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Thoughts From A Clinician

FOAM: What is it and where did it come from?

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SMACC Dublin registration is less than a week away. Ahead of SMACC Dublin I am getting a lot of questions from friends and colleagues about what FOAM is. My first reaction is that I cannot believe people in society and especially in medicine do not know what FOAM is. For those who do not know FOAM is Free Open Access Medical Education also known as FOAMed. It is a movement that has come to be over the last three years or so. This movement has allowed practitioners from all over the world to collaborate and share ideas, techniques to improve quality of care for patients.

FOAM is a term created by a group of people over a pint of Guinness in a pub in Ireland in 2012 (1). Since then it has exploded into the best way to access medical research, connect, and to communicate with medical providers all over the world. Twitter is the base communication place utilized by FOAM users and then there are several FOAM style blogs, podcasts, and websites. That pint of Guinness started something that they never could have known what it would become. Seems only fitting that it would be returning to its birthplace.

Now you know what FOAM is, let me tell you why I believe in it so strongly. FOAM has allowed me to meet and interact with people I would have never met. I have collaborated with providers of all levels from all over the world for one purpose, to improve patient care. This article is not about what I've done or who I have met, it is about what everyone has the opportunity to do with FOAM. There are all kinds of people from all walks of life using FOAM. EMS practitioners, nurses, physicians, and everything in between. Anyone can find blogs, podcasts, and individual twitter handles that suit their interests.

You don't think FOAM is quite for you? Why? It is FREE! Whether you are a paramedic, nurse, physician, or just taking interest in medicine for the first time, try it. I met two of my better friends and outstanding practitioners through twitter and the FOAM community. It is about a community that has similar interests, goals, and passions. Almost instantaneously you will find things that you can use in your daily practice and change the way you do things. In the words of Scott Weingart, MD, "social media is how you change things" (2).

If you are already into FOAM then you know about the SMACC conference happening this June in Dublin, Ireland. I am attending and I will be tweeting during the conference. Follow me on twitter @NoDesat. Also, if you use FOAM please spread the word in your shop. The only way to improve prehospital, emergency, and critical care medicine is to get people into the FOAM movement. Challenging what we do and why we do it. Cliff Reid, MD with Sydney Area HEMS calls this dogmalysis. This means breaking down and debunking what has been accepted as the normal in medicine. Until the next blog post keep calm and #FOAM on!

References
1. http://lifeinthefastlane.com/foam/

2. http://emcrit.org/

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Klint is a United States trained Critical Care Paramedic, who hold specialty certifications in neonatal and pediatric transport as well as being Flight Paramedic certified (FP-C). He is currently pursuing a Baccalaureate degree in EMS Management through Western Carolina University. Klint works full time as Flight Paramedic in the Midwest, USA. He is also an EMS / Critical Care instructor with DistanceCME. In addition, Klint is FlightBridgeED's newest blog author and is heavily involved in Free Open Access Medication Education and EMS Education. Klint can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on Twitter at @NoDesat

 

 

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