See video below for an interview with Dr Casey Parker of BroomeDocs.com
Up and coming future GP Dave Townsend puts it simply in the following equation :
Mike Cadogan of lifeinthefastlane.com and GMEP.org has been one of the drivers of the FOAMed movement – watch this video for an introduction to FOAMed.
See also this excellent post from ANDY NEILL of EmergencyMedicineIreland.com