Magazine article American Nurse Today

Day in the Life: Live Tweets as a Professional Tool

Magazine article American Nurse Today

Day in the Life: Live Tweets as a Professional Tool

Article excerpt

Nurses around the world can connect and communicate with each other in more ways than ever before by using social media. Social media is well suited for nursing use because it is a tool for disseminating evidence-based information to colleagues and the general public, and for advocating for the profession.

Of course, caution is needed. Nurses must use social media in a way that is consistent with professional codes of ethics and standards to avoid legal pitfalls. We refer readers to our list of references for articles and resources that address these issues.

In this article, we want to focus on the positive side of social media by sharing our experience with the Day in the Life project, a Twitter-based social media campaign that nurses at The Ottawa Hospital use to share insights into the nursing profession. Sharing is done in a live tweet format: users post a series of tweets to chronicle a specific event as it happens. Tweets are connected using a hashtag (a word or phrase preceded by the [sharp] symbol). TOH Nurses, the umbrella name for the nursing social media accounts at The Ottawa Hospital, uses the hashtag #nurselive for live tweets.

Each tweet discusses the nurses role as the live events unfold, so the project stands as an instantaneous record of what happens, minute by minute, in the day in the life of a nurse. Live tweets have focused on medical and surgical inpatient units, the home dialysis unit, nursing orientation, prevalence assessments, administrative nursing, and nurse educators. Every care is taken so that no confidential information is included in the communications.

Benefits of live tweeting

The Day in the Life project has several benefits, including raising awareness about nursing, and advocating for nurses. For example, there are many negative images of nursing in the media, from highly sexualized portrayals of nurses to depictions of healthcare systems where nurses are invisible. A live tweet represents a real day in the work lives of nurses, and chronicles their critical thinking, compassion, and nursing skills.

Day in the Life also provides the opportunity to role model appropriate behavior to colleagues, and the public. Live tweets can facilitate succession planning. For example, a nurse who is interested in becoming a nurse educator can read a nurse educators live tweet to learn more about the role.

There are benefits to having nurses live tweet their day. Live tweets are interesting when they have diverse presenters who provide first-person accounts of their roles and experiences. Nurses who host their own live tweets participate in skill development with a facilitator in advance, and become engaged by using social media as a professional tool to improve their practice. A live tweet enables nurses to use social media to share information about their roles and innovations in clinical practice.

The stages of development for A Day in the Life mirror those used in the nursing process: assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Assessment and planning

During assessment, interest in participating in a live tweet is expressed by a clinical nurse or nursing group. The facilitator meets with key stakeholders to answer questions, establish goals for the live tweet, and review guidelines that have been developed to guide participation. These guidelines include the basics of Twitter, such as hashtags, and also address the goals, structure, and content for live tweet days.

The key stakeholders meet a week or two in advance to brainstorm project themes and practice methods for using Twitter. They also review principles of confidentiality and privacy, and establish safeguards to protect patients while tweeting. While the aim of the day is to share information in a spontaneous manner, it is helpful to establish some topics for discussion. For instance, in the live tweet of nurse educator days, the educators discussed common challenges in their roles, and why they became nurse educators. …

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