In my role as a community matron, I found that a great social media platform to start with was Twitter. I found creating an account easy, it only took a few minutes to set up. Then I started exploring and following feeds that were of interest, both professionally and personally. I soon found that I could discover valuable resources for evidence-based information, as well as connecting to people all over the world.
Twitter provides information about a variety of subjects including patient care and experience, career opportunities, current evidence-based practice, nurse prescribing and primary care innovations. I can also find health news on conditions including dementia and cancer.
From my perspective, it has allowed healthcare professionals to connect with individuals with similar interests, which can enhance professional and social development and improve practice by sharing ideas and innovations.
Nurses of all levels can see the benefits of Twitter. Tracey Sheridan, associate director of community services at Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust, highlighted that the staff who work for the trust use social media to keep them informed. Marina Redford, advanced nurse practitioner from Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust, states that the overall networking benefits of social media are immense.
The NMC have set out a code of conduct to assist nurses using social networking sites. The standards of conduct provide practical tips for using social media responsibly and also sets out some principles for employers investigating complaints. Social networking sites are a relatively new phenomenon, and social norms of conduct and behaviour continue to evolve. Nurses need to intelligently review and reapply the principles of the code.
I think social media channels might not be right for all health professionals. However, social networking can open new doors, which will shape the future of healthcare.