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Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of “Nursing Notes Live.” I’m your host, Jamie Davis. I’m an R.N., a health educator, here on behalf of Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future. Each month, the Nursing Notes newsletter is going to be accompanied by a couple of episodes of this program to provide you additional insights and access to some audio files that relate some of the content for the monthly newsletter. You can find out more over at nursingnoteslive.com including links to subscribe to this podcast and the Nursing Notes newsletter. So please head over and check out nursingnoteslive.com.
This month’s episode, like the Nursing Notes newsletter, they’re devoted to looking at social media applications for the month of October 2010 and the uses of nurses, nursing students, educators in using those social media tools to provide better patient care, to provide sources of education and information to provide better outcomes for our patients. Earlier in October, a group of active social media nurse bloggers, podcasters, met up with other social media healthcare social media sectors to talk about the future of healthcare and how social media and web content can be used to improve outcomes for our patients. Now, the special Social Health track at the BlogWorld in New Media Expo at Las Vegas was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future and included several exciting sessions and discussions about everything from patient bloggers to integrating voices from the healthcare industry sectors with patients and healthcare professionals as one unified voice in the social media environment.
Now among the most inspiring stories was the story of e-Patient Dave. Dave is a cancer survivor. He credits his involvement with social media, with online patient forums, and blogs to have a huge contribution into his survival from kidney cancer to this day. I got the chance to chat with e-Patient Dave right after his keynote speech and I got a little bit from him on his ideas about the importance of social media awareness for nurses.
Jamie Davis: Hi, this is Jamie Davis at BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas 2010. I’m interviewing e-Patient Dave here very briefly. Dave, you talked a lot about patient blogging and patient advocacy, what would you say to nurses as they educate patients about their healthcare problems encouraging them to become more involved in the internet aspect of information about their conditions because so often in healthcare we are told to not pay attention or not encourage our patients to go on the web for information?
Dave: This is just the latest version of an on-going – the important skill which is patient education. Whatever the field maybe—sex or smoking or disease management or whatever—health professionals are in a great and trusted position. The Pew Internet Project research shows that the public prefers and trusts the most information that comes from health professionals. They’re in a great position to give guidance. Like when my primary says, “Here’s a good website on this subject.” That’s really valuable to me. Now the thing is, everybody knows that there’s garbage on the internet and yet it’s also a vast resource. The skill, the teachable skill, is how to find good websites and point out ones that are relevant for a particular condition.
Jamie: Great, Dave. Well, thanks for sharing some of your thoughts about social media and nursing.
Dave: It’s a pleasure. From my own cancer case, I just had the most fabulous memories of good nurses really taking care of me. There’s so much of healing that depends on that experience of being taken care of. It’s a great profession.
Jamie: Thank you.
It’s always gratifying to hear from people like e-Patient Dave when he talks about the positive impact on his health and his life that nurses had during his recovery. Of course, from something as serious as kidney cancer and coming back from all of the challenges associated with those treatments, it must have been very helpful to have good nurses helping him out.
I was also lucky enough to catch up with Kerri Sparling of the sixuntilme.com blog. Kerri is another patient blogger. She has become a very vocal and positive advocate for practical solutions for diabetes patients. Let’s hear what Kerri had to say when we talked to her about the benefits of social media to her care and to health professionals that she might be coming in to contact with.
Jamie: I’m talking with Kerri Morrone-Sparling. She’s the author of “Six Until Me,” a patient blog, for a patient who has diabetes. Kerri is going to share with us a few things that she’d like to share with nurses about her experience with social media and maybe some things nurses can take away about what they can learn from things like patient blogs.
Kerri Sparling: Just kind of jumping off from that. I think that patient blogs are really every healthcare provider’s way of looking deep into the soul of people living with diseases. If you want a real perspective on what is like to live with the condition and all you see are maybe the lab results that come in; as a nurse, you’re looking at the numbers, you’re looking at the specifics of what’s wrong with them instead of what the big lifestyle might be like. I think reading patient blogs really gives you insights into what’s someone’s really like. The disease, notwithstanding, but then also how is it all lumped together.
Jamie: I know a lot of educational programs for diabetes are run by nurses. I would expect blogs like yours have some of these little tricks, these little tweaks, these little things that help you get through your day that don’t make it into a standardized educational program.
Kerri: I was married in 2008. Part of finding my perfect wedding dress was finding a wedding dress that I could create a pocket to hide my insulin pump. Now we’re talking real social media. People can tell you what your blood sugar goal should be for the day of your wedding, but they don’t actually tell you where to hide your pump in your pretty dress. I think that patient blogging is showing real deal intricate moments of what it is like to live with the disease. Not just the numbers like we talked about, but more – how do you actually get through the day? You’re wearing an insulin pump, well, where do you put it during moments of intimacy? Where do you hide it in your wedding dress? How do you keep your two-year-old from grabbing the tubing and pulling out of your body? Nurses, I think, should keep those things in mind when they’re making prescriptions or even giving care suggestions to their patients because they need to keep in mind the real life that happens outside of that maybe emergency care situation or even the doctor’s visit.
Jamie: Information like that is readily available in social media settings for them. They just need to know where to look.
Kerri: Actually, just find what you need to google. Maybe you can google the most ridiculous phrases and you can still find exactly what you’re looking for. There’s something for everyone, for better or for worse.
Jamie: Great. Well, Kerri, thanks a lot.
Kerri: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Clearly, not the type of thing you’d hear in your standardized diabetes education program in your facility or your community centers, but certainly valuable information for a person living with diabetes all found on Kerri’s blog, “Six Until Me.” There is a lot of valuable information available from patient blogs and forums related to specific diseases or disorders and wonderful resources you can refer to your patients. As well as providing you, the healthcare professional, a wealth of information about what it is like to live with a particular disease: practical solutions, support from people online like e-Patient Dave and Kerri Sparling, can significantly improve the quality of your patient’s lives.
Now in addition to patient bloggers like Kerri and Dave, there were several popular nurse bloggers there and podcasters as well. I was really excited to get a chance to see all of them. I’ve talked with many of them on the phone but never met them face-to-face in many cases. It was great to meet those folks. That includes Cora Vizcarra from infusionnurse.org. Cora’s first trip to BlogWorld was, I think very successful for her and I suspect it will not be her last. Cora had some advice to share with me and with you about her thoughts on social media for nurses when I got a chance to sit down with her.
Jamie: Back with BlogWorld 2010 and I’m speaking with Cora Vizcarra, a.k.a. the Infusion Nurse. Cora, you’ve been learning a lot about some of the different ways social media is interacting both with patients, with physician blogs, with healthcare in general. What are some of the ways that you think nurses can best use social media as either as an educational tool, information for themselves, or networking?
Cora Vizcarra: First of all, I think nurses should at least understand that social media is not just for personal use. It’s not just to put pictures for grandma and grandpa. But I think that they can use it as for professional development. [There’s] a lot of educational materials out there. Also, just to inform themselves because patients now are more informed about social media and other things regarding their disease states. I think we, as professionals, should at least be aware where the patients are getting the information. We need to be a step ahead, if not, at their side.
Jamie: How are some of the things you’ve learned so far today changing maybe your perspective on what’s you’re planning on doing with the infusionnurse.org blog or some of the other things you do on Twitter?
Cora: Well, this is such a nice experience for me. This is one of those conventions—non-nursing or non-medical conventions—that I’ve been to. A little bit overwhelming, but I think it just really made me realize that nurses are just so far behind in all this. I’m hoping that the things that I’m learning today, I could create a little bit more content and be more engaging so that people will come and read my blog.
Jamie: We’ll talk to you again, I’m sure, very soon.
Cora: Okay. Thank you.
Nurse Christina McMenemy blogs not about nursing but about her trials and tribulations as a mom. Now, as a nurse, with the background in labor and delivery, pediatrics, and telehealth nursing, she had a great deal to share with the listeners here of Nursing Notes Live and talk about her thoughts about nurses and the uses for social media.
Jamie: Christina McMenemy is a blogger from Ohio. She’s a nurse. She also writes a mommy blog. She’s here talking about some of the things that she thinks nurses can get from a social media. Christina, thanks for coming on the show. This is going to be for the Nursing Notes community for Johnson & Johnson. We want to find out what you think other nurses could learn from being more actively involved in things like Twitter or Facebook or blogging and other forms of social media?
Christina: Well, I think of a couple of things actually. One would be that being involved and seeing more in what patients are writing, I think can make you a better nurse just because you are getting involved, you’re seeing what they’re going through from their side of things. Sometimes you don’t realize that what you’re doing when you’re working with the patient may not be perceived by the patient as something that is either beneficial for them or they may not understand why you are doing, what you are doing. Seeing their response through their blogging, through social media, through their blogging and things like that, I think really helps with helping a nurse understand what is the patient going through. Giving them a little bit more of a human side to them in some ways. I think the other big advantage of nurses being involved in social media is that the nature of the business changes so fast. Healthcare is always such a fast-moving industry. A lot of times just because your hospital is keeping up with the basics of what’s new, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting all of the “what’s new.” Sometimes seeing what other nurses are doing or other things that are working in treatment at other facilities might inspire you then to seek change at your own facility so that you can actually improve conditions there, improve patient outcome, improve even just patient happiness. I think both of those are both valid reasons for nurses to get involved in social media.
Jamie: Is there one place that you find a lot of information as a nurse in social media locations? Are there particular blogs or do you use Twitter more than other things or Facebook?
Christina: In regards to nursing, probably I use Twitter a lot. Also just reading a lot of different nurse blogs. There’s so many I can think of—I don’t want to just name one and single them out—but there are so many nurse blogs that I go to and I read just because they all have such a unique and different perspectives.
Jamie: I know that when I read other nurse bloggers, I’m always struck by how common all of our experiences are.
Christina: That’s true. Yes. They are. Whether you are working in emergency room or labor and delivery or end-of-life care or anything, it’s amazing to see just how there’s still some commonality in all of us. We have such different jobs and job duties and yet it always boils down to just taking care of the patient, helping them with whatever they’re going through.
Jamie: Kristina, where can we find your blog, in case some of the listeners might want to check it out?
Christina: My blog is “A Mommy Story.” You can find it at www.amommystory.com
Jamie: Great. Well, we have to check that out and thanks for sharing some of your thoughts with the other nurses that are listening.
Christina: Well, thank you so much for letting me talk for a bit.
Finally, I was excited to get a chance to chat with Lorry Schoenly. She’s a nurse educator, a researcher. She has an active blog on correctional nursing and I was able to sit down with her briefly and talk about some of the things she’s involved with including an upcoming podcast where she’ll be doing interviews and segments on the trials and tribulations of correctional nurses. Lorry also really did a great job of summing up the importance of nurses and their involvement in social media, their awareness of what’s going on in the web, for information, for their patients and nursing practice in social media in general when she and I got a chance to chat on the exhibit floor at BlogWorld.
Jamie: We’re in the exhibit hall at BlogWorld Expo and I’m here with Lorry Schoenly from correctionalnurse.net. We’re talking about nurses in social media. Lorry, you were part of the social media Health Care track yesterday. What were the sort of the things you took away from the discussions about social media patient care nursing?
Lorry: Well, it was really an awesome program, Jamie. I really took away the opportunity through social media to really connect up the groups both medical, nursing. Even we had the pharma component in there as well as patients to really look at moving healthcare in our country and around the world to the next level.
Jamie: What do you think is the next step? We talked about a lot of different things yesterday with the different groups that were there. But what’s the next step for maybe the nurse that’s out there that wants to become a little more involved in this type of a movement where it is really an online discussion between all of the stakeholders?
Lorry: Well, I think that the nursing profession, the next step for so many of us as nurses is to just explore social media. I think that it’s a whole new world, sort of an alternative world for many people. Just to get in there, as you and I did aways back, and to connect up with the nurses that are out there and movements that are going and really add their voice to it for a lot of people who are listening and might be just getting involved on some of the key areas such as Facebook and Twitter. For those of us who are involved, I think taking the conversation – again, moving that conversation along, we had a face-to-face here and so now I think we have a hash tag of [social health] that we can now use to continue the dialog out in the different channels that we have in social media.
Jamie: That’s really the important thing is that this discussion doesn’t end when the conference is over. Many nursing conferences, while you may develop friendships, the discussions held there have to wait till next year whereas in this type of setting in social media we’re all connected pretty much all the time.
Lorry: That’s really true. I think that’s what I have learned in my couple of years. I’m still really a newbie in social media but my couple of years involved is that it’s a continuous conversation and I know that I have nurse colleagues now from every walk of life and every specialty area and they also come to know from my perspective what correctional nursing is all about. I think again that just expands the opportunities for the profession of nursing.
Jamie: What would you say to the nurse out there who may be thinking she might want to start a blog but she’s not sure if she has enough to say or what she would possibly talk about? What would you say to encourage that nurse to move forward and share her conversation like you have?
Lorry: Well, first I would say that any nurse really has something to say. That there are other people out there need to hear. There is now such an opportunity to really get into the conversation and into the dialog because there are so many free platforms now available to do that in. Maybe a simple as googling “nurse blog” and coming up with a few folks to follow get some ideas of what they’re talking about. I think it will spark some energy towards some things to say and then just try it. I just got out and started. You start and it goes from there.
Jamie: I know that all the nurse bloggers I know, and myself included, and you are more than happy to help anybody that wanted to come and get some pointers on how to start their own blog. I know that all the nurse bloggers would love to have another nurse blogger out there.
Lorry: That’s absolutely true. It’s a very free and giving group, a very helping group and those of you who have gone away before me such as you, Jamie, and Kim of Emergiblog have been great mentors for those of us along the way. We’re very happy then to be mentors of others. I would say, “Jump in and join the conversation.”
Jamie: Nursing on social media isn’t so different from nursing in general.
Lorry: That’s very true.
Jamie: Well, Lorry, thank you very much. We’ll look forward to correctionalnurse.net and reading more from you. I know you’ve got some podcast or audio programs you’re going to be creating soon.
Lorry: That’s true. I’m on BlogTalkRadio, it’s “Correctional Nursing Today.” Thanks.
Jamie: Thank you.
Just like Lorry said, “Jump in and get started with social media.” You can find starting points of your own for exploring the healthcare aspects of social media by heading over to nursingnoteslive.com. Check out the October 2010 edition of the Nursing Notes email newsletter brought to you by Johnson and Johnson’s campaign for nursing’s future. You can also find links to subscribe to this podcast via iTunes or your favorite RSS reader and don’t miss our other episodes for this month. I had a great time interviewing nurse blogger and podcast host, Kim McAllister of the Emergiblog at emergiblog.com. I’m your host, Jamie Davis, for Nursing Notes Live. Don’t forget, when you’re taking care of your clients, take care of yourself too.