I’ve had my fair share of stale PowerPoint presentations. Trust me, I’ve given many of them, too. I find the presentations I enjoy the most have clean aesthetics, minimal text, and provide opportunities for storytelling. Considering I like those things in presentations, I choose to present this way, as well.
I had the lovely opportunity to speak on behalf of the Nurse Oncology Education Program to a group of nurses and nurse faculty at the beautiful Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth on Saturday. One presentation was directed for faculty on how to make oncology content “stick” in undergraduate curricula, something I’ve grown passionate about as a result of working with faculty over several years. The second presentation was about colorectal cancer screening.
Both topics can be rather dull, so I try to make the content come alive in any way possible – mostly with stories, vocal tone, and creative PowerPoint backgrounds. In preparation for the presentation, I couldn’t find any background I really liked, so I just made my own with simple shapes, lines, transparency settings, and colors. One of the nursing faculty members asked for the templates, so I thought I’d share, share, share in true Nursetopia fashion.
You can download the “Notepad & Tape” PowerPoint template here and the “Screen” PowerPoint template here. (Any large, unused space likely included a picture.) Enjoy!
I recently attended a conference that made me smile because each speaker discussed his or her passion. It was evident in their enthusiasm. I smiled because the passions aren’t what we typically think of when we talk about passion.
For example, Greer Gay, from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, loves to read the Federal Register. Say what? The Federal Register is a daily summary of the U.S. Government, complete with all the sections and subsections anyone would ever want to set their eyes upon. Ms. Gay has a healthcare politics background, and her work is impacting cancer programs across the U.S.
Again, at the same conference, Ian Thompson, MD, spoke about prostate cancer and screening. It was clear he is passionate about the prostate and ending that cancer. He’s devoted his life’s work to that cause.
Another friend of mine has a husband who works with mass spectrometry. Had I heard of it? Sure. Did I have any clue what it really meant to me as a nurse and general consumer of mass spectrometry-influenced devices? Uhm…no.
These people – and several others – made me think about the uniqueness of our passions – they are all different to some degree. And, I am thankful for that. The topics alone are meh, but when passionate people talk about the topics, they come alive; something changes. It’s the beautiful mystery of callings and missions and purposes.
So, whatever your passion is, I hope you fan the flame. Go ahead, nerd it up. Make the subject come alive to others. Be the difference.
According to the Institute of Medicine, “health literacy” is more than just being able to read; it is “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.”
Health professionals – even myself – speak a completely different language than the rest of the world. Yet, we’re shocked most of the time when patients don’t understand what we’re saying. We expect people to somehow know “PO” means by mouth, or we keep our processes the same – like keeping prescription bottle labels in one language even when we know a patient may not be proficient in that language. Heck, deciphering a prescription medication label is difficult for people (smart people) who speak English.
I found this out the hard way when my husband misread a medication label for one of our children. The instructions just didn’t compute, and I had to re-educate him. Now, my husband is educated, thoughtful, and a good communicator. With three children, we should have an in-home med cart at times; he gives our kids medicine just as much – if not more – than I do. He’s familiar with teaspoons and tablespoons. To me, the label was perfectly clear, but not so to him. Thankfully, the kiddo was under-dosed, and there was no safety concern.
It happened in my home. I guarantee low health literacy is much more prevalent than you think. You can easily assess health literacy and patient understanding via the Teach Back Method. Give it a try this week and see how your patients do – how well they understand what you’re telling them. It’s shocking.
Considering health literacy is the strongest indicator of a person’s health – stronger than age, income, employment status, education level, and race – and nearly 88% of the population with less-than-proficient health literacy, we must do better. Nurses can make a tremendous impact with patients and health literacy. Many states and organizations are working on this complexly simply problem – to ensure patients understand what healthcare professionals tell them. Search to find the statistics in your area as well as what efforts are happening to increase health literacy in your community.
Your community needs you to help; your patients need you to help.
The Article: Englund, H., Chappy, S., & Jambunathan, J. (2012). Ethical reasoning and online social media. Nurse Educator, 37(6): 242-247.
Big Idea: While nurses and nursing students frequently utilize social media, little research has been done to understand nursing students’ own understanding of the ANA’s Principles for Social Networking or their accountability for their social media posts and how they relate to the ANA Code of Ethics. After experiencing an increase in students’ unprofessional use of social media, researchers at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh surveyed their first semester and last semester undergraduate nursing students using a 21-item survey corresponding to the nine provisions within the Code of Ethics.
Survey Says!: 124 nursing students completed the surveys. Mean ages of the two semester groups were young – 22.4 and 24.4 years of age. The convenience sample was predominantly female, and the two groups – first semester and last semester students – had significant differences in their understanding of ethical decisions to not post certain information. Be sure to view the original article for the specifics of all the t tests.
Quotable: “The increasing use of social media sites by nursing students has opened a ‘‘Pandora’s box’’ of issues related to ethicality and nursing professionalism in a cyber world” (p. 243).
“Although the CON [College of Nursing] has a policy in place, unfortunately, results of this study indicated that 27.5% of the sophomore 2 students and 30.4% of the senior 2 students were either unaware or unsure if the CON had such a policy. Clearly, more effective methods are needed to ensure that students are aware of the CON’s social media policy” (p. 247).
So What?: The stories of nurses and nursing students (and other healthcare professionals/students) misusing social media are everywhere. This study indicates nursing students have varying levels of understanding of ethical boundaries while using social media and that it is a learned skill. Perhaps nursing schools and programs should more heavily focus on this skill early in the curriculum to circumvent future issues.
This study could be easily replicable in any nursing school in the world. In fact, the authors encourage others to use their tool to further validate the survey. Every nurse should reach out to his alma mater to make it aware of this study and the tool as it just might shed some light on this highly unstudied yet incredibly needed area of research.
I can brainstorm all day. Allll daaaay. We could sit in a lovely space, order in, squeeze our creative juices, and generate the heck out of some ideas. Most people can spout ideas, too, and really great ideas at that.
Those ideas are useless without planning, though. A good portion of people have difficulty planning ideas – moving from the “what” to the “how.” It’s really hard (and confusing) to implement ideas without a plan – a plan that’s been effectively communicated to everyone. The steps seem simple, but they are easily and/or quickly overlooked in many business ideas and developments, including those in health care.
If you’re generating stellar ideas, focus on your planning. If your planning is set, focus on your communication of the plan. If you’re communicating the plan, shift your gears to implementation, which should also include rigorous evaluation.
Open with a memorable – but brief – story while slide one projects one image conveying the essence of your story. Segue right into the content. Slides two through nine contain pictures with minimal text (i.e. seven to 10 words in 30-point font). Colors and fonts are consistent except when differentiation of letters or words are vital. Your opening story is threaded throughout the presentation, strengthening the content in your listener’s mind as you make logical connections between the story, the content, and the pictures. You’ve practiced your presentation so you rarely have to look at your notes, your body language is confident, and your voice is strong and unrushed. Slide ten returns to the opening story and image, closing with the three key pieces you want the audience to remember.
If only all the presentations we give and listen to followed these basic rules. We’d all might enjoy presentations a bit more and look forward to committee and board meetings like TED talks.
Soft music. Muted colors. A warm-toned voice over touting stellar care. A smiling healthcare team with b-roll shots of hand-holding and teaching moments that just so happen to take place next to perfectly-made beds, within recessed-lit rooms, and in surprisingly close proximity to cutting-edge technology and new equipment.
Marketers and PR agencies know how to highlight the positive and make people, processes, and programs look and sound real good. These kind of ads always make me a little nervous for organizations – yes, even those that do not employ me. I always think, “I hope that’s true,” because healthcare reality – starkly different – can be a shocker.
I cannot take credit for this phrase – “the resting face.” My pastor talks about this occasionally, and now I find myself laughing to myself in meetings, in the grocery store check-out line, and everywhere else. One moment in particular comes to mind when I really had to get control of myself because I thought I was literally going to laugh out loud as I looked at the “resting faces” around me.
The “resting face” is what your face looks like when, well…you’re resting. You’re awake but you’re not particularly thinking about your facial expression. Most people’s faces naturally fall; they look sad, actually, and disinterested. That’s not ideal in most business situations, and it’s a little disheartening for life in general.
Go ahead, take a look at the people around you today. Look at their faces. Then think about your own face. Yep, they’re probably very similar.
Think about your “resting face.” Wake up. Change it. You might change the other “resting faces” around you, too.
I hate that feeling of walking away from a conversation, mentally kicking myself, wondering why I said that. Ugh.
After one too many of those moments, I decided to edit my conversations and emails. Maybe even to a fault. It has saved me on a few occasions, though, as I’ve walked away from discussions thinking, “Oh, man. I’m so glad I didn’t say that.“
It takes much more effort to restrain conversation than letting it spew. When I start to feel compelled to say something within a group – maybe it’s “controversial” or different than what other leaders around me are saying or a bit emotionally-charged, I try to analyze my discussion points.
- Is it professional?
- Is my information accurate to the best of my knowledge?
- Is this conversation valuable, propelling work forward?
It’s quite amazing how these filters have changed my voice. I think that’s a good thing. Now, if only I could stick to it 100% of the time.