drawing of booksModule 1 – Unit 8:  Reading & Vocabulary

Internet-Based Professional Development

Read the abstract below and underline the topics and skills mentioned that interest you most (for example, writing). Consider what you know about blogs and any experiences you have had with them.


“Web logs, also known as blogs, are an emerging writing tool that are easy to use, are internet-based, and can enhance health professionals’ writing, communication, collaboration, reading, and information-gathering skills. Students from different disciplines now regularly use blogs as innovative educational tools. Healthcare professionals are expected to be competent in the use of information technology in order to effectively communicate, manage information, reduce medical error, and support decision making.”

Source: Maag, M. 2005. Comput Inform Nurs. 23 (1) Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/498947_print. Retrieved 3/20/2005.

Read the article below and answer the questions that follow.

The Potential Use of Blogs

Healthcare professionals are required to have effective communication skills. The ability to write clearly is necessary in order to communicate patients’ needs, medical data, and contribute to the body of health profession research. Furthermore, healthcare professionals are poised to advocate preventive healthcare measures through education. To broaden the health educator’s role, oral and written communication skills are essential. Therefore, the healthcare educator is required to ensure that future practitioners have the capability to use the Internet and keyboard the written word in order to meet computer-based competency levels. Since written documentation is an integral part of patient care, it is critical that the healthcare professional understands the legal ramification associated with poor or lack of written documentation during and following patient interactions. The Institute of Medicine recommends health care professionals be trained in the use of the Internet to be able to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making using information technology.

Blogs are automated, updated, self-archived Web pages that provide Internet-based links and allow for public responses. These interactive Web sites are not to be confused with message boards or listserves. A filter-style blog contains sieved information, such as articles pertinent to a specific field of study available on the Web, and provides a condensed interpretation of the topic material for colleagues, students, and/or friends. A diary-type blog, on the other hand, may be maintained by anyone who wishes to record simple thoughts, feelings, and/or daily reflections. Today there are numerous blogging technologies, which are user-friendly and available free to the public audience. Technology experts emphasize that daily blogging will enhance positive writing skills, instill self-confidence in voicing personal opinions, and promote reflective thinking that in turn will allow the writer to appreciate his or her personal opinions or ideas.

Blogs are easy and intuitive to create and use, and not just for tech-savvy individuals. Within minutes a novice blogger can set up a free account by accessing a hosted service, such as Blogger. Individuals may opt to have Blogger host the spot, or the blog may be posted to a personal Web site. There are many available blog programs, and it is recommended to visit Blogroots for an extensive reference of blog resources. Blogs are replacing some burdensome e-mail listservs as a spam-free method of communicating online. Educators have limited time to find information, and through RSS one may obtain necessary content material without combing through endless Web sites.

Blogs are being used throughout the educational spectrum, from grammar to graduate school, as well as by faculty members who wish to share current research projects. A student’s note regarding the use of blogs as a casual sharing of information in the virtual course stated, “I almost got the feeling I was sitting in a coffee shop somewhere and the person next to me poring over the newspaper casually said, ‘Hey, did you hear about this new thing that just came out …?’” This type of student comment regarding blogs supports the idea that it provides a sense of place that e-mails, chat rooms, or discussion threads do not.

Another proposal for the use of blogs in the healthcare educational setting is public debate regarding simulations and scenarios that might occur in the clinical setting. Since many students are concerned about passing their board exams, faculty can create a blog specific to concepts and questions that may appear in the examination, and the students may respond and debate the provided multiple-choice answers. An educator can model the importance of students’ contributions to the professions’ body of knowledge through writing and publishing. An example of a group blog is eCornell, written by faculty members at Cornell University, dedicated to the dissemination of research surrounding online education. Other educators have begun experimenting with the use of blogs as electronic portfolios for institution-wide assessment.

Technological tools that promote critical thinking, synthesis and provision of information, as well as publication on the Internet are not to be ignored. Interactive content creation on the Internet harnesses the powerful nature of the Web and allows one to express his or her journalistic and communication capabilities in a social atmosphere. Written communication is necessary in a multitude of healthcare circles to disseminate information on evidence-base practice and ultimately provide safer client care in an improved  healthcare system.

The art of blogging can unleash the hidden capabilities of aspiring writers and motivate the expression of thoughts, ideas, and interests in real time. Most important, personal publishing via Web logs can be an excellent educational practice because the medium promotes self-directed versus teacher-directed learning, encourages self-reflection as a model of social experience and self-identity, and enriches the process of learning. Perhaps more healthcare educators will seize the opportunity to introduce Web log genres, such as journals, notebooks, filter Web logs, and RSS to students as a self-motivated and community-supported tool for learners of tomorrow.

Adapted from: Maag, M. 2005. Comput Inform Nurs. 23 (1) Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/498947_print. Retrieved 3/20/2005.

Questions About Reading

  1. How does the article define “web logs” (blogs)?
  2. Why are written communication skills important for health care professionals?
  3. Does the article: (Check all that apply.)
    • describe the benefits of health care blogs?
    • give step-by-step instructions for creating a blog?
    • discuss the history of blogging from the 1990s to the present?
    • list different types of web log genres or activities?
    • describe the specific skills that a student can develop by using blogs regularly?
    • include an example of a blog posting in healthcare education?
    • list specific blogs for different clinical specialties?
    • provide direct comments by students who have used blogs?
  4. Does the article motivate you to explore blogs more? Why or why not?

Vocabulary Practice

Read the list of adjectives from the reading below. What do all these adjectives have in common? How are they different from other adjectives?

Compound adjective:  an adjective made up of two words that function as one unit and are therefore linked with a hyphen. The two words can vary in terms of their parts of speech:     


noun + adjective

adjective + noun

noun + noun

adverb + adjective


















Noun Modified



(Web pages)














Choose seven compound adjectives from the list above. Describe, or “deconstruct”, what each means in a simple way I the chart below. Write the two parts of speech that make up the compound adjective. Then add two of your own examples.


Compound Adjective


Parts of Speech

mentally-challenged (adult)

An adult who is challenged mentally.

adverb + adjective

patient-centered (interview)

An interview that is centered on the patient.

noun + adjective


Compound Adjective


Parts of Speech