Academic conferences: the nursing student perspective

Attending an academic conference is probably not on  the undergrad student nurse ” to do” list, but it should be. I recall attending the brilliant RCN congress in the UK in the late 90’s in Bournemouth and Harrogate as an undergraduate. The passion and excitement to care amongst a student population so evident. I recall hearing the term Nurse Politics and found new inspiration for this unique profession.  Every student nurse should share such an experience in their educational development.

This year we all witnessed what nursing means to students with the brilliant Molly Case oration. It sent a message to the nursing community and we  at #NPD100 were the lucky ones to feel inspired “Down Under”.

Power to Social Media, who knew?

This blog entry comes from two of a number of future leaders in our profession from the University of Notre Dame Australia.

Emily Mignacca and Danielle Blackwell write about their experience at a recent conference. Take note and register for one that interests you. Apply for scholarship, if you’re not in, you can’t win ! – PJC


Between the 23rd-25th October, we attended the 39th International Mental Health Nursing Conference through the Janseen Cilag Student Scholarship Program. It was through our ongoing engagement with the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) via Twitter that we became aware of this opportunity and were lucky enough to receive fully funded Conference registrations.

This conference was centred on the key theme of “Collaborations and Partnerships in Mental Health Nursing” and explored the importance of effective partnerships within the profession, and how the ever-changing practice domain of mental health nursing fits into this collaboration.  Throughout the three days, this theme was addressed extensively through inspiring keynote speakers, engaging research and truly meaningful discussions, debates and conversations between all delegates.

The word “conference” tends to conjure up images of stuffy old men in business suits as another stuffy old man drones on at a microphone. However, after attending this, our first ever conference, we have a very different story to tell. This is not purely due to the delegates and presentations at the Conference itself, but largely thanks to the conversation that was occurring concurrently in the online world. Throughout the entire three days, the #ACMHN2013 hashtag was in full force on Twitter, with a total of 1,007 tweets from 138 participants. This strong social media presence allowed for engagement and connection with colleagues both nationally and internationally, allowing content to be shared far beyond the four walls of the hotel. As contributors to #ACMHN2013 on Twitter, we were able to extend conversations beyond the 40 minute presentations, share supporting research and information with colleagues and hugely enrich our own experience at the Conference.

We were also introduced to some of the key nursing leaders in the field and given advice, motivation and buckets full of ideas for our own career pathways. It was incredibly humbling to discuss our passion for mental health with colleagues who had a wealth of experience, knowledge and understanding, and we were further grateful for their willingness to teach and share their wisdom.

The core purpose of a conference in nursing is universal regardless of age, title or career status. It was clear that regardless of these factors, all delegates were united by the central desire to improve the care they are able to provide to some of our society’s most vulnerable individuals and families.

Attending a conference in the field we are both so passionate about was a truly humbling, eye-opening and inspiring experience that we will both carry with us as we begin our nursing careers. We could not recommend this experience highly enough for all undergraduate nursing students as we all strive to propel nursing into a profession that is united, evidence-based and passionate.

–Emily Mignacca & Danielle Blackwell


#NPD100: The Conference

Image Credit: Flickr: Marc_Smith
Retrieved from

Now that the exams are over, kick back and get the lovely WA sand between your toes and…..go to a conference on social media?
You didn’t think it would be that easy to rest before prac!
From the makers of 100ThreeHundred we bring you #NPD100 the conference! Following the small but significant critical acclaim of our hashtag and our ever-evolving blog we have decided to develop our own conference.

SMART Care (Social Media Application 4 Research and Teaching).

Join us on Fri 25th of October from 2pm to 5pm at ND4 and hear 3 of the best international healthcare and social media contributors present.
14:00 Doors
14:15 Opening address
14:30-15:10 Paul McNamara of Meta4RN: Taking about Professional use of Twitter and healthcare social media” See Paul’s page here and work here
15:15-15:45 Marie Ennis O’Connor on the Rise of the E-patient
Marie is a Patient Advocate and PR Consultant and a phenomenal social media resource. Check out her profile here and previous speaking engagement here
15:50-16:15 Kane Guthrie (CN, ED, SCGH) on how free open access medical education will influence nursing education. A former Notre Dame graduate, Kane is one of the leading authors for the medical blog Life in the Fast Lane.
16:20 -16:55 Open Mic Session:  students present on their experiences with social media and digital citizenship (3 min each).
17:10 Let’s show our guests some of the delights of Freo and a pizza in Little Creatures as the sun steals away!

Remember #NPD100 will be our hashtag.
Places are limited to ND4 lecture hall capacity and bookings have commenced.
Please reserve your space by email to

Blinded by science

Don’t just read nursing research – analyze. Be critical! Does the data make sense to you? Do you even know what a p-value is? Don’t be dazzled by fancy numbers –find out what it all means.

Reading about a new and unfamiliar drug? Look it up! Learn about dosage, side-effects, alternative names.

Always go to the primary source of the information. Some students find a piece of information in a journal article that has been written by another author, accompanied by the appropriate in-text citation. Instead of tracking down the original article through the reference list, students want to reference a “source within a source”, known as a secondary source citation. This is a bad idea, as you are relying on someone else’s interpretation of the original source, and you lose the wider context of the information. This watered down approach can lead to strange interpretations of studies – and before you know it, we are drinking more red wine than ever in the hopes that it will cure all our ills.

So don’t let the impressive jargon and confusing numbers slip past you – find the best evidence, and then actively engage with the material. Lively debate is what science is all about, so ask questions, fill the gaps in your knowledge and share what you find with your colleagues. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Image: Medieval dentistry. Retrieved from


Fake Journals and Critical Evaluation

My focus as an information-literacy instructor (AKA librarian) is to get people to critically think about the information in front of them according to certain criteria. I encourage students and staff to judge information on its individual merits and ask themselves, “does it pass the C.R.A.A.P. test?”

There is no definitive list of “good” or “bad” sources. Youtube can be a valuable source of information, with universities now posting lectures online, or conferences posting presentations. These videos will be adjacent to parody songs, political rants, and footage of cats riding vacuum cleaners. The internet is both the best and worst place to find information – it just depends on the type of information you are looking for, and how skilled you are at evaluating it.

Fake Chickens at Night. Retrieved from:

Fake Chickens at Night. Retrieved from

Students may think that they are safe using scholarly journals – thinking that if something is peer-reviewed, then it is above reproach and doesn’t need to have the same critical evaluation process applied to it. However, even information presented in the most reputable scholarly journals is not the gospel truth – it can (and should) still be analyzed, critiqued, and disagreed with.

In the era of easy, open-access publishing, a slew of scam journals has emerged, often with fake editorial boards, and extremely poor peer-review processes. The blog Scholarly Open Access, written by an academic librarian, reviews these shady journals, which often charge exorbitant prices for publication and prey on scholars who are new to academia and keen to publish. In some cases, scam journals will lift the names of prominent academics and attach them to journals or conferences without permission (or even notification).

So keep critically evaluating journal articles, and check out the Scholarly Open Access blog for examples of what to watch out for. It’s a strange new world of publishing out there.

Finding the Needle in the i-Stack

Almost 5 years ago a University in Ireland commenced a novel interdisciplinary Masters in Medical Science (Health Informatics) program. One of the opening units had an interesting title called Finding the needle in the i-Stack. It opened my mind about the advantage of keyword search strategy in finding the information you want. Mastering Summon and online library search engines is a skill. Here is one video which will help you Find the needle in the i-Stack. It also displays the benefits of YouTube as an educational tool. The more consistent one becomes with using these databases and search engines the less frustrating future searching becomes (Please allow for the shameless subjective account).

 Since  2008, finding the information in the i=Stack has moved to Social Media resources such as YouTube and Twitter. The problem with so much   information out there is YOUR Critical Analysis of this content. What will benefit your studies and what wont. With the influence of virtual learning networks such as YouTube we are resourced with visual descriptives of clinical skills. This can have a huge advantage for the visual learner. If the content displayed contains clinical skills that compromise the philosophy of evidence based care then we need to be aware of this. You can access  one such paper calling for rigorous critique of clinical skills on YouTube here.

 Go well searching.


Getting Started with APA Referencing

Hello NPD 100,

As we start talking about referencing this week, it’s important to understand why we reference before we learn how to do it. Citation management software such as Refworks (and others) are only tools – without a sound knowledge of the principles of referencing and the main elements of an APA citation, you’ll get stuck. It’s like being able to drive a car without knowing the road rules.

Check out this video by Massey University (New Zealand). It’s 14 minutes well spent and will give you a good background for tomorrow’s lecture.

Refworks: Let’s get this party started!

Next week we’ll be talking about Refworks in NPD 100.

 NPD 100: Please create an account with Refworks ASAP. Go to this page on the library website:

This is also the page that houses the APA Referencing Guide for Nursing (on left side of page), check that out too.

Sign up for a New Account with Refworks, using your Notre Dame email address.

You’ll get an email confirmation. Hold on to this, it contains a Group Code which you might be asked for later.  If you are signing up off-campus and need the Group Code, I have posted it (for legal reasons) in an Announcement on Blackboard.  Basically Refworks formats and manages citations online, and there is also a plug-in you can download into Microsoft Word so you can input citations as you write.

Here is a 2-minute overview of what Refworks does.

What is Evidence-Based Practice and where can I find the best research?

Evidence Based Practice (EBP), also called Evidence Based Medicine (EBM), refers to the use of high quality evidence to support clinical decisions. At its most simplistic, EBP involves the following steps:

   1. Create a clinical question. The PICO format is most commonly used.

   2. Review the literature to find articles which seem to answer that question.

   3. Critically evaluate those articles. Different article types will rate higher or lower based on
scientific standards.

   4. Apply the evidence-supported decision to your clinical practice.

   5. Evaluate the effectiveness of that decision in practice.

The UNDA Nursing Subject Guide has tutorials on what EBP is, and databases to find the most relevant research:

Find out more at

Welcome to 100threehundred!

This blog brings together information resources, tools, and technology to support staff and students in becoming information literate digital citizens.

Check here often for featured resources, blog posts, and guest writers. Keep up with the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NPD100.

Do you have all the answers? Know how to look them up?

New Evidence-Based Resource: UptoDate!

Up to Date is here! Click the link below for access: staff and students have full access on campus, students only off campus. Questions or comments may be directed to your librarian, and we hope you enjoy this fantastic new resource!