Saturday, December 08, 2012

Nursing and Social Media

Social media is central to many of our lives in this most technologically oriented century, and nurses are no exception. Nurses' use of social media has boomed, and the benefits of this explosion are still being measured.

 Whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest or any of the other many platforms that have caught our attention (and, arguably, take up a great deal of our time), nurses are utilizing social media to discuss the challenges of healthcare, process their personal experiences as healthcare providers, or connect with one another in meaningful ways. Those of us who are nurse entrepreneurs also use social media to reach potential clients and expand our reach in terms of our personal brand and specific skills.

The importance of social media for healthcare providers and nurses currently knows no bounds, and it remains to be seen how we will expand its use as these media continue to grow and expand with the times. A recent book, Social Media for Nurses: Educating Practitioners and Patients in a Networked World, is currently on my nightstand to read and review for this blog, and the authors of this excellent and timely reference will be appearing on RN.FM Radio as our guests on January 14th.

Meanwhile, my colleague Ian over at ImpactED Nurse is sponsoring a contest entitled "Social Media Nurse of 2012" with the goal of identifying the nurses who are most intelligently and creatively using social media to advance our profession. I have personally nominated Kevin Ross, my RN.FM Radio co-host and author of Innovative Nurse, and I encourage my readers to consider voting for Kevin in this friendly competition. Blogging about the contest, Kevin writes:
To all of the other candidates, it is an honor to be here with you. I appreciate the opportunity to be among the many nurses out here in the InterWebs trying to extend the reach of our profession. Our presence will only continue to grow and motivate other nurses to share their stories, knowledge, and expertise. There is an unlimited opportunity here for us all to create a global exchange that will help elevate this profession, and I mean this with all sincerity.

As you’ve probably deduced, the link below will take you to the site of ImpactedNurse where the voting will occur. Voting will close on Friday December 21st. Even though I’m a candidate I encourage you to vote for the nurse that moves the needle for you (as I often say on RN.FM Radio). Either way, it’s a win for all of us. Good luck to all and thank you for your support, for all nurses.
Kevin is a prime example of a nurse who embraces technology, uses it to advance the profession, and reaches out across the virtual space to connect with nurses and healthcare providers who care about the things that he does. I appreciate his humility and sincerity, as well as his ability to make use of social media in ways that foster inclusion, thoughtful reflection, and innovation.

For myself, I use my Facebook page and my Twitter account to share information, linking to articles and blog posts that I find salient to our profession and its advancement and growth. Many positive interactions have been born of my use of social media, not to mention meaningful friendships and partnerships that have extended beyond the virtual world. (In fact, RN.FM Radio was created based on initial social media contacts between myself, Kevin, and our former co-host Anna Morrison.)

At any rate, the future growth of social media is assured, although it's anyone's guess which platforms will eventually fall by the wayside as others rise to prominence. Although many of us would have a difficult time envisioning a world devoid of Facebook or Twitter, there's truly no predicting the eventual fate of these social media giants who could eventually be replaced by something even more robust and captivating.

Again, please vote for Kevin if you're moved to (voting ends December 21st), and I encourage my readers to explore the virtual worlds that are alive with edifying conversation and a great deal of true and meaningful connection among nurses, healthcare professionals, and healthcare consumers.

It's a big (virtual) world out there, and we can all take part if we're moved to do so.

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