After my first day at RCN Congress this year my initial thoughts were “funny old day” It was pretty amazing to meet so many wonderful and passionate Tweeting nurses however it felt “weird” to not to have the #nursecommunity invited in via a Twitter wall in the main hall. I also have some mixed feelings regarding Peter Carter, who seems a very pleasant person but is not interested in Twitter. So please bear with me, this is not my usual blog style however I wanted to write an open letter which documents why I believe nursing leaders should Tweet:
Dear Peter Carter,
Thank you very much for popping by our #RCNcongress #RCNtweetup today I was very sorry that you had to dash off but great that you stayed for a picture:
I was disappointed to hear that Twitter doesn’t interest you however also understand that sometimes it is difficult to understand and see the value in new technologies, even the telephone at its conception was hailed as “not a serious means of communication”
I thought it might be a good idea to put together some points for you to think on at your leisure (as I appreciate how busy you must be) as to why social media is fast becoming a serious means of communication and why I believe all nursing leaders should be interested in it (in no particular order as each is of equal importance) :
- Digital natives – the generation now qualifying as nurses, and indeed making their own decisions as patients, have never known a world without the World Wide Web and coming fast up behind them is a generation who will have never known a world without social media. This is the way that people are communicating, email is becoming old fashioned and the telephones primary function is no longer to make a phone call.
- Being a nursing leader – as nurse leaders we need to communicate with people how they want to communicate, there is almost 20,000 nurses that I know of who want to communicate via Twitter …. And are!
- The voice of nursing – the RCN proudly have a strapline that they are the voice of nursing so what better place to listen to that voice than on Twitter, where not only can you listen on a micro level to each individual but through the use of data and social media listening tools can also be done on a much wider level.
- The nurse’s voice – this is the age where the individual matters and that means each and every individual. Nurses are finding their own voice via Twitter, Twitter discussions and sharing blogs and videos via Twitter, each nurse has their own voice should they so wish.
- People not organisations – Twitter is about people, it’s not about organisations, it’s about people engaging with people. Corporate accounts are ok but people are pretty fantastic.
- Transparency and openness – in this new age of healthcare transparency and openness are king and rightly so! The transparency and openness that Twitter affords is unprecedented. This should be celebrated and embraced.
- Being a visible role model – as a nursing leader it is important to be a role model, to engage and be engaging. Every nurse is important, every nurse adds value and it is the responsibility of nursing leaders to not only acknowledge this but also to role model this. If we don’t make time to listen to people, in any space, what message does that send out ?
- Connecting beyond geographical locations and hierarchical boundaries – in a forum that is so open the possibilities are really endless. The traditional hierarchies that stifled healthcare are ignored in our Twitter spaces to the benefit of healthcare, student nurses can talk to chief nursing officers and more importantly chief nursing officers can talk to student nurses. And there are no limits to this, ideas, experiences, expertise, resources, evidence and opinions can be and are shared on a global scale.
Twitter is full of passionate, proud, caring nurses who are leading the way through the use of a technology that enables us to communicate in a way that we have never before. I am proud to be a Tweeting nurse and sad that a nursing leader is not interested in the value. However I also know that actually at the end of the day if you are not passionate about communicating with nurses in this way then being in this space is not for you. I am not saying Twitter will change the world but I know that if one conversation with one nurse makes just one difference to one patient then it’s worthwhile. The conversations, the sharing, the support, the exchange of ideas, experiences, practice based evidence, and opinion’s via Twitter will go on with or without you … if you want to listen you know where we are and you are always most welcome
RN and Proud Tweeting Nurse
Thanks for bearing with me everyone and please feel free to add your thoughts below