We are about halfway through January (depending on when you are reading this !) and I have to say OMGOSH what a start to 2020!! As I am sure all of you know by now, 2020 is the International Year of the Nurse & Midwife, and not only has plotting and planning on how to celebrate this landmark year started but already events have taken place … one such event is nurses and midwives leading the @NHS Twitter account, and I was privileged and honoured to start this by leading the account for the very first week of January.
For those of you who don’t know @NHS is a rotational curation account where various people who work for or are connected to the NHS lead the account for a week. My week of curating the account was a wonderful journey that helped me to reflect on how I use social media and how I connect with people.
I have to say at this point that even though I lead the @WeNurses account (with over 91 thousand followers) everyday leading the @NHS account (with a mere 46.7 thousand followers) was a very scary thought. It struck me as being rather like being asked to take the school hamster home for the week; even though you have your own pet the fact that you are responsible for someone else’s took it to a whole different level of responsibility.
When the Monday morning of my week of leading arrived I was more than a little nervous … however my nervousness turned to excitement when I logged on to see one of those little Twitter blue ticks next to my name !! It was at that point I thought “lets do this” and decided to get on with it and use the week to celebrate nursing and midwifery, social media and self care.
It was really important to me to start my week with #hellomynameis, it seemed to me that not only would it be a hat tip to the amazing Dr Kate Granger and her #hellomynameis campaign but also it just seemed like a polite and respectful thing to do. I knew that there would be people out there who didn’t know me or know of WeNurses so an introduction was a great starting point.
I wanted to share so much throughout the week and had a long list of stuff … however once I got to tweeting and chatting my list got boiled down to the items that were most important for me to talk about:
The International Year of the Nurse & Midwife: For me this is a really important year, it’s a time not only to celebrate what we do but also to show the world the diversity of nursing and midwifery and what we do. It was great to share some of my thoughts and stories and also to share the stories that others tweeted. It was also brilliant to share some #YearOfTheNurseAndMidwife resources.
Social media & learning through social media: Social media is a big part of my nursing life, and it meant so much to me that the @NHS team opted to pick a nurse who is so vocal about social media use to lead the account … to me this represents a huge (if gradual) shift in the way we think about social media in nursing. It was great to be able to share things like the digital professionalism work we have done with nursing students through things like #PUNC19 and #MDX_EL that uses social media to help students to learn about using this space as a healthcare professional. It was fantastic to share the upcoming WeCommunities and Public Health England project WeLearn #AllOurHealth and how we are using social media to help health and care professionals learn about preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing (find out more here)
Self care for nurses: I loved being able to share the importance of looking after ourselves as nurses and making time to exercise and eat well. It’s such an important topic as in order to take care of others to our very best ability we need to be fit and healthy ourselves. 2020, to me, seems like an ideal opportunity to think about us (nurses) and our care too.
My wonderful midwife: I took the opportunity on my final day of tweeting to talk about my wonderful community midwife. She was a lady who had such a huge impact on me and my family that and it was brilliant to share and celebrate her and midwives … what was even more fantastic were the stories that others then shared about their wonderful midwives.
This seems like four small things … but the conversations that were generated from these themes were brilliant. The whole experience was was like being at a party where you didn’t know anyone but leaving with the feeling like you were best friends with everyone. The experience has left a lasting impact on me, here are some of the things I will take forward:
- Don’t be afraid to re-share your story on social media: as a long time social media user I feel that maybe people have heard my story and perhaps even lived some of it with me … however the reality is that many followers have come in part way through … so its worth sharing your story again from time to time. It’s also worth encouraging others to share their stories as we can learn so much from other peoples journeys.
- Take time to talk to new people on social media: I think we can all get stuck in a rut of just chatting to the people on social media that we know, however my week leading @NHS reminded me of how wonderful it is to talk to new people. I loved chatting and engaging with people who I hadn’t me before and this is definitely something that I will take forward.
- Be brave: When I think back to the start of the week and feeling nervous about taking the helm of @NHS I feel a little silly now ! It’s sooo important to be brave and jump into opportunities as we can learn so much by doing new things … I was very glad I decided “let’s do this”
- Make time each day to share and connect: Throughout the week it was really important to be organised as i needed to fit in leading the account with all my work and family commitments, so I put aside some time each day to share and connect. It was just 10 minutes or so three times each day but i found that it worked really well .. it made social media more of a coffee break thing rather than a full time thing … and i think this is a healthier way to look at it.
- Switch off: The rather lovely lady who telephoned me from @NHS at the start of my week said to me “life and work come first” .. this was exactly the right thing to say as it gave me permission to switch off. When I think back to my early days of being in social media as a nurse I would quite often post that I was switching off for the evening / day, it seems to me that it’s something that I need to do more of. Social media is fab but we also need time to be us in the real world. I have since added to my account bio that I don’t tweet on Saturdays.
2020 looks like a promising year … already I have learnt so much and there is soooooooo much more to look forward to ! My final though for this blog post though is to grab every opportunity that 2020 throws at you … as you never know where it will take you, who you will meant and what you will learn … 2020 #YearOfTheNurseAndMidwife let’s do this !