I have been thinking a lot this week about nurse community – Sunday being International Nurses Day WeNurses are hosting a Nursing History Twitter Share-a-thon and photos showing our proud nursing history and blogs telling our own nursing stories are being shared already. I have been so very touched by everything being shared that I felt that I needed to do something to collate what was coming in, so I created this film:
The pictures in this film depicts scenes from times gone by, of the nurses we once were and the nurses our parents and grandparents were. Nurses who nursed in my grandmothers era (the “call the midwife” era) lived together, had their friendships under one roof, ate together, learnt together, and shared experiences, and expertise together … they were a community. And then the world started to change, society and nursing grew further apart from each other and more remote .. not just physically but socially and psychologically. Neighbours no longer knew each other, nurses rushed home to live out their busy lives and the boundaries between the personal and professional became very defined, and this is how it has remained.
But this is not the end of this story as two magical things have happened in recent years, firstly the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube fairies waved their wands and created social media – allowing for people to make connections and build communities in digital spaces and secondly the very clever boffins made huge advancements in mobile technology – allowing us to have those connections and communities in the palm of our hands. Because of these remarkable, wonderful and magical events nursing is no longer remote, or isolated, we are able to develop friendships, share ideas, experiences and expertise and learn from one another again.
I do not have a crystal ball and I do not know whether social media as we know it today will exist in the future but I do know that it is something we cannot ignore and should not ignore. As the world moves on and our digitally native children mature and start to make decisions and choices the world will become a very different place. Nurses coming up behind us will be (and indeed are already) in this space from a young age and we need to be there too – guiding, supporting, role modelling, sharing our support and expertise. Nurses are inherently driven to connect and be with people and be part of communities … it’s our job, it’s what we do, and we are pretty darned good at it. So we need to embrace this new online social media community so we can continue to share, to learn from and support each other in the way we have done in the past.
I have been truly moved over the last week at the nursing pride that is shining through the Twitter nursing community …. The #NurseCommunity has certainly empowered me and made me feel part of something bigger, it has made me hold my head up high and say “I am a nurse”
I for one will be sharing my nursing history pictures at 8pm on Sunday and tweeting loudly and proudly for International Nurses Day.