Ever since Robert Francis released his reports into the Mid- Staffordshire Foundation trust and the appalling standards of care we have been bandying about the phrase “patient centred culture” We are all tasked with putting our patients needs at the centre of everything we do … and rightly so. As a nurse I firmly believe that patients need to lead their care, we need to work in partnership with our patients to ensure that we meet their needs with care and compassion, there is no doubt in my mind that this is what nursing starts and ends with .. the people we care for. However as I embarked on my NHS Leadership Academy programme this week I was somewhat thrown into a flux as I pondered on the question – do we focus enough on the people we care for in our social media spaces? And how can nursing social media interaction be more patient focussed?
So lets be clear here – I am not just talking interacting with and caring for patients via social media, (although I know that many people are making great strides and are pioneering fabulous work in this area) I am talking about our interactions, our discussions, how and what we share .. is it patient focussed? Do we take what we share and learn and apply it to enhance the way we care for people? When we discuss a topic do we know what the issues are that are important to the people we care for?
This weeks WeNurses discussion was around pressure ulcers and I tried something a little different – before and during the discussion I tweeted a link to the Francis Report with reference to the section where patients and carers comments about pressure ulcers are and I tweeted a link to a Patient Opinion search about pressure ulcers, where there were many patient and carer comments. It was nice to see that the links I tweeted were retweeted a few times and it was also nice to see that we had some patients taking part in the discussion and sharing their perspective (as we often do with WeNurses discussions) But was the chat patient focussed ? Well some of the key concerns of patients (using both links as an evidence base) were discussed – concerns over pressure ulcers occurring and the relationship between pressure ulcers and quality of care. But was this purely by chance these were discussed as no one asked what is important to the people we care for in relation to pressure ulcers? There is a certain part of me that says that as caring, compassionate and in some cases experienced nurses we have an instinct for what is important to the people we care for – but equally there is a part of me that thinks we should always check and should always ask that question.
My leadership journey this week has led me to many questions:
- How can we ensure that what we talk about is important to the people we care for?
- How can we be sure we are not missing the point?
- What can we do to make our online social media activity more patient focussed?
- Is a more patient focussed online nurse community realistic and achievable?
- What changes can I make to help the online nurse community become more patient focussed?
- And at the end of all of this how do we prove that nursing interaction via social media does put the people we care for at its heart and makes a difference?
I am not sure I know the answers to all of these questions …… yet …. and I am sure that these questions will invariably lead to more questions and I can see my work load increasing as my thought processes progress … however I feel reassured in the knowledge that there is a strong and dedicated nursing community out there.