Over the last couple of years we have become totally dependent on social media. Facebook, Twitter and all sorts of blogs pay a huge role in our day to day life. Let's see how these resources can help nurses.
1. Learn About Industry Trends And Breakthroughs
Social media is largely about learning. While some of us are leveraging social media as marketing or micro-blogging tools, many nurses are banding together and sharing important information about trends happening in their industry today.
Great ways to learn about what’s happening in healthcare now:
• Follow and fan professional organizations like the CDC, Mayo Clinic, or ANA for reliable information. You can usually find links to their social media profiles on their homepage.
• Follow and fan your favorite nurse bloggers to see what they are saying online. Chances are they’re offering their expertise and perspective on what’s happening in the profession today.
• See what nurses are saying in the Twitter chats. You’ll find everything from new ideas to opinions about hot-button issues.
2. Destress After Your 12-Hour Shift
Let’s not kid ourselves here: Twitter and Facebook shouldn’t become your “dear diaries” but you are allowed to express your frustrations about the system! In fact, you’ll more than likely find someone who shares the same sentiment. So long as you’re expressing your on-the-job pet peeves maturely, you might find some answers or interesting insights in response to your complaints.
Ways to distress using social media:
• Start a Group on Facebook where you can talk about your trials and tribulations with other nurses but also find solutions for each other.
• Use social media as a temporary escape from your the daily grind. If you’re pressed for time to catch up with friends and family, Facebook and Twitter can be great ways to follow-up on their daily whereabouts or to say a quick hello.
• Like playing games? Harvest virtual crops on FarmVille or watch a funny video on YouTube.
3. Spread Awareness for Causes You Care About
Help spread awareness about public health issues. This past year top Twitter trends included the Cholera outbreak, Gulf oil spill, and Haiti earthquake. By posting links on your Facebook or retweeting posts on Twitter, you’ll be promoting the well-being and safety of individuals in your community – even during emergencies.
Ways you can spread awareness about important health issues now:
• Hashtags are a great way to add to a larger conversation on Twitter. Reference this great guide of Healthcare Hashtags by The Fox Group, LLC to ensure your comments are being seen by as many eyes as possible.
• Retweeting can help spread awareness about a cause or a particular article or idea.
• Frustrated and looking for support? Take a look at Facebook’s Causes app that can help you raise money and awareness about your cause.
4. Engage with Health Professionals and Patients
Social media can also provide a way to connect with patients or with nurses all over the world. Even though users can reference blogs or medical articles, nurses and doctors now have the ability to answer questions from patients in real-time. In a way, this helps give those without healthcare access to medical advice, keeping information true and transparent.
Ways to interact with others safely and professionally:
• Make sure you reference the AMA’s Social Media Guidelines before engaging with anyone to protect yourself and patients.
• Take a look at Social Media Governance. They list social media, engagement, and commenting guidelines from various institutions.
• Reference our guide of nurses to follow on Twitter, or check out WeFollow for a broader list of nurses with large to small followings.
5. Inform Fellow Healthcare Professionals
Are you a professor, Master’s student, or nurse? Post links to your completed thesis or talk about your on-the-job experiences! The great benefit of social media is that it allows you to share your thoughts and expertise in real-time. The faster we know about new health advancements, the faster we become a healthier society.
Ways you can inform other nurses and the public:
• Post Power Points on Slideshare that highlight key points to a report about your findings. Check out Phil Baumann or Christian Sinclair’s Slideshare presentations, which regularly discuss healthcare and social media.
• Start a blog. There are plenty of easy-to-use blogging platforms, like Blogspot or WordPress. It can be anonymous, or not. Blogging is a great way to share your expertise and your experiences with an audience of nurses and/or the general public. Make sure to post a link to your blog on your Twitter and Facebook pages!