Though most professional conferences set to happen this spring were either canceled or turned virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic, sharing information — especially within the healthcare community — is as important as ever.
That was the thinking of Rachel Walker, the Ph.D. program director at University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s College of Nursing. On March 11, they asked the Twitterverse who else in nursing and academia would be missing out on sharing information this year.
Has your peer-reviewed poster/podium been *Canceled due to #COVID19?
Wanna get that info out there?#Twitter was MADE for this.
Email me (see bio) & let’s put on our own inaugural #Twitter Conference:
*CANCELED BY COVID
— Rachel Walker PhD RN (@UMassWalker) March 11, 2020
And the responses came pretty quickly, as Marion Leary, the director of innovation for the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, told Technical.ly this week. Leary herself saw the tweet, reached out, and became one of about a dozen organizers who worked over the last month and a half on the Nursing Mutual Aid 2020 conference.
The all-day conference, to be held Thursday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, will host 75 “speakers,” from nurses to midwives, presenting their work on Twitter. It calls on the idea of “mutual aid,” or sharing resources and ideas during a time where our healthcare systems are working harder than ever.
Each presenter will have a 10-minute time slot to tweet out a thread (of up to six tweets) about their topic under the hashtag #NMA2020. Marion told Technical.ly that folks can use gifs, videos, images and anything else Twitter allows to present their topic.
One of the things that a Twitter conference offers that some traditional conferences don’t, Leary said, is increased accessibility.
“There’s open access and anyone can participate,” Leary said. “Twitter offers a variety of accessibility and translation options, so there will be speakers from around the world that can just upload their talk in their native language.”
Folks who want to interact with the speaker also have the opportunity to do so by replying to threads, and that conversation can continue after the speaker’s allotted time slot is over. Some of the topics slated for Thursday’s conference include disparity during the COVID-19 crisis, why person-first language is important during the pandemic and healthcare in a digital world. A full program can be found online.
I'm looking over all of the #NMA2020 presenter intro slides and getting so excited. I am blown away by the breadth of topics. This Twitter conference on April 30th is going to be 12 hours of incredibly important content! You won't want to miss it! #amplifynursing @NrsgMutualAid https://t.co/vkpZbdpOGr
— Marion Leary MSN MPH RN (@marionleary) April 26, 2020
“We wanted to make sure this conference will center perspectives you may not see at other conferences, and serve as a space for marginalized voices,” Leary said.