Wednesday, July 18, 2012

journal of a new student

The text book: Pharmacology for Health Professionals 2011
This month I am beginning university studies at Flinders (SA), in order to undertake
"an accredited and approved program of study determined by the Board to develop midwives' skills and knowledge in prescribing"
This is a requirement for midwives who have notation on the Register as eligible for Medicare.  It is a new extension of practice for Australian midwives, as I noted in a previous post.

The topic is within a Graduate Certificate of Midwifery; will be by distance education, and is to be completed part time in one semester.  The text book, Pharmacology for Health Professionals, Bryant and Knights, 3rd edition 2011 (pictured) is a weighty tome that appears, on first glance, to be well presented and comprehensive.

I plan to make entries to this journal each week, for my own record as well as for readers who are interested. I would like to record an overview of this journey - not a step by step process. I hope to be honest and objective, not sugar-coating, and not bad-mouthing any aspect of the experience.  There will be times when I expect I will find it difficult to set aside time for focused study.  I won't be the only one experiencing this.  Any midwife who has a caseload has a high degree of unpredictability in life, when we must put the women and babies in our care first. 

I have not been enrolled in a university course since the late 1960s, and I have pretty well forgotten the details of that year! I completed hospital-based nursing studies (Royal Brisbane) in 1972, and hospital-based midwifery (Women's, Melbourne) in 1973.  I studied for, and passed exams for the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant certification on several occasions in more recent decades.  (Oh, I also studied Chinese painting, but that doesn't give me any prior learning credit!)  My other university experience is that I am a casual lecturer, tutor and marker in midwifery at Deakin University.

As I embark on this journey I wonder if my ageing mind will be a problem.  It's not that the knowledge is new learning - it will be good to review current evidence, and to check my 'knowledge' against what the course topic expects.

My style of learning is to take note of anything that varies from my current body of knowledge.  I think of it as a flashing red light, and I use this system in all areas of life.  When I listen to a lecture, or a sermon in Church, or a documentary, or read something, most is unremarkable, because it's what I expect.  But if something different comes up, I take note.  In a sense it's an editorial skill, but in stead of looking at the spelling and sentence construction, you look at the thought content and the conclusions.

When I go into my Flinders Learning Online site, and type in my password, I find topic information, and a forum to which all students of that topic are automatically connected (oh, the wonderful web and electronic databases!). There are 90 students enrolled at present.  Some have written introducing themselves; some have added a picture of themselves ...

There is an email site to which the course posts direct communication, and through which students can contact the faculty.  There are probably other aspects that I haven't found yet - you don't know what you don't know!

Enough for now.  As someone said, "Watch this space".

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