What Can Social Media Do For Your Nursing Career?
Published: 05 February 2020
Published: 05 February 2020
When asked about social media, some nurses will say something along the lines of, ‘Oh, I don’t do social media.’ And if probed further, they may say, ‘Nurses don’t use social media’ or ‘There’s nothing of interest for a nurse on there’.
In fact, the level of interest in social media among nursing and healthcare professionals has never been higher, and many individuals leverage such platforms to their own benefit.
Something to love about social media is the opportunity to listen to conversations happening around the globe.
Instead of simply obtaining healthcare news from formal media networks, social media allows nurses to hear directly from the source.
Granted, many commercial media organisations have a strong social media presence, but hearing directly from nurses and other healthcare professionals in the trenches is priceless.
Social media allows anyone to become a ‘citizen journalist’, and the influence of those voices is immeasurable.
From nurses with firsthand experience of the devastating Australian bush fires to nurse inventors posting their latest innovations, the opportunity exists to hear from colleagues without the intervening filter of the media deciding what we should and shouldn’t know.
On social media, we experience humour, research, heartbreaking stories, private reflections, and invaluable career advice – why wouldn’t we want to tune in?
While companies offering nursing education post links to their courses, there are individuals and institutions posting highly worthwhile free information.
Perplexing clinical scenarios, research questions, helpful infographics, and other types of fun and instructional content is posted specifically for nurses’ learning.
On one hand, social media offers endless opportunities to get sucked down rabbit holes of questionable value; on the other hand, an account featuring photographs of intriguing and rare medical conditions can lead to others featuring equally enlightening content.
The learning that can occur through social media is incalculable, and smart nurses use such occasions to dig deep into their areas of interest.
One of the greatest assets of social media is meeting like-minded professionals. These virtual relationships can add a great deal to a nurse’s connection to people who would otherwise be almost impossible to meet.
When I was a burgeoning nurse entrepreneur with side hustles in career coaching and freelance writing, I met several nurse business owners on Twitter with whom my relationships evolved from being friends to having marathon Skype calls to the three of us launching a boutique media company and one of the first nursing podcasts on the internet.
LinkedIn is an incredibly valuable platform for nurses, and while it may at first appear to be just another social media site, in reality, it’s a powerful search engine disguised as social media.
On LinkedIn, the earnest nurse can meet recruiters, CEOs, nurse influencers, professors, researchers, and others.
As a platform with millions of users worldwide, LinkedIn provides opportunities for connection, friendship, the seeking and giving of advice, and the chance to use the site for research into organisations and areas of specialty nursing practice.
It’s also a great source for timely healthcare news, jobs, and groups of professionals with similar interests.
Social media – especially LinkedIn – is also a great place to find those who work or have worked for an employer that may seem intriguing for potential career opportunities; doing background research can help with interview preparation and getting an insider’s view of an organisation.
From Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter, Instagram, and beyond, social media is a happy place for many nurses keen to keep their finger on the pulse of the nursing profession.
Hashtags are a useful and ubiquitous presence on social media. Essentially, hashtags (e.g.: #nursing, #medicalresearch, #nursingschool, #yearofthenurse) provide an easy way to curate and tune into specific topics of conversation.
Think of any social media channel as a cocktail party where thousands of conversations take place simultaneously. Just like a large cocktail party, the only way to know which conversations and people to engage with is to listen carefully for those that sound most interesting.
On any of these sites, typing a keyword or hashtag into the search bar will produce most conversations containing that phrase or term; the user then chooses those that are most intriguing. It’s difficult to know what will turn up and what new information or opportunities may arise from simply listening to what others have to say, but the chances of learning something useful is quite high.
There is no end to how a nursing professional can use social media to their advantage.
News, podcasts, publishers, nurse influencers and entrepreneurs, researchers, recruiters, and others hang out on these platforms, and the ambitious nurse ready to be a sponge can absorb the good and reject the bad that comes along with 21st-century social media.
Yes, social media can easily become a time suck, but thoughtful and disciplined use can result in opportunities, connections, friendships, and of course cat videos.
Nurses can get social, use the platforms well, and glean all there is to glean from these networks spanning the virtual globe.
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on many social media platforms---including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram - as well as at www.nursekeith.com and Digital Doorway. See Educator Profile