Is nursing competence evident online ?

I am now over halfway through my series of blogs about how the 6Cs are evident in our online behaviour having already explored courage, communication and commitment I want to take a little look at competence.

I believe that competence is very much in the eye of the beholder and each person will measure competence differently so it is important to understand what is required in order to explore competence.  Whilst doing some leisurely surfing online I came across this diagram:


This shows the entwined relationship between knowledge, skill and attitude and how they combine to produce competence. Looking at competence from an online nursing behaviour perspective is quite challenging but if we break it down into these areas it is possible to recognise competence.

knowledgeKnowledge – You only have to read through the latest WeNurses chat transcript to see that there are an awful lot of very knowledgeable nurses out there in the Twitterverse.  Furthermore the knowledge is as wide and diverse as nursing itself and is being shared at a phenomenal pace and on a global scale.


attitudeAttitude – Sarah Fraser expressed the attitude of the online nurse community rather eloquently in her blog Is #wenurses THE NHS social movement? Sarah wrote “These are nurses who don’t talk about what’s wrong, or complain about the reforms. They are asking questions about how they can be better at what they do, how they can get help in understanding changes” This is something I wholeheartedly agree with, the online nursing community have a “can do” xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxattitude and what’s more it’s highly contagious!

skillSkill – Now this is a little tricky as one would assume that nursing skill is tied up in the practicalities of our roles from administering medications to inserting catheters and beyond.  However what about some of the skills we often forget about? Communication skills, leadership skills, role modelling skills and our skills in supporting our colleagues and being part of a team are all skills that are highly evident in our online behaviours.

As I move through each of the 6Cs in this series of blogs it is becoming more and more evident to me that the more I am aware of the 6Cs the more I see them, recognise them and in turn the more they influence my own nursing. But the one thing that strikes me with competence is the overwhelming evidence that more and more nurses are becoming competent users of social media on a professional level.  Nurses are using social media in a safe, responsible and productive way however nurses who see the value of connecting in this way are still in a minority, therefore it is imperative that  we continue to share our knowledge, be positive in our approach and keep on acting as role models and lead the way.


Commitment, #MadeADifference and Chicken Soup

magI am a great believer in the more we look for something the more we shall see it – sounds obvious doesn’t it? But what I mean is the more we make a conscious effort to look for the good and positive things and acknowledge them the more we will begin to recognise them in ourselves and in others.  As nurses we are often so busy fire fighting and “just getting on with it” that we often don’t have time to stop and stare and recognise the good things.  This series of blogs around the 6Cs and recognising them in social media has so far been an eye opening exercise for me – here I am halfway through the 6Cs and I find that I am recognising them more and more in our online behaviour.  Having already tackled Courage and Communication I am now turning to Commitment.


smThere is no doubt that nursing is a tough job – physically, mentally and emotionally and I am of the opinion that often just by turning up to work every day and facing the challenges we face we show a commitment that many professions fail to comprehend.  However to take this role and project it into an online space shows a completely different level of commitment.  Nurses who engage via Social Media often do so in their own time, and are committed to exploring their profession in new ways using Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, Facebook etc.  If you take time to look and listen you can easily see our online nursing community are using these spaces to ask questions and share things of value all to advance nursing and ultimately provide better care for our patients. By being here and questioning and sharing and supporting nurses are showing immense commitment and this is something that makes me very proud to be part of.


chickBut as I said at the top of the page sometimes the more we look for something the more we see it and this certainly happened to me this week …. On Thursday I looked down my Twitter stream and saw nothing but bad news about healthcare and nursing, and after a particularly hard day I felt that there had to be some good stuff out there that I could read to redress the balance.  So I decided to take matters in hand and sent out a tweet asking for some good nursing news – to say that I was inundated would be an understatement!! Tweets came in telling me of nursing achievements large and small and it really was chicken soup for my soul.  Then thanks to the genius of @mandyhollis3 #MadeADifference was born. The wonderful thing about this hashtag is that it brought real life nursing commitment into a digital space where it could be celebrated and shared:


I think nursing commitment is in the small things, both on and offline, and the more we look for and celebrate those small things the more we will see them and how we have #MadeADifference.