Saying the right thing .. (PUNC Response Part 2)

As with my previous post in this series “Keeping Up (PUNC Response Part 1) I have been meaning to write this blog for quite a while, but the feedback I have had from some PUNCs. (Plymouth University Nursing Cohort) regarding Tweetchats and their value has kick started my thinking – for which I thank them for :)

I remember when I first started Tweeting … It was some 5 years ago now … There were no NMC Social Networking Guidelines, no advice from NHS Employers and my employer didn’t have a social media policy … I wasn’t even sure if I could Tweet as a nurse, but knew I wanted to reach out to other nurses and so tentatively took some first Tweeting steps as the anonymous @AgencyNurse.  It was very difficult in those early days to know what to tweet, to get comfortable and confident with what to say …. Today things are very different, there are lots more nurses tweeting and there is a plethora of guidance to help nurses take those first steps.


Until I read the PUNCs feedback it hadn’t really crossed my mind that Student Nurses would be so worried about what they Tweet during Tweetchats … So I am so grateful that they brought this up.  Tweeting as a nurse for the first time can be scary however tweeting as a student nurse requires a huge amount of courage.  Thinking back there are a few things that may have helped me gain confidence in my early anonymous tweeting days around what I should tweet and how I should approach things during Twitter discussions, so let me share them with you:

Know your guidance - Have a read of the NMC’s Guidance On Using Social Media Responsibly and your local Social Media Policy – its helpful to know whats what and is a really good place to start.  I also really like this, as its short, sweet and to the point, and it goes beyond a do this and don’t do that approach and leans more towards a way of thinking:


Be a lurker – spend some time just watching and see how other people do it. watch a few tweet chats and learn from other nurses.

Its not what you say but how you say it – someone once said this to me and I think it’s a very wise piece of advice. If you make it a rule to always be polite and kind then this helps enormously! It can be tricky to get your meaning into 140 characters but saying it nicely always helps :)

Be bold ? - Instead of making a bold statement I sometimes take a questioning approach Especially if I know it’s not my area of expertise. eg “What do people think of the use of honey to heal wounds?” Instead of “I think honey for wound healing is the best thing since sliced bread!”

Refer to evidence – if someone says something you are not so sure about or you don’t know about ask them if they know of any evidence around that Tweet. Or if you want to make a bold statement then add in the evidence that backs it up.


Remember it’s a discussion – Tweetchats (as with Twitter in general) are a discussion not a broadcast, be prepared to engage in the discussion and be engaged with! Through discussion we can learn so much.

Everyone adds value – no matter who you are or where you are in your nursing journey (or even if you are not a nurse!) remember everyone has a valuable perspective and has something interesting to say …. Even you !!

Getting it all in – of course there are times when 140 characters are just so darned difficult, especially when taking part in a Tweetchat & you are going for a speedy response. In these situations I tend to write my tweet know I will go over the word count then cut out the bits that are not needed ….or cheat and use two Tweets!

Most importantly …..

Just be you ! What you bring to and what you tweet in a Tweetchat is valuable.  It brings your unique perspective, it gives other Tweetchat participants an insight into where you are coming from.  Be proud, be confident, be you :))

Once again can I extend my huge thanks to the PUNCs for taking the time to feedback and to Professor Ray Jones for passing on the feedback to me.