Dr James Jap is Clinical Director and Palliative Care Physician at Totara Hospice South Auckland, Manurewa, New Zealand and is one of the co-founders of the palliative care virtual community of practice, Palliverse. Here, he explains the background to Team Palliverse’s longer article published in the March/April 2016 issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care.
For those of us working in palliative care, being members of a relatively young speciality, which ’mainstream’ healthcare doesn’t understand well, you can sometimes feel lonely or that “something’s missing in my life.” Palliverse wants to change the song from a solo to a choir performance.
My own song began in 1999 when, as a freshly graduated doctor, I did not feel well prepared for providing palliative care on the hospital wards. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t receive much palliative care training during undergraduate study. One reason that I chose a career in palliative care was that I wanted to ensure that future graduates would be better prepared than I had been myself.
Fast-forward to 2008 when I started my specialist training in palliative medicine. In my concurrent position of trainee representative, I wanted a non-email method with which I could keep in contact with my fellow trainees. On a very generous budget (New Zealand $0 = Euro $0,) I developed a private password-protected social network hosted on a, at the time, free online platform. Thus, PRANZAC (Palliative Registrars Australia New Zealand Are Cool) was created.
As the years passed, major life changes occurred: parenthood, a house purchase, and my first consultant position. As I became a grown-up, the website that I had maintained during my specialist training faded out of existence.
In February 2014, I was contacted by former-PRANZAC member Dr Michael Chapman, to see if I would be interested in developing a virtual community of practice aimed at Australia and New Zealand palliative care providers and researchers. Over the next seven months, the eight founding members made plans via email and online teleconference discussions. Utilising popular social media platforms this new community would target all palliative care providers – not just doctors – including nurses, researchers, allied health, and eventually (we hoped) consumers. We developed our website, Twitter and Facebook accounts in preparation of ‘going live.’
Our internet adventure was officially launched at the Australia New Zealand Society for Palliative Medicine conference September 2014. We soon realised that we had developed an audience outside of Australasia with website hits from all over the world – Automatic Globularisation (global popularisation.)
Palliverse’s version of the palliative care song is fresh, fun, and slightly irreverent. Our quest for world domination continues with current activities including conference presentations, tweetchats, social media workshops . . . the list goes on.
One of our long-term objectives is to translate our virtual community of practice into a real world community of practice. We discuss one occurrence of this in our article in the European Journal of Palliative Care.
Ask us about #FOAMPal – an exciting way to transfer palliative care knowledge and skills.
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Read the full article in the European Journal of Palliative Care
This post relates to a longer article, Virtual communities of practice: a novel tool for increasing palliative care engagement, by Anna Collins, Jason Mills, Craig Sinclair, Chi Li, Elissa Campbell, Michael Chapman, Sonia Fullerton and James Jap, published in the March/April 2016 issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care (vol. 23.2).
If you have a web-based subscription to the journal you’ll be able to download this issue, plus all articles in the journal archive. You can also browse the archive and download articles by taking a 10-minute or 30-minute subscription. Members of the EAPC receive discounted subscription rates to the journal – click here to subscribe online.
For more posts on the EAPC blog on social media and palliative care …
To read previously published posts relating to social media, click here or check the social media category on the blog home page.
Welcome to Dublin – 9th EAPC World Research Congress, Dublin, Ireland 9-11 June 2016
View the final programme here. Follow us on Twitter @EAPCOnlus – our official congress hashtag is #eapc2016irl
Look out during the congress for the ‘Twitter-Only Poster’ #EAPC2016TOP The ‘print-only’ abstract will be accessible online via the hashtag #EAPC2016TOP and the abstract will also appear in Palliative Medicine. (Twitter-Only Poster #EAPC2016TOP: #EAPC versus #ESMO – Comparative 2 Year Quantitative and Sentiment Analysis of Twitter Activity at EAPC and European Cancer Conferences, by Dr Mark Taubert et al.)