Nursing shoes?

Way back when I first started Tweetchatting and WeNurses someone very lovely shared the Starfish story with me:

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Being a nurse on Twitter is much like being a nurse full stop, we spend our lives throwing starfish and “making a difference to that one” however very often we do not know the true impact of our actions and the ripples that we create, we often just hope, that once we have played our part, things are better for the people we care for, in one way or another.  Being a nurse on Twitter I often have conversations and chats with many other nurses and healthcare professionals, never knowing if conversations have any impact, but hoping that the ripples created go some way to improving things and making a difference.  This week I was “totally floored” (as the kids say) when I finally met a long time Twitter friend and found out how the work that WeNurses does had made a difference to her.

Now there are a few people on Twitter that I feel I have grown up with, they are the people who have been there from the start and have supported and shaped (even though they may not know it) WeNurses into what it is today.  They are indeed a very small amount of people, I can count them on one hand, and some I have met and some I have yet to meet.  @NursieDeb – Debbie – is one of these people.  I remember from the start the amazing energy she had and how her passion for nursing really shone through on Twitter … however as Debbie lives in Scotland and I live in Bristol the chances for us to meet are practically non existent … or so I thought …..

At the weekend my lovely husband and daughter took me to London to go hat shopping, for my forthcoming MBE investiture, we had planned to spend the day in London, see some family and hopefully come away with the all important big hat!!! Whilst walking down Carnaby Street we came across one of my favourite shoe shops “Irregular Choice” – or as my daughter and I like to call it “shoes for princesses” – it was an entirely co-incidental, or so I thought. My husband encouraged me to go inside and try on some shoes! Ok, at this point I have to say I thought my husband was acting a bit weirdly, as he would never normally encourage me to buy shoes, however I brushed it off and made the most of it.  My daughter saw a lovely pair of flip flops and asked if she could try them on, so the shop assistant went to get her size and we waited.  Another shop assistant then appeared with a shoe box and opened it and started to pull out some very lovely shoes that clearly weren’t flip flops ….. by this point I was feeling a little discombobulated and said to the shop assistant “ errmmm those aren’t flip flops” at which point she looked at me and say “no Teresa they aren’t, they are very special  shoes for nurses!!!!” Ok, so now I must have looked absolutely lost and confused because I certainly felt it ……. The shop assistant asked “do you know who I am?“  I kind of did, but the confusion was still rife ….. “I’m Debbie” she said !!!

Oh my goodness !!! It was @NursieDeb – DEBBIE !!! With shoes, for me !!! Of course the shoes were by the by for a moment and Debbie and I had a huge hug and I incoherently started to talk about forgetting tissues and not having waterproof mascara on! Then I noticed there were lots of people in the shop, and someone taking pictures … and remembered the shoes !!!

So heres what had happened (the bit i didn’t know but slowly came out over the next half an hour) – Debbie had written to Irregular Choice asking them if they would make some special nurse shoes for me to go to the palace in for my MBE investiture, and they did …… and here they are:

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May I stress that they are nurse shoes and NOT shoes for nursing !!!! ;D

I never knew the impact that WeNurses had had on Debbie but as we talked more, and I tried not to cry a bit more (no waterproof mascara!), it became apparent that some of the ripples I had created had made a difference to one starfish.

Debbie is one of the most amazing people I have ever met and I am truly blessed to know her, she is knowledgeable, passionate, friendly, supportive and most of all she cares – I felt truly humbled that she thinks so much of me to have done this amazing thing, when in actually fact Debbie has also made a huge difference to me. Nursing friendships are one of the most awesome things and although Debbie may feel that I picked her up and threw her back into the sea … I know she has also done the same for me.

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So this blog is to really say thank you …. Thank You to my Husband and Daughter who are the most sneaky secret keepers ever, Thank You to Irregular Choice for taking the time to listen to Debbie and to stop and care .. and, of course, for the lovely nurse shoes ….. Thank You to Josh from Irregular Choice for making us feel so welcome …..BUT most of all THANK YOU to Debbie who is more than a starfish she is a SHINING STAR :D

Gold-Star

Saying the right thing .. (PUNC Response Part 2)

As with my previous post in this series “Keeping Up (PUNC Response Part 1) I have been meaning to write this blog for quite a while, but the feedback I have had from some PUNCs. (Plymouth University Nursing Cohort) regarding Tweetchats and their value has kick started my thinking – for which I thank them for :)

I remember when I first started Tweeting … It was some 5 years ago now … There were no NMC Social Networking Guidelines, no advice from NHS Employers and my employer didn’t have a social media policy … I wasn’t even sure if I could Tweet as a nurse, but knew I wanted to reach out to other nurses and so tentatively took some first Tweeting steps as the anonymous @AgencyNurse.  It was very difficult in those early days to know what to tweet, to get comfortable and confident with what to say …. Today things are very different, there are lots more nurses tweeting and there is a plethora of guidance to help nurses take those first steps.

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Until I read the PUNCs feedback it hadn’t really crossed my mind that Student Nurses would be so worried about what they Tweet during Tweetchats … So I am so grateful that they brought this up.  Tweeting as a nurse for the first time can be scary however tweeting as a student nurse requires a huge amount of courage.  Thinking back there are a few things that may have helped me gain confidence in my early anonymous tweeting days around what I should tweet and how I should approach things during Twitter discussions, so let me share them with you:

Know your guidance - Have a read of the NMC’s Guidance On Using Social Media Responsibly and your local Social Media Policy – its helpful to know whats what and is a really good place to start.  I also really like this, as its short, sweet and to the point, and it goes beyond a do this and don’t do that approach and leans more towards a way of thinking:

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Be a lurker – spend some time just watching and see how other people do it. watch a few tweet chats and learn from other nurses.

Its not what you say but how you say it – someone once said this to me and I think it’s a very wise piece of advice. If you make it a rule to always be polite and kind then this helps enormously! It can be tricky to get your meaning into 140 characters but saying it nicely always helps :)

Be bold ? - Instead of making a bold statement I sometimes take a questioning approach Especially if I know it’s not my area of expertise. eg “What do people think of the use of honey to heal wounds?” Instead of “I think honey for wound healing is the best thing since sliced bread!”

Refer to evidence – if someone says something you are not so sure about or you don’t know about ask them if they know of any evidence around that Tweet. Or if you want to make a bold statement then add in the evidence that backs it up.

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Remember it’s a discussion – Tweetchats (as with Twitter in general) are a discussion not a broadcast, be prepared to engage in the discussion and be engaged with! Through discussion we can learn so much.

Everyone adds value – no matter who you are or where you are in your nursing journey (or even if you are not a nurse!) remember everyone has a valuable perspective and has something interesting to say …. Even you !!

Getting it all in – of course there are times when 140 characters are just so darned difficult, especially when taking part in a Tweetchat & you are going for a speedy response. In these situations I tend to write my tweet know I will go over the word count then cut out the bits that are not needed ….or cheat and use two Tweets!

Most importantly …..

Just be you ! What you bring to and what you tweet in a Tweetchat is valuable.  It brings your unique perspective, it gives other Tweetchat participants an insight into where you are coming from.  Be proud, be confident, be you :))

Once again can I extend my huge thanks to the PUNCs for taking the time to feedback and to Professor Ray Jones for passing on the feedback to me.

Keeping up (PUNC response Part 1) …

I have been meaning to write this blog for quite a while, but have been spurred on by feedback I have received about Tweetchats from some PUNCs.  By PUNCs I mean the lovely Plymouth University Nursing Cohort, and not rockers with green and pink hair and loud music! In their feedback the PUNCs said that in general Tweetchats were valuable, however one of the points made was that some students found it difficult to keep up, especially when new to Twitter. I hope in this blog I can help with the keeping up part of that feedback …

tweeting-150413_1280When I first started #WeNurses Tweetchats were a lot slower paced with fewer participants – these days Tweetchats can have over 200 people taking part at any one time ….keeping up can be tricky !!

Here are are few tricks to help the PUNCs and you (passing blog reading person) get the most out of Twitter chatting:

twitter-245460_1280Don’t stress !! Sounds simple doesn’t it? Twitter is merely a conversation and we each do that many times a day, don’t we ? Well maybe not if you are a hermit but I am guessing as a nurse a hermit existence many be a little challenging!  . There is a little secret that I will let you into that helps me not to stress …. no one keeps up !! You can’t possibly read it all in such a short space of time and you will miss stuff … So don’t worry, just stick to the few tweets that catch your eye and answer them.

Try seeing things from another perspective – try a different platform to Tweetchat from. WeCommunities have the Chat Now page, but others worth try are Tweetdeck or tchat. Find a platform that you are comfy with – what works well for one person doesn’t always work well for the next.

Screenshot 2015-04-04 10.19.54Look out for the #EBP tweets.  Although lots of knowledge and experience is shared throughout Tweetchats the links to evidence are also important.  When people add #EBP to their tweet too (in addition to the chat hashtag) it means they are sharing a relevant piece of evidence.  Unless you are a super fast speed reader it’s probably not best to read these links during the Tweetchat but search for them all afterwards … Just type #EBP and the Tweetchat hashtag into the search box and hey presto all of the evidence is before you eyes!! Find out more about #EBP here.

Check your notifications – ok I know I said don’t stress but it is really important as this is “social” media that we are polite and kind and don’t ignore people …. So take time directly after the Tweetchat to check your twitter notifications and reply to any direct comments or questions.  Just politely say “Oops sorry missed this .. But ….” (Or words to that effect) People don’t mind, in fact they are normally quite please that you responded.

There’s always a transcript !! Here I refer to and reinforce my first point too of “Don’t stress” … Most Tweetchats have a transcript shared afterwards, with WeCommunities it’s automatically generated so available straight after the discussion, so just head to the relevant chat page on the website and read at your leisure. #NoStress

kringel-277997_1280Slow it down !! With some Twitter chats a summary of the discussion is available – this is usually someone’s reflection of the discussion written in blog form.  With WeNurses discussions we aim to do this within 24 hours of the Tweetchat … In addition to this you can also add comments to these summaries, so any points you wish to make in the longer and more considered format of blogging you can.

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Follow afterwards – Twitter is all about people and making connections so it’s really important to follow all of the interesting people you have just met on the Tweetchat afterwards.  That way you can continue to have useful and interesting conversations beyond formal Twitter chatting … So connect and make new friends .. Be social !

Practice makes perfect.  Ok so who of you out there managed to ride a bike the first time you sat on it ?? I am betting not many (if any) as with any skill tweet chatting takes a little practice. Spend some time lurking and watching, then send a few Tweets, maybe post a post chat summary comment, then see how you get on with adding a few tweets into a discussion.  Take it at your own speed … and always remember my first point .. DON’T STRESS !!

With no time at all and the few tips above you will be getting a huge amount of value from discussing with your peers via Tweetchats…. And the you are ready for the next step of running a Tweetchat !!

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Of course these are just my tips and I encourage you, Dear Reader, to add your own tips below by adding your comments.

In my next few blogs I hope to address some more of the PUNCs very valuable feedback and in turn provide a little more of an in depth guide to Tweetchats and getting the most out of them.

Lastly can I extend my huge thanks to the PUNCs for taking the time to feedback and to Professor Ray Jones for passing on the feedback to me.