Communication, switching on and Basil Fawlty

This is my second blog in exploring how the 6Cs are evident in our online nursing activity – in the first blog last week I explored how courage is apparent in every tweeting nurse. In this weeks blog I want to explore communication…

can telephonesOk so I have to admit that this one sounds obvious and I can hear you all now saying that social media IS communication and I would have to agree with you, to an extent! In nursing communication is somewhat of a given, we communicate constantly with the people we care for, with their relatives, their carers and we communicate with people within our teams and the wider healthcare community beyond … in fact as nurses do we ever stop communicating? But the mere presence of communication in nursing is not enough and the same can be said of social media. Within social media communication is also a given and we are constantly communicating every time we tweet, update our Facebook statuses, post a YouTube clip or share a blog but is that enough ? To truly communicate surely we need to do engage? This YouTube clip demonstrates my point >


basilfawltyThis clip cleverly demonstrates that in order for effective communication to be achieved all parties need to be “switched on” Basil is clearly communicating with the hotel guest but she is by no means tuned in to his messages and clearly not engaged. Basil tries shouting louder but that does not work and eventually Basil himself gets fed up and tunes out. Do I see this in nursing ? Unfortunately sometimes yes I do – in nursing there are those that engage fantastically and there are those who struggle with it and the same can be seen in our online nursing behaviour. Some people just talk regardless of whether the audience is switched on, some people SHOUT their messages in the attempt to make themselves heard and some people switch off altogether and refuse to listen.

NP2Having said that for a bunch of early adopters of the use of social media as nursing professionals I believe we are getting it right more that we are getting it wrong. Nurses put others professions to shame in the way that they listen to each other and share important messages. Nursing conversations are productive and inclusive. Nurses are sharing colourful and engaging content to get their messages across and this is reciprocated with important feedback decreasing the possibility of “switching off” and giving up. If you don’t believe me take time to stop and listen and watch – nurses are excellent role models in communicating via social media. I would have to advocate to anyone to not be a Basil when using social media to communicate … be a nurse


6c-logoWith the launch of the 6Cs Live! Hub a few weeks ago the 6Cs have been greatly on my mind – care, compassion, communication, commitment, competence and courage may be words that have been wrapped up and presented in a new way but they are age old nursing values and it’s wonderful that they have been brought back into the forefront and language of nursing. It is my belief that we can’t talk enough about the 6Cs because I think that the more we talk about them the more we will both recognise them in others and in ourselves and the recognition of these values will reinforce and promote them within the very culture of nursing.  These days for me social media has become a huge part of my nursing life and I have been thinking a lot about how nurses are demonstrating the 6Cs in their online presence and the more I have been thinking about it the more I recognise and see it.  For many nurses the 6cs are interwoven into their behaviour and this can be seen online you only have to take time to watch and listen.  With this in mind I want to spend my next few blogs discussing each of these values and how they are shining through on social media with the aim that if we start that journey of recognising the 6Cs when we see them we will reinforce them in nursing culture.

courageNow oddly I am not going to start with care I am going to start with courage, for reasons that will become apparent as you read on! When the 6Cs were first discussed I clearly remember thinking that courage was a bit of an odd one to have in amongst them.  However the more that I thought about it the more I realised that courage is a key nursing value.  Nursing courage is can be in the smallest of things and the greatest of things. The emotional courage that we display every working day when we reach out and hold a hand, the courage we show when we nurse through emergency situations, and the courage we show when we stand up and say “that’s not right” Courage in nursing comes in many forms.

Awards_2013This week I have had to find some courage as I presented WeNurses to the judges of the EHI Awards for the best use of social media in health award.  It has to be said that I am really not the bravest of people with these sorts of things and the thought of doing this and having the responsibility of speaking for WeNurses 7609 followers absolutely terrified me! Somehow, mainly thanks to breathing deeply, I made it through the presentation and onto the judges questions.  One of the judges asked “Why do you want to win this award?” I think I must has visibly relaxed because it was a question that I had thought about a lot leading up to the judging day! My answer was simple – it was courage.  To be a nurse and discuss nursing in the very public space that is social media it takes a great deal of courage.  When all around you are telling you not to do it, when your trust have a prohibitive approach to social media and when you are scared off with stories of misconduct through social media use it takes a brave person to actually step up and be an early adopter of this media as a nursing professional.  My reason for wanting to win the award was so I would able to recognise and reward that courage in every single one of WeNurses followers.

coaching_fish2Are all of the 6Cs evident in our online behaviour as nurses – well I guess that is something I will be exploring over the next few blog posts.  Is courage evident in our online behaviour as nurses? Undoubtedly YES! Without courage none of us would be here, having the courage to go against the grain, daring to think differently and exist as a nurse within social media is incredibly courageous and each one of you have my admiration and recognition because of that.  So why did I start with courage? Well because withinxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx social media that is where we all started … with a healthyxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx dose of courage.

Social media stories

In my blog “5 ways to get more followers … or not” a few weeks back I explored the concept of follower numbers not being an all-powerful social media measure, this week I want to explore a little about what are important measure in social media.

ruler1Social media is rather like nursing in that it is all about people – so how do we know when nursing if effective? How do we measure nursing? Well we take a wide range of measures from data to feedback from patients and we look at it on a large scale … however sometimes we look at it on a small scale, we look at the individual patient’s stories and how we have or have not made a difference.  I really like Patient Opinion, for those of you who have not come across it (where have you been!) it is a fab resource that allows patients to post stories about the care they have received – good and bad.  It’s a really fabulous way of measuring nursing as it allows us to concentrate on people and the things that matter to them…. Well worth a look, a read and a follow on Twitter.

Soft_rulerBut back to Social Media measurement – someone very close to me (and very clever with data) often says “You get the behaviour you measure” and he is very right! If we measure followers we will be focussed on followers so that is what we will get, if we measure Twitter RTs we will be focussed on that so we will see an increase in RTs and so on. So yes we do need to look at data, we need to look at followers, likes, mentions, shares, reach, sentiment and compare that with data of our peers and counterparts but as with nursing we must never lose sight of what is important – PEOPLE. Listening to peoples stories, to their tweets, to their updates and blogs about why they find what you are doing and how you are engaging useful.  Listening and responding to feedback is a vital part of becoming a valuable social media resource. As with Patient Opinion stories are a great way to do this and we have collected some really great stories via blogs about the #NurseCommunity and some great micro stories via tweets via @WeNurses. I will most definitely continue to measure via stories the impact that social media is having on people. If we want an engaged communities in health via social media then we need to start to measure the things that matter because as my wise friend says “you get the behaviour you measure”