m-Health Nurse's Blog

A journey as a nursing doctoral student studying m-Health

Development culture September 12, 2010

Filed under: In Developement,m-Health — mhealthnurse @ 4:39 am

When you get into a particular sub-field of a research specialty you become involved in a new community with it’s own language, cultural expectations and norms. I have learned many new words and acronyms this summer: ICT4D, M4D, mHealth, etc. There is a required reading list for this field: the End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs; Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracey Kidder; Three Cups of Tea; Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof, etc. I should probably be a vegetarian at home but eat meat abroad when appropriate. Though this is a global field there are only a few thousand people who work in this field so it doesn’t take much time to meet and get to know most of the major players, even though they are spread across the globe.

I am enjoying this aspect of being in the research/academic/development/open-source world because the passion of people doing this work is much more inspiring than anything found in the corporate/industry world. Being around inspiring people makes the long flights in coach and the small paychecks a little easier.


Finally getting started September 9, 2010

Filed under: m-Health,Student Life — mhealthnurse @ 5:47 am

So it’s been a while since I posted. I passed comps in June, which I thought would lead to a stress free summer but instead I spent the summer coding my heart out trying to get my work projects completed before my trip to Africa, where I’m writing this post. Currently I am in Cape Town attending the OpenMRS developers and implementers meeting. I am developing a new love for this community of developers who are working together to bring an open-source medical records platform to developing countries. The dedication and passion of people involved in both the development and implementation of OpenMRS has been inspiring.

A few weeks ago I attended the Global Health Idea Incubator workshop at Unite for Sight (UFS). I was really impressed by how a small project that started as one Yale graduate students idea grew into an NGO that has provided almost 40,000 eye surgeries in developing countries this year. I’m wondering what strategies learned by UFS can be applied to OpenMRS.

What I have learned, lately, is that it is not enough to be knowledge about my domain, but I have to know about the policies, social, and financial implications of my work for it to be truly effective and sustainable. My doctoral education has made clear that the “what I don’t know” far exceeds the “what I do know” in my own field and especially in the overlapping areas of sustainable development and ICT. What I’m learning is , that is the point of a PhD — generation of new knowledge. What I mean is demonstrated visually by Phd School in Pictures

Future posts will not be after 24 hours flying, 6 hours sleep, and not enough caffeine.


Happy (Belated) Nursing Informatics Day! May 13, 2010

Filed under: Nursing Informatics — mhealthnurse @ 2:55 am

In honor of nursing informatics day…a post about nursing informatics

So when I tell people that I am studying nursing informatics they usually give me a strange look followed by questions like “what’s that?” or “why are you studying that?”. Nursing informatics is usually defined as an interdisciplinary field combining nursing science, informatics and computer science. Most people think of nursing of nursing informatics as a new field that came about when computers started to be widely used in clinical settings, however, nursing informatics (minus the computer part) has always been a part of nursing. This is why today, May 12th, the birthday of Florence Nightingale–the first nurse to analyze and document nursing care information and data to improve nursing outcomes, is nursing informatics (NI) day.

One of Florence’s famous quotes, “”Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head (not, how can I always do the right thing myself, but) how can I provide for this right thing always to be done?” is very much at the heart of this field. NI allows us to always do the right thing through data collection for the development of evidence-based practice; through decision support tools; through health information tools that improve our knowledge and understanding of nursing care and allow us to better communicate with patients; and, so on. For nurses, more than any other health profession, informatics is the sine qua non of what we do. After all, who more than us insures that patients have the information they need: whether it’s to carry out their activities-of-daily-living at home post-surgery; what medicines are safe to take when breastfeeding; how to best care of a sick loved one; or how to wear a sexy dress with an insulin pump. We analyze information, we provide it, and we use it to improve care. So happy NI day to all the nurses out there!


Bill Gates: Mobiles not PCs for global health May 3, 2010

Filed under: In the news,m-Health — mhealthnurse @ 2:43 pm

Bill Gates: Mobiles not PCs for global health

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Matt Berg-Time 100 most influential people of 2010 April 29, 2010

Filed under: In the news,m-Health — mhealthnurse @ 4:01 pm

I haven’t read the whole list, and probably won’t since Ashton Kutcher, Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, and probably some other people on my plzSTFU list are on there. But someone I sort of know is on the list! Matt Berg is a part of the team that I am doing my dissertation work with, though we’ve only “met” by email so far. Matt works on the ChildCount+ project for Millennium Villages which is helping to reduce child mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa by using mobile phones to regularly screen for malnutrition, monitor for illness, and provide immunization support to community health workers. They have a great video about the project on their website.


The importance of stupidity in scientific research

Filed under: Student Life — mhealthnurse @ 3:36 pm
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The importance of stupidity in scientific research
I really enjoyed this essay from the Journal of Cell Biology. I think as a student, you often feel stupid and forget that you’re not supposed to, and can’t possibly, know everything. This last month, I had a big “ah-ha” moment, where things finally came together and everything I learned in my last 5 years in school all became part of a cohesive big picture that made sense. I can change the world, I can solve numerous health problems in low income settings, this all can be achieved in my life time. Hooray! Later that week, as I stared blankly at the article my adviser had asked me to read that I couldn’t make any sense of I went back to feeling stupid. And so the pendulum swings šŸ™‚


Missing Amaya

Filed under: Personal — mhealthnurse @ 1:11 pm

Amaya (my daughter) went with my parents for vacation to Puerto Rico for a few days. I miss her so much already. I love waking up to her cuddles. I’m hoping her absence will help me to be focused and really finish up all my papers for the end of the semester so that I can just enjoy being with her and studying for comps when she gets back. Sucks being a new mom in school sometimes.