By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA
Engaging in social media networking by health care professionals continues to cause hesitation.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding social media networking, nurses at Scripps Cancer Center in San Diego, CA embrace it. They decided to educate themselves for a deeper understanding of this powerful form of real-time communication.
They are proactive and they step outside the box to gain knowledge to help them navigate through the social media networking maze.
In a recent interview with Guy Kawasaki, New York Times Best-Selling author, co-founder Alltop.com, and former chief evangelist of Apple, Kawasaki talked about the value of companies jumping the curve to excel. (Kawasaki’s latest book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.)
At the 31st Annual Scripps Oncology Nurses Symposium in San Diego, CA, Scripps Cancer Center stepped outside the oncology arena, jumped the curve and included “The Use of Social Media in Health Care,” in its conference curriculum amid topics surrounding the clinical aspects of cancer.
Course topics included, “Melanoma: 2011 and Beyond,” “Cancer and Fertility,” “Thoracic Oncology Tumor Board,” “Nutrition and Cancer: Myths, Controversies and Realities,” and “Compassion Fatigue: Healing the Healer,” to name a few, and “The Use of Social Media in Health Care.”
I had the pleasure of presenting this workshop at two different times, each one, 1 1/2 hours in length to an audience of nurses and other health care professionals.
While social media networking is exploding, and curious nurses listened and participated in the presentation, it’s clear that hesitation remains paramount with health care professionals’ involvement in social media networking.
While nurses have a wealth of information to share, they are cautious to dive in. In fact, surprisingly, a few of the nurses fearlessly trumpeted that they aren’t familiar with a blog and that they don’t know the difference between twitter and a tweet.
Cathleen Sugarman, RN, MSN, AOCNS, Oncology Advance Practice Nurse at Scripps Memorial Hospital and Cancer Center and conference director, said it’s important to include a workshop on social media networking because it’s an area that nurses don’t know too much about. “While social media networking can be a big problem,” it “enhances communication between patients and health care providers,” she said.
How many nurses will jump the curve and involve themselves with social media networking? That’s unknown, but one thing is for sure, social media networking isn’t going to go away. It’s only going to get faster and fiercer.
While hesitation remains, the 31st annual oncology nurses symposium included a critical topic for nurses and other health care professionals that is changing the landscape of health care.
Social media networking may be polarizing to some, but that shouldn’t stop them from learning more about it and taking the first steps to become active in a spectacular platform to help engage patients and health consumers. Social media networking also allows colleagues to engage and collaborate with each.
If you are a health care professional or health care organization entertaining the idea of social media networking, here is a list of 20 excellent resources to help guide you.
Go beyond the status quo, jump the curve, don’t resist change, but embrace it.
Are you a health care professional who embraces social media networking? Did you dive in or proceed with caution? What tips do you have to help other health care professionals and organizations get started. Are you a health care consumer who values insights from health care professionals?
As always, thank you for your time.
More on Social Media Networking from Healthin30