#WGT16 Reflections: Who are we?

The day following WGT16 I remember reading Roy Lilleys blog post   – Roy always seems so very adept at turning blog posts around very quickly and very eloquent in his posts and his post WGT16 reflections were no exception.  The post talked about how a huge community of NHS workers are in regular touch with each other and how they have become a movement , it also talked about how the skills and knowledge shared at WGT16 sends out a serious message that may just have to be faxed to the boardroom!  And it was that final comment about faxing the  learning around WGT16 to the boardroom that really got me thinking … that there were the components of the boardroom in the room !!

WGT16 didn’t just bring nurses together but a whole range of professions and members of the public. In the room at Salford University that day there were nurses, midwives, doctors, pharmacists, students, hospital caterers, finance professionals, educators, patients, carers, health advocates, communication specialists, informatics specialists, and change enthusiasts.  And these people came from far and wide, the person travelling the farthest having come from America! What’s more the diverse range of backgrounds that people came from spanned acute care, community care,  national roles, managerial roles, student roles, mental health, learning disability, care of children and young people, dementia care, end of life care, education and so many more.  The virtual vanguard had come together with one goal – to see how they could improve services and peoples lives through social media.

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So I’m not so sure about faxing the learning of WGT16 to the boardroom I think that through word of mouth, through sharing passion to connect and through sharing learning the virtual vanguard are slowly but surely becoming the boardroom! It reminds me of a poem that was shared by Helen Bevan some time ago at a webinar presentation:


There were a whole heap of heretics and rebels in the room that day at WGT16 but rather than working against those people in the boardroom we are drawing them in …. Social media is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate and is a massive force for good in health,  no matter who you are social media can enable you to connect and learn.

#WGT16 Reflections: Looking at how far we have come

It’s now been a whole week sine #WGT16 .. the coming together of over 250 people all interested in health and social media and I have found myself reflecting on 3 things – the past, the present and the future.  This blog is, therefore, the first in a series of three; This blog post explores how far we have come, the second blog post will be looking at who we are and the third blog post will be exploring the possibilities.

It seems like many moons ago that the lovely Anne Cooper (@anniecoops) told me the Starfish story, it was when I first started WeNurses and Anne was very expertly explaining to me that making a difference to one person is still making a difference and is worthwhile.  For those of you who don’t yet know the Starfish story here it is:


This story has stuck with me over the 6 years I have been blogging and tweeting and whenever I have met someone who doesn’t yet see the value of connecting in social media as a nurse or I meet a new egg on Twitter or I help someone to set up a blog I have always thought …. “I have made a difference to that one” And although WeNurses now has nearly 50 thousand followers counting “in ones” is still something that I do.  I love celebrating the small wins – when someone tweets that they have done something different because of what they have learnt on a tweetchat, or someone thanks WeNurses for the support, or even when someone introduces someone new to WeNurses & recommends us as a good person to follow … these are all ways in which I know that WeNurses is making a difference, these are all ways in which I know the Starfish that I have thrown have made it !

One of the most amazing things about throwing starfish is that when people see you doing it they too start to join in … take #TeachANurseToTweetTuesday or #TANTTT this is all about throwing starfish together, making a difference to that one person and helping them to see the value of social media.  However the only problem with counting in ones is that it can be hard to see exactly how far you have come.

A few weeks before #WGT16 someone advised me to make sure that I took time out on the day to just sit back and watch for 5 minutes and take time to reflect.  #WGT16 was one of the most hectic days of my life however I did purposefully take 5 minutes and I sat on the balcony and just watched:


What I saw was starfish.  All of the starfish that we have all been throwing all coming together in one place.  Every person at #WGT16 had been touched by social media in one way or another and it had made a difference to them … so much so that many of them travelled hundreds of miles to come together, to meet others and to see how they could take social media in health forward.

I still believe that making a difference to one person is a wonderful thing, however I also not see the importance of not only counting in ones but also taking the time to sit back and see how far we have come and what we have achieved.  My learning from #WGT16 is simple – keep throwing starfish but take time to reflect & see all the starfish.


I want to finish by saying a thank you to Anne for telling me the starfish story all those years ago and for my lovely starfish gift :)

My next blog post will be more reflections from #WGT16 and I will be “Looking at who we are”