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How can nurses use social media responsibly?

Posted by:

30 July, 2012

Key points

  • Nurses no longer live together or work as closely together as they used to
  • Social media offers new ways for nurses to share knowledge and expertise
  • Previous social networking experience is not necessary to use Twitter
  • Twitter chats are an excellent way to use the site professionally
  • Nurses should comply with the code of professional conduct when using social media

Let’s discuss

  • How do you stay up to date and in contact with your peers?
  • Think about how people use social media in their personal lives. How could you use it professionally?
  • This article describes how Twitter can be used to link nurses together. If you are trying to solve a problem, how could you use Twitter to help you?
  • It is important to use social media responsibly. What advice does the NMC give nurses and how would you explain this to a student nurse?

Readers' comments (39)

  • Anyone who feels that "Twitter" needs to be a essential part of their lives is probably a Twit !

    I have a similar belief about those who need to project their face on "Facebook"

    There are many other means of communicating which are more than effective and don't result in your indiscretions being broadcast to the world !

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  • I agree entirely c. you.

    Twitter is and has been simply the latest fad and will, no doubt, be replaced before long c. a new one.

    In the nursing context, leave tweeting to our feathered friends and stick c. well-established older - but still effective - ways of communicating.

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  • Article: Chinn (2012) How can nurses use social media responsibly? Nursing Times. Published online 13 July 2012.

    subscription only.

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  • That is a very interesting point of view that you both have - which I very much disagree with. I would never consider myself a "Twit" and infact feel since using social media I am the most informed I have ever been and I know that many nurses agree. Social Media is a fundemental shift in the way in which the world is communicating and we need to be able to use thius form of communication effectively. In addition to this nurses have a lot to gain from using social media to connect with other nurses - acess to to professional expertise on a global scale, being able to talk to student nurses, consultants, directors of nursing and tap into patient networks is all very powerful and enlightening stuff. No doubt the telephone was seen as a "fad" back in the day !!!

    I am also quite suprised that you chose to make negative comments about social media whilst using a form of it ... this blog. I want to question the basis for your arguments and I would urge you to take another look and see the benefits that social media can bring to nurses and our pateints. Social media will not replace face to face communication or face to face nursing but nurses can use this medium to improve healthcare.

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  • Like it or not, Twitter and Facebook are here to stay, both platforms have changed the way that companies, organisations and businesses interact with their customers and consumers -- making them more open to interaction and engagement simply to survive.

    Nobody is saying that it will ever replace Face to face communication, because it wont. But being able to communicate at such a large scale with such speed between peers who you might not have even had the opportunity to meet in the past means that more and more staff are finding themselves on the same page, with things like the NHS Change model being rolled out social media is a great way to get everybody talking about it and to collect the feedback that goes with that conversation.

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  • Like it or not, Twitter and Facebook are here to stay, both platforms have changed the way that companies, organisations and businesses interact with their customers and consumers -- making them more open to interaction and engagement simply to survive.

    Nobody is saying that it will ever replace Face to face communication, because it wont. But being able to communicate at such a large scale with such speed between peers who you might not have even had the opportunity to meet in the past means that more and more staff are finding themselves on the same page, with things like the NHS Change model being rolled out social media is a great way to get everybody talking about it and to collect the feedback that goes with that conversation.

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  • teresa chinn | 31-Jul-2012 3:23 pm

    judging by the quality of many of the comments on a professional website such NT any kind of meaningful debate it is hard to believe the uses and benefits you outline above. although possibly with better discipline of all participants this might be different. The problems seem to lie with a few of the commentators rather than the media tools themselves.

    was unable to read the article as it is subscription only and I have no access other than online and am not prepared to take out a subscription for NT.

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  • eileen shepherd

    I always distanced myself from social media until 18 months ago when I started to use Twitter. It is an incredible rich resource for information about nursing and health care, with ideas and debate.
    It is interesting how a staff nurse can end up exchanging views with a director of nursing or a senior lecturer in a way that would probably not happen in a hospital.
    Twitter chats are particularly interesting with nurses exchanging ideas and thoughts on current issues.
    I suggest having a look at @WeNurChat which Teresa Chinn set up a year ago and @NTtwitchat and NT clinical chats. You can look at summaries and transcripts of these on nursingtimes.net.

    http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-specialisms/educators/nurchat-a-morale-boosting-cup-of-tea/5047616.article?blocktitle=Comment-and-blogs&contentID=4461

    http://www.nursingtimes.net/opinion/webchats/webchat-archive/

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  • It's a sad day when nurses need to join Twitter to find out what is going on within their world.

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  • I think those of us who have lived without all these electronic means of communication can look at it more objectively and see them for what they really are with their true value, uses and limitations, rather than being totally immersed them as so many of the young seem to be and unable to visualise life in any other way.

    there is an interesting divide of opinions here which may be that between the net generation and the older generations. I cannot think that any of the younger generations would wish to be without, or even believe they could manage without social media and their electronic devices.

    I won't pass judgement on Twitter and Facebook as I have resisted their use so far so have no idea whether they would be of benefit to me or not but I do know watching the behaviour and sometimes extreme frenzy of others with all their electronic devices I wish to keep mine to the minimum as I find they can easily take over and have a negative impact on the quality of one's life with the level of total absorption and of stress that they can bring about.

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  • i disagree with annonymous and annonymous above - it is neither a sad day nor a generational thing. I am a nurse in my mid forties who uses twitter (and i know older nurses online too) and it connects me to nursing information, other nurses and improves my practice.

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  • i disagree with annonymous and annonymous above - it is neither a sad day nor a generational thing. I am a nurse in my mid forties who uses twitter (and i know older nurses online too) and it connects me to nursing information, other nurses and improves my practice.

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  • Anonymous | 1-Aug-2012 10:00 am

    that is personal opinion so you can disagree as much as you like but that does not alter anything and nobody has asked you to agree!

    I said in my post and i did not actually express an opinion on whether I consider Twitter good or bad for the reasons I gave. there are older people who use it and many older people who chose not to and considerable research has been carried out on its uses by different generations as well as people expressing their opinions and experiences with it.

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  • teresa chinn | 1-Aug-2012 10:00 am

    if you think it not a 'generational thing' you obviously have done little research on it such as a meta search of the literature!

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  • I find a lot of value using social media as a professional - its a really useful tool the. And worth pointing out that over 50's are actually the fastest growing age group taking up social media

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  • I think everything in context and used appropriately has it's place. It's when it gets silly and is used to sort out bitchy remarks on the ward. I'm glad our trust blocked fb as it's bad enough being short staffed without finding nurses logging on in works time. I love technology and all that it can do but fb can't hold a patients hand n offer reassurance in the same way a real life face to face interaction can...

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  • it is fast becoming an obsession and masking peoples' ability to communicate face to face which is what patients and colleagues need - actually people who CARE and put the CARING before their own personal satisfaction of their own thirst for knowledge!

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  • What about the original question - How can Nurses use social media responsibly? Perhaps one of the answers would be 'by not going off-track with a discussion about twitter and facebook..' ?

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  • Anonymous | 2-Aug-2012 3:07 pm

    looks like you need to read the key points and 'lets discuss' or what would you prefer to discuss? you make no mention of this in your post!

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  • Like all tools there are positives + negatives, and its down to the individual on how it is used. Having used the 'internet' pre www days, I for one prefer easier access of information, discussion across time + space (eg chat/txt/tweets, blogs/posts, emails and across the globe).
    Although ppl hide their identities, may even have several ids, all communications can be tracked + traced, eg emails are not just stored at sender's + receiver's computers, there's copies on servers in between these 2 ppl. Though skilled / trained ppl can make this harder.
    It's another paradigm shift + challenging for ppl to adopt new ideas. Some will still claim the Earth is flat (probably is in their world).
    A thing to remember is ppls ideas + thoughts can change, so when you read a blog, the writers mind might be different by then.
    Patients are blogging how good/bad care/food is in hospitals. But like most things there is a hierarchy of evidence, where more supported evidence carries more weight (so does obesity). Nurses can separate professional + personal lives as well as their different roles.
    Age isn't an issue, there are some young luddites. On the whole, it just takes a little time for some to embrace change.

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