The benefits and risks of social media for nursing
Two views on the pros and cons of social media
One prolific user of social media is David Dawes, founder of the social enterprise Entreprenurses.
He says social media enables nurses to connect with their peers working in similar fields, wherever they are in the world. Mr Dawes finds that it is particularly useful to share learning in rapidly changing areas such as research or health policy.
Mr Dawes says it can also enable nurses to have a “dialogue with groups of people that would be very expensive or very time consuming to do in any other way”, or be “a very good source of practical and emotional support when nurses are facing difficulties”.
“Blogging is an extremely good way to influence the profession, share knowledge and stimulate debate. LinkedIn is excellent for developing professional contacts, growing your network and for finding new jobs and opportunities,” he says.
He adds: “Twitter is a very good way of sharing ideas rapidly with large numbers of people and is one of the best sources for breaking news and clinical updates.”
Andy Jaeger, Nursing and Midwifery Council assistant director of professional and public communications, is the author of the regulator’s new advice on social networking sites.
Like many other professional organisations, the NMC uses social media to communicate with its members and the public.
However, Mr Jaeger says the NMC is seeing an increasing number of fitness to practise cases involving the use of social networking sites and more requests from employers for advice on disciplinary situations involving social media.
He says the NMC is investigating “a number of cases”, many involving Facebook.
The NMC does not advocate a blanket ban on nurses and midwives from engaging with social media and supports its responsible use.
Mr Jaeger says the guidance is there to help nurses and feedback has been positive.
“We have written the guidance not to scare people but to give people the tools to protect themselves online,” he says.