Mid December saw the second round of #InCharge of WeNurses – for four days four people took charge of the WeNurses Twitter account. We had trialled this previously in September and it worked very well so we decided to give it a go again. We haven’t quite reached the stage of allowing anyone to take charge as yet so the #InCharge process was by special invitation only still. This time we had @STMHnurserahs a student mental health nurse, @DGFoord Director of Quality & Clinical Governance at a Clinical Commissioning Group, @uhcw_inf_con The Infection Control Team from University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire and @HoJane a Urology Nurse Specialist. Each person brought their own unique view of nursing to their tweets and brought a great perspective but what each person had in common was their passion for nursing and this certainly shone through. Some really brilliant ideas were shared and fabulous discussions were held, each #InCharge tweeter was wonderful…. Even down to the sharing of kitten and puppy pictures! However with all this tweeting being done for WeNurses I did find myself with the rare gift of time on my hands! At first I really couldn’t figure out what to do, I wrapped a few Christmas gifts and sat back and relaxed for a bit.. then rather inevitably I found myself doing something.
Having had a rather hectic end of November / beginning of December I have to admit to getting quite behind with the Mary Seacole NHS Leadership Programme work and it was all I could do to get my 1st assignment report out on time. With the slowing down of my life mainly due to the #InCharge InChargers (yes I know this is a dubious made up type of word, but nevertheless it’s very fitting) I was not only able to catch up a little but also to reflect on my #SeacoleProg journey so far.
One of the major concerns the first time our tutor group met was time. Many people identified one of their fears as not having enough time to devote to the programme. There is no doubt that time has been a major challenge since the programme started but I have found that I have ‘made time’ – I am really not sure how I have achieved this, but a little bit here and a little bit there seems to have worked and I have found that completing each section has not been too much of a hardship. One thing I did not account for though was the dissemination and adaptation of all this information to not only my own practice but also in relation to my own behaviours. I have found myself on a bit of an emotional roller coaster as I have assessed and analysed not only myself but also a project very close to my heart #WeNurses and the #NurseCommunity.
It’s no secret that I have never really seen myself as a leader but some of the things I have learnt through my journey and via the start of the Mary Seacole programme have shown me that we each at certain points in our careers and lives meet leadership challenges and that you do not need any formal authority in order to step up to these challenges. The recognition of my own leadership challenge and the skills I need to develop in order to meet it have totally overwhelmed me over the last few weeks. By really looking .. And I mean really looking … At what I do and where WeNurses is and the challenges that the #NurseCommunity face I have felt fear in the very core of my sole! WeNurses is growing and growing and with followers and tweets are doubling every 6 months. Questions like what if I am not up to it? What if I fail? And what if I find myself unable to cope? Have crossed my mind more than a few times in the past weeks. And the compounding factor being that this is social media and however much we plan it is like we are climbing Everest for the very first time so we really have no idea what to expect.
I guess this means that all of this leadership learning is working as it’s making me think and plan. Yes the future scares me … it scares me because I am passionate and because I care. I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know where social media and healthcare is going but I do know that in order to make the most of it we need a new type of leader – a digital leader in healthcare. This type of leader is emerging regardless of hierarchy, regardless of geography and regardless of no formal authority. People are stepping up to leadership challenges and facing them head on. I count myself very lucky to be part of this and am glad that not only do I have the support to do this but also that I am being given the skills.