Student Nurse @GeKnox talks about stepping up to the job in hand – a week on twitter

I’ve had my Twitter account @GeKnox for around 18 months, never really using it – just dipping in and out, tweeting bits. But generally just lurking in the background reading what others had tweeted. It wasn’t until two fellow students encouraged me to use it more that I decided to make it a ‘professional’ account (there really wasn’t much on my wall prior to this decision anyway). However the last 12 months have thrown a few obstacles at my family and I, so the account was still left fairly redundant (just like Mr Knox). With a crazy home life and my first year as an Adult nursing student my account started to go a bit stale. All this changed at the beginning of my 2nd year after our Learning to Learn week and a day at the NHS Expo conference in Manchester. Watching what/who my fellow students/friends were following, I gradually built up my ‘community’, followers and those that I was interested in following! The week that I volunteered (with a little persuasion from @StMHNurseRahs) was to be the same week my husband’s new career kicked off and my 24/7 child-minder vanished. None the less I tried my best with the little Twitter knowledge I had.

Monday 14th was a busy day at home with lots going on & lots of Twitter action – #CrikeyItsaLongOne saw the University’s own Shock Radio attempt its world record marathon broadcast, with its hashtag drumming up support. Closer to the nursing community was March14’s User Carer conference, a favorite day of my first year as a student nurse. The day provides a good raw basis, and view of our careers as nurses (whatever field) to support those who use the NHS and those that help care for them. This is where I feel our innate compassion and care should be ‘stirred’ and maintained. Following closely behind was the ‘news’ that Skype was being considered as a means of communication in the health care setting. I can see how this could help with/or instead of GP telephone consultations but as an alternative I’m really not sure, or maybe I’m just old? Professor Angela Tod was appointed chair of the Florence Nightingale Foundation (a trust that is there for both nurses and midwives to support them with things such as scholarships, mentoring and general recognition for their careers). Whilst researching for my upcoming assignments I found this quote that I thought and hoped would fit well for all us students … “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere”. I was hoping my week as curator will follow me and help to expand my knowledge, sources, and nurse community. Monday was also the day of the #Uhealth14 conference where there was a big push towards a 1:4 ratio of nurse: patients and whether this would improve care on our wards.

Tuesday 15th was the day for new Facebook pages for our CYP march13 cohort, blogs and reflections on the previous weeks curating and our very own Nurses: Bedpans and Bandages and a push for more Dementia friends. It was also interesting to see in the news and tweets that Iran was to consider implementing a ban on vasectomies to increase its birth rate. Tuesday was also the day of a lecture time slot swap & this meant a 3pm-6pm session and a late return home, therefore @wlasinclair took over from me for a few hours to join the @WeNurses chat on “Do NICE guidelines maintain NMC standards?”

Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th were assignment days for me. Concentrating as much as I could on the basics of my End of Life and Palliative care assignment (whilst making brews for a builder & carpet fitter). However, in-between I tried my best to tweet, re-tweet, favorite & read what others has been circulating.

The biggest event was on the 17th which was the results day for the September 12 students from their 3hour unseen exam. This was a massive reality check that in a few months this will be me and the rest of the March13 intake for all fields of nursing!

Friday the 18th was a day out with the kids. Kids, plus my phone (not laptop), plus rubbish signal equated to a poor day for me Twitter wise and probably the day with least interaction. I did although find an article on an interesting Mental Health issue stating that there is a huge gap in care for those 16 years old and under – this I feel is a great shame as there as many pressures at this age with exams, hormones and transitions in no longer being a ‘child’ but not yet quite an adult. Teenage years are hard as well as some of the best years most of us will remember.

Saturday 19th and I was coming to the end of a very educational, busy and admittedly not very organised week (as far as my skills go), nonetheless I found and tweeted a couple of interesting articles on the “NHS – importance of hand washing” and “Student Nurses; to be taught compassion”. Neither of these subjects sit nicely with me at all, on the basis that 1) Hand-washing, should just be done out of pure good hygiene and even more so for infection control purposes as nurses. 2) Taught compassion. Can we be taught compassion??? I would love to think that compassion is innate in all student nurses, just like caring, isn’t that why we want to train to do this job and have this career? I also found a few good articles to help with my End of Life and Palliative care assignment, and a more thorough understanding of the subject via @DignityInDying and @DyingMatters and resources they posted.

Sunday being the day of rest was assigned to feeding the kids with Easter eggs while trying to work on my assignment. However Mr Knox thought DIY in the next room was a fab idea – so I gave up on the basis that its school & work as normal on Tuesday – therefore I surrendered to the world of twitter & article reading! Lots of links were followed, articles read and ‘news’ looked at. From bereaved mothers of still born babies not being given continued support, to over the counter HIV testing kits becoming legal in the UK in the near future, the latter struck up a short but interesting debate with the lovely @soontobenurses.

What I would say to anyone considering curating the account or just lurking and reading (that was generally me) is that no matter your level of tweeting it can be done. The support from lecturers and students alike is more than enough to give you any help needed if required. I hardly used twitter until these last few weeks, but curating the account has given me more confidence in using such social media, but more so the knowledge of how to find articles of interest and groups of individuals with the same interests that are more than willing to share their valuable sources with each other.

Personally this week has been fab for me, slightly being pushed in the deep end has taught me to stand up to the job in hand, and professionally figure my way through it. I would love to curate again given the new and improved Social Media (#SoMe) confidence that I have, but preferably not when my hubby has started a new career, not when my 3 & 5 year old are off school and maybe not when I have two assignments to be doing – With this in mind I do actually feel quite proud and I’m not one for self-praise. Moreover if I can do it with all this going on, then I’d say “Give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose but more than you can imagine to gain”.

Now it’s time to overhaul my own twitter, get following, get tweeting and joining in more to expand on any knowledge gained.

Thank you all for having me!

Gemma

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