New Year – New Journey

The year 2020 is winding down fast. We only have a few hours left and a brand new year 2021 will begin. I am sure many of us are looking forward to the new year this time. 2020 has not been the best in many aspects. The pandemic has made it difficult for a lot of people and their families.

Even for the people who still have jobs and have not lost family members to Covid, it is still strange and difficult not to visit with family and friends. Maintaining social distance is not the same as just socialize! My wife and I have been so lucky to receive the first vaccine injection several days ago. We will be getting the second in early 2021. Hopefully, bringing this vaccine to the main population will help to stop the spread of this dreadful disease. I truly hope that everyone offered the vaccine will accept the offer. Well, we know that will not happen. Unfortunately, this issue is much too politized to be just public health, even though there are no political barriers to this virus.

recertCRNA is starting to take shape. I have worked hard to find the best and most useful platform for this project. As mentioned in a previous post, I believe LearnWorlds is the one. I have been playing around with LW for a while, and I still like it. It gives me the possibilities I think I will need now and down the line when developing the site. Not only does it look beautiful, but it is also straightforward to work with and has so many capabilities for creating inspiring content. I believe interactional content will play a significant part in our future learning. Personally, I find it pretty boring to just watch a video of someone speaking to me. It does not make it much better, even when the message they bring is valuable. I still find it boring. If I could interact with the speaker, or at least the speaker’s presentation, I would pay more attention along the way. Thus, I would learn a whole lot more. I want our presentations to be interactive. This interactivity is obviously more time consuming when creating presentations, and we will be adding this interactivity down the line when we learn how to do it properly. But, lookout, you will soon find even more inspiring content on recertCRNA.

Happy New Year to y’all!

Happy New Year 2021

LearnWorlds LMS

I have now played with LearnWorlds LMS for five days, and I still like it a lot. It gives me all the tools that I believe I will need for the website and testing functionality. That is very promising. All other platforms I tried fairly quickly showed some weakness or none-starter feature that meant I had to abandon and keep searching. I have enjoyed experimenting with so many interesting platforms, and without the failures, I would not have known about what is out there. There are some amazing platforms with so many awesome features that it blows your mind! 🤯 I think I have found what I am looking for in LearnWorlds.

The one downside of these amazing platforms is the price. They are very expensive! Certainly not for everyone, and I have to think hard about signing up for all the features that I would like to have. Can my website generate enough income to pay for the platform? Can I entice enough great CRNAs to help me with building content? Without amazing content, even the most amazing platform will fail as a business! Nobody pays for an amazing platform; smart CRNAs want awesome content. I know that because that is what I want.

What is it that I like about LearnWorlds? Well, I really like the same in many of the platforms I have tried: the ease of uploading and designing the look of the website. This is very different than what I am used to with the other website platform I have used in the past. Even though I like the old platform, I have to say, this new system of just dragging and dropping “stuff” is very easy and you can immediately see how it looks. Another aspect I like is the testing ability of LearnWorlds. Most of the online teaching platforms I have checked cater to simple quizzes, without the ability to make the testing an exam (pass/fail). AANA requires a pass/fail exam. What I am launching on April 1st is what AANA calls a Provider-Directed Independent Study or PDIS website. For the learner to receive credit for their time spent on studying the material they must take a small exam at the end, which is required to be graded and passed with a minimum score of 80%. I also must show the learner which answers were the correct ones after they take the test. These requirements seem minor and I thought all teaching platforms had them, but noo! Most do not have these capabilities. Thus, the long road to find LearnWorlds.

Couldn’t I just have paid someone else to do this work? Sure, but again it comes down to money. 🤑 I am financing this project out of my own pocket, timewise, and financially. So, it is imperative to do most of the work myself. Yes, time is money, but I have more time than money at the moment. And, I actually really have enjoyed the journey.

Enough for today. Stay safe y’all.

Difficult Choices

Well, sometimes the supposedly easiest choices are just difficult!

I am in the process of deciding which platform will benefit the users of recertCRNA.com the most. There are so many considerations that need to be addressed, eg, look, theme design, ease of access, speed of site, account registration, security, cookies to make returning users’ experience better but not collect privacy data, test taking capability to satisfy AANA requirements, etc., etc..

Every time I think I have found a great fit, I spend a couple of days creating the website, upload and create some test content, including a test. So far, most of the platforms suddenly show they are not really up to the task for what I need. Some of these shortcomings are not obvious initially, and even the support staff, some of which are really helpful, do not know these shortcomings. I guess my requirements are not that common. Most people starting an educational website probably do not have the strict requirements dictated by AANA and NBCRNA!

I have gone through several different platforms. I started with a great looking and very easy to work with platform that was compatible with my usual go-to Joomla! website. Everything looked good, but the graded test was still in the pipeline, and did not know when this would be available. OK, move over then. I then looked around for another, more comprehensive, Joomla! platform and found Joomla LMS. This looked great, although it had a pretty steep learning curve when creating content. I found it too cumbersome and a friend recommended looking into Teachable.

Wow, Teachable was an eye-opener. These new platforms are so elegant and easy to use that it makes it “silly” to create your own website. I spend several days creating content, uploading files, pictures, etc., and then got stomped on the testing requirement. The recommendations I received earlier also included a couple of other platforms and I moved on to the next – Thinkific. Before this, I actually disregarded another suggestion, Podia, since I quickly realized they did not offer graded testing either.

So on to Thinkific. This really looked good, I could make everything work, it was easy to set up, the backend was just as good as Teachable, but the support was so much faster. It appeared as the support person who was assigned to me was very responsive from the get go. I was hooked. Kept working with her until she realized that Thinkific could not quite provide the full testing capabilities that I need.

Time to look around once again. This time I did a different search and is currently testing LearnWorlds. This LMS (learning management system) has so many functionalities that it seems unreal. I am really excited (sounds familiar!) about this LMS. I can see endless possibilities in making fantastic content that is much more interactive and interesting than anything I have encountered so far. And the testing capability? It is awesome. Everything I need – so far. It can do graded tests, allow a user to retake the test using a question bank. Hence, each test is different (AANA requirement, although not all vendors do this!), allow a set amount of retakes, and award a customized certificate after passing all the course requirements. Appears to have it all. Soo excited about this LMS.

I will keep testing and creating the site and hopefully this will be it. I will see. I have had this feeling of the “perfect” site before, several time actually, but I think I am getting closer.

OK, enough of this, it is time to get out of the office and do some Saturday “things”.

See y’all later.

Wow, sometimes it’s frustratingly slow

I have been working all day on getting this blog up and running. Sounds pretty easy to me. But, not so fast.
I finally got it to work tonight.
After installing some recommended software to my new WordPress site for my blog, the backend crashed. Yes, I could not log into the backend of my site. I could see the frontend, but that’s not much good if I cannot add new content on the backend. This took hours to figure out, but fortunately, the IT people at my hosting site were helpful, and we got it figured out. So now I can post this post!!
For those that read my first post, I am working on establishing my new business. First, I need to develop a platform where the company can run. I think I have chosen Thinkific for the platform. When I say “think”, I am still testing, and it does not appear that any of the platforms available will do everything I want them to do. The challenge is to figure out how I can circumvent what it can do to get to where it does what I want it to do. That is not easy, but I really like the challenge.
I called more contributors today and every single one I called sounded like they would like to join me on this adventure. Very exciting. I hope some, if not all, of these expert CRNAs, will join me in making premier content for the CRNA community. Time will tell, but I think most of the people I spoke to, whether by text or phone, may really turn out to create excellent content.
It does not sound much when writing this post, but I was actually busy all day. LOL.
Stay safe out there y’all.

Hello Anesthesia World!

Well, here I go. I am Michael Storm, DNAP, CRNA, CCRN, and I am launching a continuing education website for CRNAs.

I have been teaching anesthesia students, well residents, since I graduated from my own anesthesia program in 2005. Our initial class was the year after graduation, where we taught the class below us. Initially, we in my study group launched Nurse Anesthesia Review Course 4U or NARC 4U for short. We had studied together for the length of the program and had just passed boards all of us. During the many hours we spent together studying, we felt that there should be an alternative to the existing review classes on the market. We thought we could add to the pool of review courses being offered. We also did not feel that the products available at that time were the absolute best. Most of the material we were presented with from these businesses was quite dated. So despite the content being all right, we felt it was frustrating to have to spend hours finding the source of their information when we disagreed with the author. And we disagreed ever so often! Yep, we were pretty nerdy. Actually, we were proud of that – we still are.

NARC 4U closed shop in 2013, and I decided to continue teaching on my own. Well, let me rephrase that. I decided to continue teaching and start a new review course business because my wife decided she would help me out. Annette had recently graduated as a CRNA and was willing to help with the teaching. Also, my old study mate and NARC 4U business partner agreed to pitch in. So, with their help, I felt I had enough support to continue what I love – teaching anesthesia. Storm Anesthesia was born.

We have been teaching hundreds of anesthesia residents over the years. This has been a blessing, and we still love what we do. Bringing knowledge to others is just so much fun. It also helps us stay fresh and in the books. Anesthesia residents ask so many questions! Many of these are hard to answer without really digging deep into our brains. But it is all good. Love it.

Now, many of my colleagues have asked me over the years when I will be teaching them! Not quite sure why they would like that, but I take it as a compliment. So during this pandemic, where it is complicated and nerve-racking to attend a conference in person, it seems like a good time to bring all the material we have written over the years to the CRNAs. After all, there is nothing wrong with basic and advanced anesthesia principles. These never go out of fashion.

Over the last 3+ years, I have re-written (with help from my wife) all the material we use during our teaching. Our course manual was getting a little dated, although still up-to-date. With all this new and immensely expanded material, I think the timing is right to enter the CRNA market. Thus, recertCRNA.com.

That is all for today. I will keep everybody interested in what is going on with recertCRNA over the next couple of months, where I create presentations and ready my new website. In the meantime, you can still visit my Storm Anesthesia website: stormanesthesia.com, where we sell some sweet books.

Oh, I expect to go live with recertCRNA.com on April 01, 2021.