The FOAM Movement And How To Improve Your Nursing Education

FOAM stands for, Free Open Access Meducation and is an up-and-coming way healthcare professionals are interacting with one another to add to their educational foundation. Explore this way of expanding your medical and nursing knowledge in ways that not that long ago would never have been possible.


After nursing school your options are limited on ways to expand your nursing education. You either: go back to school, gain certifications, read a journal, attend a conference or rely on your department to add to your nursing knowledge. All of the above are good options, but they have some downfalls.

They require: more money spent on graduate school or journal subscriptions, extra trips to the hospital on your day off, travel out of state or across the state to get to a conference that seems interesting to you and the all day or multiple day requirements of certification classes and conferences. Not so appealing, right?

What if I told you that you could expand your medical and nursing knowledge by just logging on to the Internet? Would you believe me if I also told you that this education was free? Also, that this education was brought to you directly from your peers and colleagues? If you are as intrigued by this as I was when I first heard of this, let me tell you that you are in for a treat. This is a movement that is currently happening on the Internet called FOAM.

FOAM stands for, Free Open Access Meducation; Medical education for anyone, anywhere, anytime.1 This form of education can be delivered over various numbers of online formats. Those formats range from but are not limited to: podcasts, blogs and Twitter. Personally, I gain the most from using my personal Twitter account. I follow different medical professionals that directly discuss issues that I am interested in. Then if I like a discussion or conversation, I will click on the link that goes into further detail surrounding the topic or story.

What I love about the FOAM Movement is best summed up by this quote:

"If you want to know how we practiced medicine 5 years ago, read a textbook. If you want to know how we practiced medicine 2 years ago, read a journal. If you want to know how we are practicing medicine now, go to a (good) conference. If you want to know how we will practice medicine in the future, listen in the hallways and use FOAM." - From International Education Efforts & E-Learning by Joe Lex, 2012

I truly am fascinated and impressed by what has become of the FOAM Movement, and how it has improved the quality of care that I am able to deliver to my patients. Technology has made it possible for healthcare professionals around the world to all interact, exchange ideas and learn from one another. I feel as if I work at the finest hospital in the world, one that is forward thinking and a place where all of my colleagues are just as passionate about patient care as I am. A place where it is not competitive, but all about the end goal and that end goal is centered around improving the care we are able to deliver to our patients.

Now that you are at the edge of your seat with excitement and ready to dive in, let me get you started. First, I would suggest signing up for a Twitter account. After this, search for the hashtags: #FOAM, #FOAMed or #FOANed (The "N" just replaces the medical "M" for nursing, which will just focus your search). This will result in a ton of material that you can get your feet wet with. Then, as you like what another person on Twitter is tweeting about, follow them and also take a look at who they are following. This will then build up your news feed with a ton of new information every day. Another way would be to search the above hashtags in Google as well. A benefit to using Google is that you would be able to add in more words to your search. For example type into Google, "#FOANed emergency nursing" or "#FOANed nursing school".

As much as I am able to go on and on about all of the benefits of the FOAM Movement, I will add a disclaimer. User beware, the Internet is the Internet and just because the information is being identified in some way a "FOAM", please consider the source and do your own research. This will safeguard your practice and validate the educational material that was posted. By sharing this within the post, you will not only be adding value to the material, you will also be giving credibility to the person who originally posted the educational material.

With that being said, have fun with FOAM and get involved today. The sky is the limit for how FOAM, #FOAMed and #FOANed could impact your nursing career. I encourage all nurses to create a twitter account and become part of this exciting new way to continuously be building on your nursing knowledge, all in the comfort of your own home.

To learn more about the history of the #FOAMed Movement watch the video below:



1.) FOAM / FOAMed - Free Open Access Medical Education

Nurse Practitioner / Author
17 Articles   43 Posts

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Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

Thank you- excellent article!

Julie Reyes, DNP, RN

44 Articles; 260 Posts

Specializes in pediatrics, occupational health. Has 6 years experience.

Wow! That is so cool! I never heard of this! Thanks so much for sharing!


2 Articles; 1,406 Posts

Specializes in nursing education.

I have a friend on Facebook (a physician with whom I used to work) who is widely read and constantly posting wonderful articles and commentary...and starting great discussions. So I agree, this is a great concept. I haven't had such a positive experience with LinkedIn groups (lots of spam and garbage there, even in otherwise decent groups). So I go with FB every time, because I have become friends with so many strong clinicians on that site. Plus, kitten pictures.

Nurse Practitioner / Author

Michael M. Heuninckx

17 Articles; 43 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Department.

In response to Julie Reyes, DNP, CPNP-AC, RN, I am thrilled that I was able to introduce this to you. Have you had a chance to try it out?

Michael M. Heuninckx

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience.

What a riot....all the ads for FOAM surrounding this thread! :D Ah, the literalness of the internet!


556 Posts

Okay, I'm trying to understand the OP. On his Twitter, there has been only 282 tweets from him. Does 282 tweets make a person an expert on FOAM/N? You can follow WHO, CDC, which the CDC has several accounts, it depends on what you want to follow. There's doctors and nurses on Twitter as well. I consider it "networking" or brushing up on new ideas. And there is a lot of not true stuff on Twitter as well. No offense to the OP.