Always up for an adventure, when invited to participate in “Germ University” in New York City, I quickly accepted the challenge – but then was a bit confused to find out that I would be “speed dating” with “bloggers.” I thought they knew that I was happily married! Well, adventure offers learning, so I decided to forge ahead and find out what this was all about. Prior to boarding the train north, I reviewed the event and some important definitions, including that of speed dating, an organized event at which participants converse with prospective partners for a timed few minutes in order to determine mutual interests. Bloggers are people who enjoy sharing their personal and professional expertise online; many of them provide wonderful information on child and family nutrition and health issues.
At Germ University, part of the 2015 BlogHer conference, NAPNAP and representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and the National Education Association (NEA) partnered with Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of Lysol, to introduce bloggers to the Lysol Healthy Habits program; fun, educational activities for children and families. We also shared health tips to prevent the spread of infection through speed dating on the Healthy Habits School Bus. The mission of sharing information through technology was the theme of these encounters, and we did our part. We talked about what a PNP is and does, the importance of immunization, and a child’s healthy start to school. You can learn more about the event at www.lysol.com/our-mission/healthy-classroom/healthy-habits-tour/ or read more healthy tips from NAPNAP and Lysol.
The exhibit hall was only one educational venue on this adventure. Amidst the social media theme, the conference opening session introduced some key advocates for children and diversity, including Soledad O’Brien, CNN correspondent and journalist, who has supported secondary education for challenged young women through her Starfish Foundation, and Anna Maria Chavez, the CEO of the Girl Scouts of America. If you are not aware, the Girl Scouts now highlight technology for cookie sales and advocate for girls around the world, increasing involvement in math, science, technology, engineering and outdoor activities; creating healthy relationships; and strengthening financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
My reflections from this exciting experience include:
1) We have become so accustomed to engaging through nursing or medical meetings, we may not have considered other venues offering educational opportunities!
2) There are many advocates outside of traditional health care who can offer children opportunities to positively affect their physical and emotional well-being. Teachers, school nurses and our friends at the CDC are integral partners in keeping children healthy.
3) We are privileged and fortunate to be able to provide direct health care for children, but certainly can benefit from cheerleaders, like bloggers and Lysol Healthy Habits, who will help us spread the word about health maintenance and prevention!
Social media offers unique ways to communicate important information, but the learning curve may be steep for some of us! If the next adventure requires more in-depth preparation, I am up for it! Let us know about your health care blogging or social media experiences by leaving a comment! I look forward to hearing from you!