Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Day 72: Directors of Nursing & Social Media

At a recent meeting with fellow CCG Directors of Nursing (see yesterday’s blog-post) I agreed to share some information about how and why senior nurses in the NHS should use social media.  I'm going to break my 100 word rule to share a copy of the e-mail that I sent:

Dear Colleagues,

It was good to see you all again yesterday.  I appreciate that between us there was a varied level of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm about social media and its potential benefits for us as individuals in our professional lives.  I agreed that I would share some resources with you to help those of you who are keen to understand and/or use social media more; hopefully any of you who aren’t so keen will find this interesting and useful on some level.  The information I’ve included in this e-mail covers two main areas: ‘why’ and ‘how’ we use social media in the NHS.

Social Media in the NHS (why)
For a range of blogs and further reading about social media and healthcare, over the years I’ve curated some resources that may be of interest here. These include NHS official opinions as well as many articles and information from a range of different sources.  The following are a small selection of the NHS-specific view on how and why we should use social media (Declaration of Interest: I was interviewed for the first and am quoted in the third publications listed below; in spite of this, I still think they’re worth a read J):



  • HR and Social Media in the NHS – don’t be put of by this bulletin being aimed at HR, it contains a good narrative around why we should be more permissive with staff in our use of social media in the NHS.
  • Twitter The Basics – this is a resource developed by Simon Day, Communications & Engagement Manager, Health Education England; aimed at NHS staff and to understand the basics (you can whizz through this in less than 10 minutes if you’re pressed for time).
  • Twitterversity – this is a resource aimed specifically at nurses and caters for a range from those brand new to Twitter (Student Tweeter), through those who get the basics, but want to learn more (Staff Tweeter) on to those with a bit more experience, but want to really want to be productive in their use of Twitter (Sister Tweeter).  This has been developed by @WeNurses, which is run by Teresa Chinn who is an agency nurse who felt more and more isolated in her professional role, so turned to social media to connect with other nurses.  This resulted in her starting and running the WeNurses community on Twitter, which is now over 12,000 strong.
  • How To Use Twitter – Not aimed at NHS or health people, but one of the best and comprehensive guides to getting started with Twitter that I’ve seen.  It is a blog written by @PME2013.  It is lengthy, but if you do take the time to read it, there isn’t much else about getting to know Twitter from a general perspective that you won’t find.  You can skip past the bits that you already know or aren’t interested in!


Twitter Basics (how)
To get started with Twitter it is helpful to know some of the basics like what a ‘hashtag’ is, how do I ‘follow’ someone, or see who’s following me!  There are many helpful resources and guides to this; I’ve provided three good examples below.  The first is a quick canter through the basics, the second aimed specifically at nurses and the third a more detailed guide of everything you need to know about Twitter:


For a bit of both ‘why’ and ‘how’, read Lisa Rodrigues, CEO (and nurse) at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, article in HSJ: Social Media for NHS Dummies.

Finally, it’s often helpful to know you’re not alone and Twitter is still relatively new; I’ve only been using it seriously for about three years.  There are many nurses on Twitter and also quite a few Directors of Nursing, both from providers and commissioners in the NHS.  A list of the Directors of Nursing that I’ve found on Twitter is available here.

Please do share some or all of this e-mail with colleagues if you think it would be of use to them and I am happy to talk more in more detail with you individually or collectively.

Best wishes,

David