‘Nice to tweet you’ by Student Nurse Nicola Arnill
In October 2014, I was new to Twitter and all things nursing. My Sociology tutor had mentioned Twitter’s advantages for student nurses. I wasn’t convinced. I thought Twitter was for following the lives of celebrities, but I wanted to be the best nurse I can be, and if my trusted tutor said Twitter helps with that, who was I to argue?
It’s October 2015 and I am connecting with other healthcare professionals (including students), hearing service-user voice and acquiring knowledge about services, policies and research informing evidence-based practice. I am still learning ways to benefit from social media in a professional sense, but do we ever stop learning?
Our neighbours came to talk to us about using social media (#SoMe) professionally and fortunately for me I was presented with an opportunity to curate the Salford University’s Nursing School Twitter account. After a year of intermittent use of Twitter, my voice was to be truly heard. And what better way to use this opportunity than to reach out to my colleagues and encourage them to realise the advantages Twitter can have on our nursing knowledge, and contacts, and thus on the children and young people we will be working with, and their families, of course.
My goal was to reach out to students and enlighten them to the potential to share learning and experiences; and build a support network with other nursing students, particularly those sharing a similar placement circuit. There is a strong likelihood that neighbouring students will be our colleagues in future and communication now could enhance our experience and the healthcare we provide when we are qualified nurses.
I felt anxious about how receptive my colleagues would be and decided to communicate with them via Facebook as they are more familiar with this platform. I shared with them some rationale for joining Twitter and signposted them to ‘Twitterversity’ guidance on using Twitter as healthcare professionals. I offered my support for anyone who wanted to join Twitter but had difficulty navigating, or had little confidence using, the site. I also posted to the 2015 cohort page, not only to include them in sharing and connecting with one another, but also because I feel that there would be a greater interest in Twitter if this was more heavily discussed at the start of the student-nursing journey.
Throughout my week curating, colleagues caught me between lectures, or in seminars, and said they were following but were not sure how to get involved. This felt like a small victory! There were people talking to me who I had never previously engaged in conversation with. I encouraged them to engage by simply ‘favouriting’ or ‘retweeting’ posts that they agree with; and gave details of Nurchat and WeNurses chats. I did not see many of my colleagues engage with these chats on Twitter, but again was approached and informed they had been following. My colleagues were keen, but lacking in confidence using Twitter; which is something I hope my school will address.
I have grown in confidence utilising Twitter and I believe I will continue to benefit from my professional online presence throughout my career; through networking, learning, sharing and reflection. My time curating has introduced me to people who I can seek advice and support from; through followers on Twitter and through my engagement with colleagues in university.
Thank you, Salford, for affording me this incredible opportunity. I hope this is the start of something special. Nice to tweet you.