Hopefully you'll have noticed the link to the top right for the Comprehensive Pain Assessment Workshop. This is an idea I've been toying with for probably 2 years now, but haven't pulled the trigger to this point for a variety of reasons; some pragmatic (no time, not sure on the content I wanted to offer), some more philosophical (the overly romantic notion of the academic martyr), some technological. Nonetheless, I've finally decided to jump in to the Professional Development (PD) pool, hoping to make a rather large splash with a hybrid in-person / online livecast workshop open to any health care provider. I'm trying a number of new things (at least for me) in an effort to see just how much we can use open-source technology to improve access to PD for those in otherwise underserviced areas, with low overhead and therefore low costs.
Broadly there are two options for participating - either live and in-person (the most interactive option that will offer the greatest learning opportunity) or by live webcast that still allows participation through use of the Google Moderator question engine. The entire session will also be video recorded and made available for all registered participants (even web participants) afterwards, or sold for a small fee to those who weren't able to join the day.
The impetus for this event has come from different stimuli. In terms of PD for health care providers, we recognize that access is a barrier to participation. I am currently chairing a PD Task Force for the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, and access is one big barrier we've identified as a challenge. This has also come from our recent set of ICON publications, from which survey data tells us that clinicians are aware of different pain assessment techniques, but few are using them properly. Finally, they say you should teach what you know, and I know pain assessment. 'Quantifying the unmeasurable' is a mantra in our lab - how can we give clinicians a window into the experience of their patients, and how can they properly use triangulation to understand a) what the problem is, and b) how to address it. I intend to cover all of these topics in an easily accessible way with this workshop.
So, this is either going to be a smashing success, or go over like a lead zeppelin. Probably the biggest risk at this point is technology-related - will the mic work, will the camera work, will the bandwidth hold up? I'm nervous but excited about the opportunity, and if it all goes adequately smoothly it may open a new, highly-accessible approach to PD that circumvents the problems of access. Want to join me on this adventure?