Leverage the Power of Social Media to Improve Your Nursing Career

Leverage the Power of Social Media to Improve Your Nursing Career

Can the power of social media really be used to improve your nursing career?

The short answer is: You Betcha! Of course, there are some strategies behind this idea, and there is some care needed in what you post.

In using social media, one rule of thumb that every nurse must remember is: it takes years to build a reputation and only a second to destroy it. Everything you put on social media can live forever, even after it’s deleted, so you must take care.

Another point to keep in mind is that you will be judged for everything you publish using social media. Good or bad, you’re going to get feedback, and sometimes you’re going to need a thick skin.

No matter what type of nurse you are, the above points hold true for everyone, whether you’re a nursing instructor with students that both adore and detest your teaching style or a clinical nurse with appreciative or challenging patients and family members. Social media is not only a source of information, it can also look a lot like getting picked for a team in gym class. It’s just the nature of the beast.

Social Media is Here to Stay.

Whether you are looking to become a nurse leader or maintain your positive as one, using social media to enhance and grow your position is a smart idea. There are new social media platforms popping up every day, and the good news is that you only need to have an account on one or two to stay in the loop and use their venues to your professional advantage.

Grow Your Professional Network.  

LinkedIn is still, by far, the best platform to grow your professional network online, and there are others that are up-and-coming (see Next Wave Connect or KevinMD online).

In addition to your professional profile, you can join groups managed by professional nursing organizations, with national and state chapters, which is an easy way to find other like minded individuals. The opportunity to collaborate on projects or attend conferences are just a couple of the many benefits to joining a professional group on LinkedIn.

One of the great points about LinkedIn is that you instantly have thousands of like-minded professionals/resources at your fingertips. Stuck on a research project? Ask for help or opinions. Want to talk to someone in a specialty you’ve been considering, it will be easy to find someone. I have located a lot of fabulous guests for my podcast through LinkedIn contacts, and because everyone lists their background and experience, I already have possible topics we can discuss on the show.

More “Social” Social Media

Although Facebook started out aimed at college students, it’s become a strong influencer with professional nursing networks and associations. Nurses can not only connect with their co-workers, including nurse managers, but can also join professional groups and follow association pages to stay up-to-date on the latest news and developments. The nature of Facebook is that it is a little more relaxed with people sharing details of their private and professional lives. What’s great about Facebook is that you can create your own privacy rules by assigning people to groups that you create. You can designate certain people as close friends and others as acquaintances or even local friends. Everytime you share an update, you can choose who sees the post.

Twitter is a great platform for exchanging information through links and quick updates, but it’s a little more difficult to grow your professional network if you’re just starting out. It is better to tackle the above two social platforms first and then navigate over to Twitter. One of the biggest blessings/curses of Twitter is that you are limited to 140 characters for an update, although you can attach shortened links and quote other people’s Tweets.

Don’t Take It All Too Seriously.

You can show your fun side, but I’d limit that to Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn is considered to be a more serious platform for the exchange of ideas. That said, on Facebook and Twitter you can show time with family and pets, activities, get-togethers at work, community work you’re involved in, or whatever else allows people to see the well-rounded and social you. This can work to great advantage in collaborating on projects, or even in a job search.You never know who is looking for someone just like you!

What did we miss? I’d love to hear how you use social media to improve your nursing career. Thanks for reading and leave a comment below!

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within’, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.