#RCNcongress reflections …

Foreword

After my first day at RCN Congress this year my initial thoughts were “funny old day” It was pretty amazing to meet so many wonderful and passionate Tweeting nurses however it felt “weird” to not to have the #nursecommunity invited in via a Twitter wall in the main hall.  I also have some mixed feelings regarding Peter Carter, who seems a very pleasant person but is not interested in Twitter.  So please bear with me, this is not my usual blog style however I wanted to write an open letter which documents why I believe nursing leaders should Tweet:

Dear Peter Carter,

Thank you very much for popping by our #RCNcongress #RCNtweetup today I was very sorry that you had to dash off but great that you stayed for a picture:

congree

I was disappointed to hear that Twitter doesn’t interest you however also understand that sometimes it is difficult to understand and see the value in new technologies, even the telephone at its conception was hailed as “not a serious means of communication”

I thought it might be a good idea to put together some points for you to think on at your leisure (as I appreciate how busy you must be) as to why social media is fast becoming a serious means of communication and why I believe all nursing leaders should be interested in it (in no particular order as each is of equal importance) :

  • Digital natives – the generation now qualifying as nurses, and indeed making their own decisions as patients, have never known a world without the World Wide Web and coming fast up behind them is a generation who will have never known a world without social media.  This is the way that people are communicating, email is becoming old fashioned and the telephones primary function is no longer to make a phone call.
  • Being a nursing leader – as nurse leaders we need to communicate with people how they want to communicate, there is almost 20,000 nurses that I know of who want to communicate via Twitter …. And are!
  • The voice of nursing – the RCN proudly have a strapline that they are the voice of nursing so what better place to listen to that voice than on Twitter, where not only can you listen on a micro level to each individual but through the use of data and social media listening tools can also be done on a much wider level.
  • The nurse’s voice – this is the age where the individual matters and that means each and every individual. Nurses are finding their own voice via Twitter, Twitter discussions and sharing blogs and videos via Twitter, each nurse has their own voice should they so wish.
  • People not organisations – Twitter is about people, it’s not about organisations, it’s about people engaging with people.  Corporate accounts are ok but people are pretty fantastic.
  • Transparency and openness – in this new age of healthcare transparency and openness are king and rightly so! The transparency and openness that Twitter affords is unprecedented. This should be celebrated and embraced.
  • Being a visible role model – as a nursing leader it is important to be a role model, to engage and be engaging.  Every nurse is important, every nurse adds value and it is the responsibility of nursing leaders to not only acknowledge this but also to role model this. If we don’t make time to listen to people, in any space, what message does that send out ? 
  • Connecting beyond geographical locations and hierarchical boundaries – in a forum that is so open the possibilities are really endless.  The traditional hierarchies that stifled healthcare are ignored in our Twitter spaces to the benefit of healthcare, student nurses can talk to chief nursing officers and more importantly chief nursing officers can talk to student nurses.  And there are no limits to this, ideas, experiences, expertise, resources, evidence and opinions can be and are shared on a global scale.

Twitter is full of passionate, proud, caring nurses who are leading the way through the use of a technology that enables us to communicate in a way that we have never before.  I am proud to be a Tweeting nurse and sad that a nursing leader is not interested in the value.  However I also know that actually at the end of the day if you are not passionate about communicating with nurses in this way then being in this space is not for you.  I am not saying Twitter will change the world but I know that if one conversation with one nurse makes just one difference to one patient then it’s worthwhile.  The conversations, the sharing, the support, the exchange of ideas, experiences, practice based evidence, and opinion’s via Twitter will go on with or without you … if you want to listen you know where we are and you are always most welcome

Kindest Regards

Teresa Chinn

RN and Proud Tweeting Nurse

 

Thanks for bearing with me everyone and please feel free to add your thoughts below

What do you think?

For the last couple of months I have been working away on my NHS Leadership Academy Seacole Programme Leadership Initiative – which is all around evidence sharing on Twitter and during Twitter discussions.  Through chatting and discussing this with some of you lovely people out there I have found that there is a need to create a few short, shareable and social media friendly resources that will help with evidence sharing.  Here is an infographic that I have put together, I have had some initial feedback from the lovely “We” chat hosts but wanted to see what others though before we post it on the WeCommunities web site as a resource.

I would be really grateful if you would please let me know what you think? Is it clear? Is it accurate? Is it useful? Please post your thoughts via the comments, be kind but please be honest.

evidence final

 

Full circle

When I first started WeNurses I was an isolated agency nurse looking for just one other nurse to connect with. It’s really no secret that I didn’t set out to rock the nursing world or conquer the universe I really did just want another nurse to talk to.  I find myself these days often telling the story of how it was my amazing husband who got me to look for nurses via Twitter and how it was the lovely Anne Cooper who encouraged me to take it further and lead in this space. When I think back to the time I spent as an isolated, lonely and unsupported agency nurse it makes me more determined than ever to keep connecting nurses as I feel no nurse should ever feel unsupported and as if there is no one out there.

Social media has given nurses a huge opportunity to connect on a global scale and mobile technology has added to this by making those connections happen at the touch of a button and all in the palm of our hand.  Never before in the history of nursing have we been able to connect in this way and this is why WeNurses has become so successful.  Nurses sharing information, ideas, experiences, evidence, resources, knowledge and most of all support via WeNurses and the connections made through WeNurses is becoming commonplace on Twitter.

Its really quite amazing for me when a new community emerges and the start to WeSchoolNurses this week really warmed my heart.  Being a mum of three children I know how amazing school nurses are but there are so few of them so Twitter and Twitter chats are a great way for them to connect.  The first WeSchoolNurses chat was really a fantastic event as there was a wave of school nursing that came rolling over Twitter  with a really loud voice. Towards the end of the discussion some really beautiful tweets were shared but one tweet really struck a chord with me:

wescnsquote

Why did this resonate so loudly with? Well this was me, this tweet was how I felt after my first Twitter discussion – that I was no longer alone.

I have often thought of this poem in relation to my social media journey I first encountered it through listening to Helen Bevan at a Caremakers event and it has stuck with me:

images (3)

Sometimes extolling the virtues of social media in nursing and healthcare is a bit of a struggle and sometimes I feel a little like a heretic, but to be able not only to draw a circle but come full circle and help the nurses who feel like I felt is a big thing for me.  I often say one conversation with one nurse that makes one difference to one patient is a success ….. Through conversation we can do so much good and social media is, after all, merely conversation.

My hope now is a simple one – that no nurse feels unsupported and isolated ….. and a few more full circle moments would be ace too :)