Everything changes…

I read a really interesting blog post a few days ago by one of my favourite bloggers @parthaskar Broken?” In this blog Partha asks if Twitter is broken, he remembers a time when “Twitter used to be a milder place, actually a fun place, a place to learn, a place sometimes for support. That world still exists, albeit shrunk. It bristles with indignation, with anger” I have to say I agree with Partha Twitter has changed since those early days, things are different however my thoughts are that we live in a different time to that of 5 years ago when I first started blogging and tweeting.  Ok, I agree, I am somewhat stating the obvious here so let me explain:

Twitter does not have the same feel as it did 5 years ago, could this be largely due to the fact that the world does not have the same feel as it did five years ago? We live in times of austerity, political flux and uncertainty in healthcare and this is bound to effect what people say and what people share in social media spaces. Heraclitus was once famed to have said:




A wise man that Heraclitus! Every time we step into Twitter its not the same and we are not the same.  We may not notice the subtleties, of change in temperature, change in composition, or the even the increase in fish from day to day and its only through looking back that we see what appear to be vast changes instead of an ever evolving thing.  But perhaps we need to look forwards ?

Heres where I come back to Parthas blog post and his thought that many people would like Twitter to be “a continued space of education and support.” I stand amongst those people and although this function still exists we also have the political (sometimes angst ridden) melting pot that sits alongside, which is by no means wrong … just different to what it used to be.  I guess what I am saying is its up to us!

The ecosystem of Twitter is as complex as human nature itself and the only thing we can be certain of is that it will continue to change. This is our space to shape and influence so lets ensure that it’s a balanced and productive space.


Are we ready for social CPD?

It was some 2 years ago now that Calvin Moorley and I wrote for the Journal of Advanced Nursing Using Social Media For Continuous Professional Development and much has changed.  Revalidation has been implemented and more and more nurses are engaging professionally via social media.  However I think much of this article is still very relevant and the concept of using social media for CPD is still very new to some.

A few weeks ago someone asked how many nurses were using social media for continuing professional development, not being sure of the answer I thought that a quick straw poll via Twitter might shed some light:

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A resounding (and I say resounding for reasons that will become clear in a moment) 37% said yes!! So why resounding … well I think that’s pretty amazing as look at how far we have come … it wasn’t so long ago that social media in nursing was totally frowned upon and here we are at a stage where people are using it to inform their work.  What was more interesting were some of the comments we received following this poll:

Screenshot 2016-07-11 14.57.01 Screenshot 2016-07-11 14.57.25 Screenshot 2016-07-11 14.57.37

Which is pretty wonderful as people clearly are thinking about it, and I started to think that maybe as peoples time to Revalidate comes closer this will spur them into action? Then I read Jenny Clarkes blog post Revalidation – My Journey and I loved how she made a passing reference to using social media for her CPD … it made it all so common place and .. well .. normal! Social media is part of our everyday “normal” lives and it’s becoming part of our everyday “normal” working lives, some of us are further along on this journey than others but its wonderful to see how nurses (and midwives) are creatively using their time in social media spaces to inform their work as practitioners.

This leaves me with a few questions? How do we help the “not yets”? How can we make using social media for CPD easy and accessible? How do we help people to become socially CPD savvy? Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Just because a conversation is virtual don’t rule it out as a learning point for CPD
  • Be open to learning anything from anywhere – a tweet, a YouTube video, a blog, a Twitterchat, a Facebook post, an inforgraphic (I could go on!)
  • Remember to critically appraise the information you are presented with – this doesn’t have to be formal but it’s important to always dig a little deeper and not take things at face value
  • Use #MyWe – its fab for reflecting on Twitter Chats for CPD (and its free!!)
  • Use blogs to their full potential – comment on them, add your reflections and join in discussions in the comments section, take screen shots and add them to your portfolio.  Also write your own blog and use it to reflect on practice and learning (the WeBlog is really simple and easy to use for those of you without a blog of your own) and add this to your CPD portfolio
  • Think differently – no matter what social media you use or how you use it think a little differently about it, ask yourself the question “can I use this for CPD?” if the answers yes take a screen shot and save it
  • Share what you learn from so that others can use it for their CPD too
  • Share the value of using social media for CPD with colleagues (there are some handy posters HERE and HERE that may help)

Of course, I don’t have all of the answers, merely a few suggestions … the wonderful thing about social media though is that one thought often leads to another and I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions around social CPD.

Build it and they will come?

I don’t know who first said “Build it and they will come” I vaguely recall some 90’s movie with aliens and a cornfield but I am not even sure if they were the first to coin the phrase … anyway “Build it and they will come” … what utter nonsense !!! Yet it seems to be a phrase that I am hearing with alarming regularity in healthcare social media so let me clarify this here and now, at no point at anytime in the history of life the universe and everything has the hard work stopped once we have “built” something … there is no doubt in my mind that it’s once you have built the hard work really starts.


I guess that you are probably wondering what on earth am I rambling about this time ! Well here’s the crux – it seems that all too often in healthcare that we create a hashtag, create a video, create a blog or even create an infographic and then sit back think we have done all the hard work so we don’t have to do anything now …. Errrrrr wrong !  Yes its brilliant that we have this fab stuff but unless we do something with it then all our hard work is pointless.

Let me put it another way … imagine you built a shop, and in that shop you decided to sell everything that ever existed and a few more things besides… it’s a pretty cool shop.  However there is absolutely no point in just building the shop, how will people know about it? How will they know how to get there? How will they know how to use the shop, is it self service or do you ask at the counter? How will people know why they should visit your shop? Who will serve people in the shop? How will you evaluate that your shop is a success? How will you improve with your next shop?  ….. this is exactly the same in social media.


If we have created something cool, something useful to nursing, something amazing that we want people to share, help develop or use we need to do more than just merely build it.  We need to consider:

  • Shouting (in the social media sense) about it … tweet about it, FB about it, share it, share it again and keep sharing it
  • Use role models and advocates to help you share it and show people how to use what you have created
  • If needed create instructions – this is often needed if you are asking people to participate in or do something eg a webinar or a twitterchat
  • Make sure there are people who’s role is to drive sharing and engagement around your cool stuff
  • Measure what you do, how it works, collect feedback
  • Evaulate, work out how you can do it better next time
  • Do not underestimate the resources it takes to do social media .. and even more so to do it well

Build it an they will come should be left firmly in the 90’s … doing social media well means putting in a whole heap of work … but it is so worth it when you see the difference it can make to the people we care for.