Tag Archives: Nursing

Making The Standard

13 Dec

If you’re a nurse currently working in Ontario who regularly reviews the College of Nurses (CNO) mail you may have come across my face while reading the Fall 2011 magazine issue of The Standard. I must admit it was exciting to see myself on the cover and to be interviewed about social media, but it was also a bit embarrassing for me since I started my new job the same week that this magazine arrived in our mailboxes. Somehow a copy of the magazine ended up at my orientation session and the unit I work on for all (physicians, staff, and clients) to see!

Recognizing that the entire interview would not make it into this article, I received permission by the magazine Editor to share my full response to the questions I was asked by the CNO representative regarding social media and nursing engagement. Here are the rest of the questions and answers that were submitted in September 2011. Enjoy!

Why should nurses care about social media?

I’d like you to consider Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian English professor and media visionary, who in 1964 wrote, “The medium is the message”. McLuhan’s quotation conveys that the medium (ie. Television, Internet, Social Media Tools) through which content is passed, influences society and ultimately, changes how we experience and perceive the world. Our world is changing with the introduction and use of these technologies; changes including how we view the person, health, the environment, and of course, nursing. I believe we have a professional responsibility to understand not only how to use these technologies to advance our work as nurses, but also how they may impact a person’s experience of illness and/or health, in that patients have a desire to access health resources within their environment. Nurses have an opportunity to appraise online resources and additionally, create valid and reliable health resources using social media tools for many online communities.

How can nurses use social media to develop themselves professionally?

Here are a few examples of how nurses can use social media to develop themselves professionally:

●  There are thousands of nurses and other health professionals who are currently microblogging, or “Tweeting” insights or latest information from articles they have read, as well as conferences or workshops they are attending.

●  RSS Feeds (Real Simple Syndication) and Readers (such as Google reader) allow us to receive alerts about new Internet resources such as the latest journal edition and then share them with our peers.

●  Social networking sites, like LinkedIn (a professional social networking site), enable us to network and build online communities with health professionals or like-minded individuals (ie. RNAO eHealth Champions)

What are some of the privacy issues that nurses should consider?

The privacy laws, privacy policies, and the College practice standard on privacy and confidentiality continues to apply as it always has. We should always be conscious and alert as to what information we may be disclosing and to whom we are disclosing information to.  Nurses need to use their discretion because what goes on the Internet is generally accessible to the public. Most people can be found on the Internet; in fact, all nurses in Ontario can be searched and found via the CNO website. Don’t be afraid of the technology but rather have some surveillance about what you share and what others may share about you.

What are some of your own parameters around your own use of social media, such as Twitter?

My parameters are very general and include not discussing professional relationships, respecting therapeutic relationships by never disclosing any information about who I’m working with, and being cautious about telling others where I am.

What is your favourite social media tool, and how have you used it to develop yourself as a nurse?

Currently, one of my favourite social media tools is “Mendeley” (a social networking and referencing website). This user-friendly tool, which is also available as a software application, enables you to collaborate with others whom you may be conducting research or writing papers with via the Internet. It’s a great resource for organizing, sharing, citing and categorizing articles into a database that can be accessed anywhere provided you have access to the Internet. I’m currently utilizing it to prepare for presentations, literature reviews, and for a few papers I am writing with my colleagues in academia who live in different cities.

What advice would you give to nurses who are thinking of trying social media but haven’t so far? For example, how can a nurse determine what social media tool is “right for them”?

My suggestion is to reflect upon your objective or intent of using social media in the first place. Many people make the mistake of signing up for accounts with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube.com, etc…without ever really understanding what the benefit would be. For instance, if you’re interested in finding a more efficient way to store, organize and share Internet resources with your peers, social bookmarking would be the suggested route you may take instead of Facebook. Another consideration is about how much time you would like to spend online and how it fits with your lifestyle as well. Some social media tools are more time-consuming than others, such as Twitter versus blogging.

Social Media for Health Professionals

7 Nov

On the last day of the RNAO Best Practice Guidelines Summer Institute this year, I made a public commitment to help nurses and other health professionals learn how to utilize social media. Four months after the Institute, I am pleased to say that I am meeting my commitment by giving presentations and tutorials to various health professional groups and individuals. Here is the webinar presentation I did for RNAO eHealth on Sept. 29th, 2010:

Social Media for Health Professionals

I have also added questions that have been most frequently asked during or after my presentation with some answers, both my personal thoughts and suggested resources (see below). I also welcome readers to add their own thoughts to these questions in the comments section of this particular page (Thanks!). Feel free to post more questions here as well, or to send them to my colleague, Robert Fraser, who is preparing to write a book which will be a beginner’s guide for using social media (targeted for nurses).

Questions and Answers

What’s the difference between a blog and a wiki?

A wiki is a collaborative tool that invites more than one user to build the content, as well as index (tag) content created, in real-time. A blog is an online diary/journal in which one can create and share content (opinions/entries) in chronological order. Both blogs and wikis can be managed by more than one user.

Healthcare examples of Blogs:

Healthcare examples of Wikis:

How much time is this going to take?/ How many hours of your day are you dedicating to use these technologies?

This is a very difficult question to answer because it really depends on WHY you want to use social media in the first place, WHICH technology you choose to use, and lastly, HOW you choose to use it. Again, emphasizing the need to focus on your INTENT rather than on technology first.

As like any other type of Internet activity, all forms of social media can be time-consuming and addictive, so it is important (and obvious) that one must set boundaries regarding time spent on the activity. However, unlike more traditional forms of Internet activity (Web 1.0), some of the advantages of these Web 2.0 technologies is the ability to be highly accessible (either the content or as an individual), collaborative in nature, and accomplish tasks in real-time. Recognizing that these technologies may actually make processes (like creating a research proposal with multiple authors) more efficient and timely (working on a wiki in real-time). It is possible to integrate these technologies into our daily activities, rather than see them as separate activities that require more time in our daily and arguably, busy lives.

On a more personal account, I have experienced and therefore am led to believe that you get back what you put in (and more) by engaging in these technologies.

Check out this article where the author attempts to categorize levels of participation and different types of activities:

Where can I find the collection of research papers related to Social Media and Healthcare?

The shared reference list of social media articles are located here: http://www.mendeley.com/​research-papers/collecti​ons/4367941/Social-Media​/. Please feel free to join Mendeley (by creating an account), use resources in this list, and also add other articles you may find related to this topic.

What is the impact on our brain?

I was not expecting this question during my presentations as my objectives were primarily focused on the “how to” of social media. Nonetheless, in my search for answers, I came across this comprehensive ABC Big Ideas lecture by Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield titled The Future of the Brain. This presentation is a great overview of the impact of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and the Internet on our brains, forecasting some trends which may in turn shape future generations.

This presentation has left me wondering…Will traditional ways of learning about and within our world be entirely replaced with these new technologies?

Photos of the Day: The Importance of “Dress to Impress”

24 Aug

One evening in June I reorganized all the clothing in my closet and dresser. I spent hours removing, replacing, folding, and creating piles of what I no longer used until I had four large bags full of clothing that I could give for donation.

In this moment, I realized that I (sadly) hoard clothing, but more importantly, that over the past year I’ve made significant changes to the way I dress. I think these photos of my shoes alone, accurately represent the shift from young, naïve grad student nurse to mature and respected health professional.

Here are the shoes I used to wear during my 12-hour shifts and in grad school….

Here are the shoes I wear now in my leadership role and for going out with friends….

We live in a world where people judge us by how we present ourselves. One of the hardest changes for me was actually switching my shoes – I love Converse sneakers and believed that by wearing them I was reflecting my upbeat and fun personality. After I let go, I came to realize there were other ways I could reflect my personality through the way I dressed (i.e. colours, accessories, and layering).  I can attest to the shift in positive and respectful attitudes and behaviours from colleagues since making these changes.

Here are some things to consider if you’re also looking to modify your style, I’ve italicized the slight changes I’ve made to adapt to my professional environment:

  • How do you wear your hair? Occasionally wearing a low, combed ponytail.
  • What kind of shoes are you wearing? Closed heel and toe flats or low heels.
  • What kinds of trousers/skirts do you wear? Tailored dress pants or pencil skirts.
  • If you get cold while at work, what might you grab to wear on top of your ensemble? A blazer, cardigan, or pashmina scarf/shawl.
  • What kind of jewelery or a watch do you wear to work? A silver chain with small pendant, small earrings, one simple ring, and a metallic watch.
  • Does your employer have a dress code? Always abide to the dress code.
  • Fridays are generally dress down days, what might you wear on this day? A blazer, white t-shirt, dark jeans, and flats.

*A special thank you to ER, SO, and PK (my beautiful sister) for inspiring me to “dress to impress”!

Best Practice Summer Institute 2.0

15 Aug

In June 2010, I had the very fortunate opportunity of attending the RNAO Best Practice Summer Institute located at Nottawasaga Inn of Alliston, Ontario. On day one we were organized into a group [aka Best Practice Guidelines Knowledge Units (BKUs)], enabling us to immediately network and reflect upon our learnings at the institute over the course of the week. We called ourselves “The Gold Diggers” – a name used in reference to our search and journey for a-pot-of-gold, or what we described as: happy and healthy communities. Despite the diversity of participants in my group, our similar experiences of implementing best practice in our respective clinical settings were what brought us together. I am thankful that I had the chance to meet these individuals and am hopeful that we stay connected over time.

For those who know me well, it would be of no surprise to learn that I spent most of the week “Twitter-ing”, demystifying some preconceived notions regarding Twitter, as well as suggesting we consider the use of these technologies to enhance dissemination of best practice guidelines. At the end of the week we were asked to share our  insights to our peers (~50 attendees) and decided to integrate Twitter into our presentation. Our three key learnings included: overcoming obstacles, re-engaging with stakeholders, and managing risks. I hope this presentation will help you consider how you could be using Twitter to bring evidence to the bed-side. A special “thank you” to the nurses (Val, Sue, Elaine, Annette, Justine, and Christa) who helped with the content of this presentation.


Social media and the aging population of healthcare professionals

1 May

I’ve been trying to come up with creative ways to engage nursing staff and allied health in discussions about their current practice and the implementation of RNAO Best Practice Guideline on Establishing Therapeutic Relationships. What I’ve come to realize is that as creative as my ideas might be, they’re almost too innovative for this professional environment. I’ve learned my ideas are not only impractical because the hospital communications itself is behind in technology but also that most staff are not as skilled at using this technology as I had thought. In 2007, the Ontario Nurses’ Association reported that the average age of nurses was 45.9 years. Given that people aren’t getting any younger and that the older generation is less engaged with technology in general, this should come as no surprise to me. I think health care professionals regardless of their age should be making efforts to get on top of these changes or at least should be supported in doing so. I think it corresponds well with our dedication to life long learning. I can guarantee that the chaotic mileau, the lack of computers or software/hardware applications, and the lack of privacy/quietness in some areas contribute to this problem…but seriously, we do have libraries and I can tell you I’ve worked nights when there wasn’t much to monitor or do.

I’m left wondering how I could be engaging my senior colleagues so they start to use this technology too…

A few links to check out: