Social Media in Nursing: Five Steps to Make Sure We’re Not Left Behind Again

Updated on August 19, 2012

By Renee Thompson, MSN, RN, CMSRN

Ask a group of nurses if they are on social media and most will say yes. Ask the same group if they are ACTIVE, meaning that they post, read and engage in conversation, and only some will say yes. Then, ask if they use social media as a professional nurse and almost none will say yes.

But. Does it really matter?

There are over 3.1 million nurses in the country yet we are known as the “silent majority”. Nurses have the ability to influence the health of our public. And guess what? Our public is on social media. Therefore, if we don’t get involved, we will again be left behind.

For many of us, social media is overwhelming. With over 350 social media platform options, it’s hard to know where to start.

Step 1: Get a LinkedIn account and set up a profile

There are a ton of social media platforms out there. However, LinkedIn is the professional’s paradise.

Step 2:  Join LinkedIn nursing related groups

Type the word “nurse” in the search box (be sure you select groups and not people) and you’ll get a list of groups led by nurses. Just start reading the conversations and posts by other nurses. When you feel comfortable, ask a question or comment on someone’s post.

Step 3: Follow other nurses

If you have personal accounts on other social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, blog etc), “like” and “follow” nurses who are actively using social media (like me!). Just following other nurses who are active can help you learn how you can incorporate social media into your practice.

Step 4:  Find out how your patients are using social media

Ask your patients if they are using social media sites to gather health information. And then direct them to sites that are reputable (this will require that you know which sites are reputable).

Step 5:  Know your employer’s social media policy

Although social media is super awesome, there are some potential landmines that you need to be aware of. If you haven’t read your employer’s social media policy, make sure you do. Just make sure you aren’t posting anything negative about another healthcare professional, your organization or the nursing profession.

Bottom line is that our public is on social media. Whether we like it or not, nurses need to be too! After all, we are in the best position to influence patient decisions, promote what do as nurses and to improve the overall health of our public.

Make sure you “like”, “follow”, and “subscribe” to my various social media platforms. Would love to hear from you!

Renee is offering a social media seminar, Navigating the Social Media Super Highway: What Every Healthcare Professional Needs to Know, on Wednesday, September 5, at the Sewall Center on the Robert Morris University Campus. Download the brochure for more information.

Connect with Renee


Editor’s Note: this article appeared first on RTConnections blog. Used with permission by the author, Renee Thompson. Renee speaks nationwide to healthcare organizations and academic institutions motivating her audience at keynote addresses, professional conferences, workshops, and seminars.  Her most popular topics include: nurse-to-nurse bullying, effective communication, conflict resolution, and healthcare professional’s use of social media.

Author’s Bio: Renee Thompson is President and CEO of RTConnections, LLC. She has more than 20 years healthcare experience encompassing clinical practice, education, and executive leadership across the continuum of care.  This diverse experience has afforded Renee the unique ability to view the delivery of healthcare from a 360° perspective.  She is well known for her energizing and entertaining speaking style, along with her ability to simplify complex concepts in a way that helps nurses succeed.  

She speaks nationwide to healthcare organizations and academic institutions motivating her audience at keynote addresses, professional conferences, workshops, and seminars.  Renee inspires nurses and other healthcare professionals in a fun and interactive fashion sharing her vision through storytelling with meaningful life lessons and examples. Her presentations focus on improving clinical and professional competence, effective communication and leadership, building a positive and healthy workplace, and nurturing a culture of respect.

Renee’s passion for educating and her dedication to the nursing profession are common threads in all she does.  She is committed to leading nurses on the road to exemplary practice. To find out how you can bring Renee to your organization or next event, contact her through her website


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