Anne Cooper, National Clinical Lead for Nursing at the Department of Health Informatics Directorate, is getting to grips with social media
I confess that for quite a long time I didn’t. I didn’t really ‘get it’ or understand why I would want to, or what it offered to me. It was all a bit too scary really!
I do use Facebook but that is about my personal life; I understand to make sure my security settings are set to make sure I am protected and the need to treat Facebook carefully but I guess if anyone is interested enough to want to know that’s it’s my book club next Friday then they are highly likely to be a friend anyway!
Facebook for me is social and personal but is still treated with a dose of common sense and healthy respect.
Twitter is another thing all together and over the last few weeks I’m blown away by the power it can give to keep up to speed with what’s happening.
It first came to my attention when I went to the RCN Congress and I had a bit of a light bulb moment. I always thought twitter was about telling people what I was up to but actually I suddenly realised that lots of organisations were also tweeting and that as a result, if I selected professional organisations I am interested in hearing from such as the RCN, NMC and Kings Fund to ‘follow’, actually twitter is a great way of staying up to date.
At the RCN congress even though I didn’t attend everyday, following the tweets really made me feel connected with what was happening and as you might remember this year was a busy one! I rarely tweet except to share professional resources I may have discovered or when making new connections.
I’ve also found other like minded people, nurses who want to stay in touch with what is going on and see the potential for Twitter to act as a professional resource. An example is Pam Nelmes who is a nurse lecturer and active tweeter using twitter to keep her students up to date with new evidence and thought provoking materials on the web. She tweets her students as she finds interesting pieces of information, creating a really up to date professional feed for them to use as a resource.
Pam says: “As a fairly new tool I wanted to utilise Twitter to improve communication.Twitter enables ‘timely’ dissemination of information, web-links and access to free resources such as healthcare related audio podcasts and video content. This immediacy coupled with Twitter’s ability to promote discussion and a sense of community, has great potential to enhance the student experience.”
The NMC recently published their guidance on social networks and I find this really useful and sensible. Using social networking for professional development seems to me to have huge potential and it would be fantastic to hear of any examples of nurses using it in this way.
My final comment is – If I can do it you can too!
If you follow the advice of the NMC it’s not really scary at all!