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Do you use social media?


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!



Readers' comments (9)

  • What a brilliant inspiration you are. There are lots of nurses out there in the twitter community who are finding value in social media and more importantly finding each other !

    Many of us have had similar journeys where at first we didn't really get it but now we are getting so much from it. I felt quite isolated as an agency nurse working part time with a young family until I started tweeting .... Now I feel like I am really part of the nurse community.

    It's all about sharing information and everyones input is valued. I too would advocate nurses to get involved ..... Thanks for sharing your journey Anne.

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  • it's a shame there aren't more examples of where nurses are using social media to improve their skills or work, typical that NMC offers guidelines (you'll be struck off if you do the following) but nothing inspirational to help us.

    Maybe the nursing times only wants to talk about things it has done in social media(has it done anything), rather than be truly social and provide resources to us?

    Can we have some direction to use social media well to aid the work we do, find new resources and work together as nurses online?

    Thank you Anne for your post, interesting personal experience which has value here ?

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  • The need to offer postive examples of how social media can enable nurses/enable nursing is a valuable observation posted by 'anonymous' @ 9:56. The community of nurses tweeting and sharing ideas, information and resources is growing; for example see Teresa Chinn (above). With the combined energy of the nursing community I am sure this will gather momentum to add a positive benefit.

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  • nadine woogara

    For more articles on social media, take a look at 'Do you tweet? Do you want to?' for a guide on how to tweet, and our weekly twitter round up

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  • Thanks for the links to nursing times content, but I am looking for actual nurse activities really. Pam's use of communicating content to her students sounds great.

    I googled Teresa and found some of her presentations that looked good ( ) (Great work Teresa)

    I also followed #nurseuk and found there is a twitter chat tonight for nurses via #nurchat (follow check out blog via @nurchat if you need more info) all about PREP and the recent Health Select Committee findings...looking forward to this!

    Any more examples please add details, as I never have time to check emails, or log in to forums etc using twitter and finding time for live chats is much more effective for me :)

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  • Its great to see people interested in my blog this time.
    For anonymous who posted yesterday afternoon - I agree - we need to more doing and sharing - if you follow me on Twitter am following loads of great people who post fantastic resources. I'm anniecoops on Twitter.
    I'd also love to hear how #Nurchat went last night as I wasn't able to join. Teresa is leading the way here as far as I can see. We need more nurses to know about this resource and to join in!
    Thanks everyone so far for commenting.

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  • Thanks Anne .. So far as I can see it's all about community and being part of that community is sharing what we know for others to learn. If we all take this approach then the online nurse community will be a truly great forum for learning and supporting.

    Last nights first #NurChat was a real milestone and all those who took part were very positive about the experience... But don't just take my word for it take a look

    We are all new to and are learning about how to use social media and my advice would always be ... Share, share, share !

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  • Thanks for a great blog Anne, great to see such a positive response too. I do empathise with anonymous (9 Aug 1.08pm). Having been without my iPhone for just a couple of weeks and relying on a laptop for access I found my activity dropped to near zero. I have felt completely out of it! I'm definitely looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. Having now made a move overseas it's so fantastic that I will be able to follow activity on a global scale so easily.

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  • As a recent newby to Tweeting, I too am amazed that I didn't get into this before. It so useful. I also think LinkedIn is a great Professional tool.

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