Social Media Tips

Teach A Nurse to Tweet

I believe mastering conversation strategies via social media is as essential to today’s clinical practice as our stethoscopes and our brain.  Why?

The world of healthcare has amazing potential for using social media to reduce waste, improve efficiency, quickly share research and allow healthcare providers to share accurate info with patients and families!

I’m a Healthcare Social Media Evangelist

Not “Social Media Expert”…far from it. I AM passionate and sincere in my desire to encourage nurses to claim their place at the table. Nurses are the most trusted profession.  We have amazing power as curators of accurate and evidence-based health information!  Corporations would pay billions to have our powerful brand!

People go online for their health information. We should meet them where they are. Social media channels provide a fabulous way for us to educate,  inform and network professionally.

When I have someone contact me to ‘Teach me about social media’, I often start with Twitter.

Twitter users are often the first people to know the newest information, and love to post updates about it online.  It’s an interesting way to see what’s new in the world – finding out what people are talking about literally “right now”.  Plus it creates an interesting crowd from which to ask questions like, “ Is anyone getting anything out of this conference? “

Phil Baumann is a thought leader in healthcare social media and the community organizer for #RNChat on Twitter.  He put together an awesome list of 140 Healthcare Uses for Twitter.  (You will want to check out his ebook on Slide Share)  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Nurse Mentoring and Collaboration
  • Publishing supportive care tips
  • Live Tweeting during  nursing conferences
  • Sharing research and evidence based practice
  • Disaster alerting and response

So how do I get started, you might ask?

It doesn’t have to be a grand scheme.  Begin like I did….take one step.  Start where you are.  I must admit, I felt a bit intimidated at first, however I soon learned the healthcare social media (#hcsm) community on Twitter is very welcoming AND they were talking about A LOT MORE than what they had for lunch!

I have been using Twitter as a professional learning network for well over 10 years.  During that time, I have met people who are now my friends, and have additionally:  collaborated on national health projects as both a volunteer and a consultant, been interviewed by national healthcare reporters, and been invited to give presentations to nursing organizations across the region and country related to my experience with Twitter.

Ready to get started?  Now is the perfect time to join in the conversation!

Go to and sign up for FREE (choose a name and a password).  I recommend using your real name as your Twitter handle.  Why?  Because you want to build your personal brand.

You can use Twitter via your PC or on your phone – you can interact several times a day or once a week.  Don’t feel obligated to look at it and respond instantly…’s your network, after all!

Once you’re signed up, you can start “following” people and they can “follow” you.  I am following people who have interesting things to say about healthcare innovation, healthcare social media, oncology nursing, telehealth and gardening.  I also follow regional weather.  Hey, I live in Kansas… of tornados and hail storms…. I need real-time access to severe weather locations!!

Next step?  Get connected!

Start by following me (@thesocialnurse)  and I’ll be glad to follow you.

Then, let’s get a conversation started! Tweet your favorite quote about innovation or change, followed by @thesocialnurse and a hashtag #NurseTwitter.  Like this post from the Association of Public Health Nurses (@PHNurse_org)  Twitter account:

Marrvy factoid:  Did you know hashtags were created by the Twitter community as a method to categorize topics.  You can read more about healthcare hashtags here.

Next, follow APHN (@PHNurse_org) then share a favorite public health resource, article or tool & mention the APHN account.  Like this:

If you’d like to use Twitter and need some more guidance, 

Now what are you waiting for?   I look forward to connecting!

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