etherConnecting nurses has been a passion of mine for a good few years now – working as an agency nurse I felt very isolated professionally for a very long time and this drives me to connect nurses and be connected myself.  WeNurses currently has nearly 10,000 followers and my waking hours do not pass without my phone alerting me to a tweet – in fact we worked out recently that WeNurses is tweeted on average 4 times an hour.  This is a pretty amazing statistic but it wasn’t always like that – I spent an awful lot of time in the early stages feeling like I was tweeting purely to the ether! I remember sending out tweets that were never answered so the fact that WeNurses is part of so much Twitter engagement now really warms my heart … as it means that nurses are connecting.

Yet however great connecting is we do have to always strive to think differently, push boundaries and drive the evolution of social media for nursing.  Staying static in any environment is not an option but more so in social media and because social media is akin to life on steroids evolution too is a super-powered, super-fast process.  When I first started WeNurses we were purely a fortnightly discussion forum for nurses however this is very different to the Wenurses we see today – now weekly discussions involve a range of professionals and also patients and carers, we involve organisations and encourage guest hosting, we encourage #nursecommunity and #madeadifference and we have recently developed a community blog.  In addition to this we have shared our knowledge and cyber space with other professions & nursing specialities.  We now do all of this across multiple platforms Twitter, Vimeo, Facebook, Pinterest, Prezi and Twibbon and using many different media – blogs, microblogs, videos, photos, pictures and  infographics.  That’s a whole heap of evolving that even Darwin would be impressed with!!

darwinThrough all of this I have remained very much in control of what is shared and how it is shared via WeNurses ….. but several conversations on Twitter lately have made me think about this.  As nurses we are striving to empower the people we care for and give them control of their care ensuring that they take the lead in their own care … I talk a lot about #nursecommunity and how WeNurses is driven by the community  … but is it really ??? I have been thinking a lot about how the natural next step in the evolution of social media and nursing is to become more social with social media.  It was this thinking that led to the advent of the community blog, giving nurses an open forum in which to reflect, question and share expertise and it is now this thinking that has led me to hand over the @WeNurses Twitter reins to four people to be @WeNurses for a day.  By opening up and giving people the opportunity to guest tweet for WeNurses we are evolving yet again to give a wider and more diverse nursing perspective … it’s a risk, and I have to say I feel like I am jumping off the edge of a cliff.  I have tweeted for and nurtured @WeNurses right back to when no one tweeted back, so this is a difficult thing personally for me to do.

However if you do not jump how will you ever know if you can fly ?


Watch the WeNurses blog this week as we will announce our Guest Tweeters …. And please continue watch and engage and help us evolve some #NurseCommunity wings.

And the grand total is …….

Every so often on Twitter a tweet gets sent out that just captures peoples imagination and gets people talking … well last night I was the author of such a tweet when I asked:


Well that was it … the flood gates opened and nurses from far and wide shared their years of experience.  For fifteen solid hours my phone buzzed and my maths skills were well and truly challenged.

So in true Blue Peter style the totalizer now stands at :totalyears2

*75 nurses responded in total and this figure is excluding breaks

That’s A LOT of experience … in fact its an average of 21.28 years each! But the really impressive figure is if we take WeNurses 9228 followers and we then work out an estimate of the nursing years on Twitter the totalizer really does start to smoke


196,371.84 is a pretty BIG number and equates to us being around at the birth of mankind!! (give or take a few years!) So the next time that someone doesn’t get the point of Tweeting or asks you the value of Twitter then please say 196,371.84 years ! With this much nursing experience, nursing passion and nursing pride at our finger tips how can we not rock the boat, stand up and make changes and drive passion and pride into our practice? How can we not share these years of invaluable experience in every way possible …. we have a NURSECYCLOPEDIA in the palm of our hands !

196,371.84 years makes for one very wise, experienced and old nurse! Though One question remains unanswered who’s making the birthday cake ? cake

Compassionate care and the #NurseCommunity

hearthandsI think care and compassion are intrinsically linked but unlike the other #6Cs this link is hard to unravel and care and compassion remain closely intertwined for many nurses – for how can we provide care without compassion and to be compassionate we need to also care.  It is because of this close relationship between care and compassion that I have chosen to explore them together, in this, the last in the series of my 6Cs blogs.

Now, for some reason I have put off tackling care & compassion until the end … well the end is here and I am rather glad that I left care and compassion until last:  Last week the #WeNurses Twitter chat focussed on compassion when guest host @heblau asked “Can nurses learn compassion?” and it seemed that all week Twitter was alight with compassion.  One of the things that particularly stuck out for me was the word cloud of the discussion:

comp wc


The words that really seem to leap out are Think Good Culture Compassionate Care and this clearly shows that nurses online really are taking compassionate care and making it part of their language online …. And, I hope, offline.

Although this shows that nurses are using all the right words when it comes to compassionate care it does not really answer the question of are nurses showing compassionate care in their online behaviour? However what ensued does – in response to the #WeNurses chat @LauraMarston92 wrote a blog “Compassion – Scared to care?” In this blog Laura outlines how during a recent placement she felt she had to “hide her compassion” and was sometimes reduced to tears – its an excellent blog that highlights some of the challenges we all face as nurses and its well worth a read. as a result of this blog Twitter saw an out pouring of compassionate caring tweets from the #NurseCommunity supporting and sharing Lauras story. Some of this compassion is evident in the replies section of Lauras blog and also in a blog that was posted as a response to Laura by @suehaines1 on the Community Blog “Compassion in care, student experience ‘scared to care’” – again well worth a read.

Compassion-Share-ItIt was wonderful to see the #nursecommunity compassionately caring for one another as to care for fellow nurses is sometimes a forgotten but important part of our role.  But compassionate care is not only shown in these “big” online happenings but also in the small quiet everyday tweets – often I see that a nurse has written that they have had a bad day and immediately they are supported by their peers, or a patient will share their story and nurses will compassionately tweet about it.

So yes I am proud to say that not only are we adopting the language of compassionate care in our tweets and blogs but we are also demonstrating a culture of compassionate care within the #NurseCommunity – and long may it continue!