Public Health Nurses & Twitter

Saturday, July 04, 2015 4:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Carol Bush

I believe mastering conversation strategies via social media is as essential to today’s nursing practice as our stethoscopes and our brain. Why?

The world of healthcare has amazing potential for using social media to reduce waste, improve efficiency, quickly share evidence based information and research, allow providers to give more time to patients, and possibly reduce healthcare costs!

I’m a Healthcare Social Media Evangelist

Not “Social Media Expert"...far from it. I AM passionate and sincere in my desire to encourage nurses to claim their place at the table. Nurses are the most trusted profession.  We have amazing power as curators of accurate and evidence-based health information!  Corporations would pay billions to have our powerful brand!

People go online for their health information. We should meet them where they are. Social media channels provide a fabulous way for us to educate,  inform and network professionally.

Twitter users are often the first people to know the newest information, and love to post updates about it online.  It’s an interesting way to see what’s new in the world – finding out what people are talking about literally “right now”.  Plus it creates an interesting crowd from which to ask questions like, “ Is anyone getting anything out of this conference? “

But don’t take my word for it.  Let me introduce you to Phil Bauman. 

Phil  is a registered nurse….among other things…and helps physicians, nurses, and other healthcare leaders design better relationships with patients by focusing on the intersection of Healthcare and emerging technologies. 

You can find some of his thoughts  at  HealthIsSocial .  He wrote the following in a blog post back in 2009:

With 26 letters in the alphabet arranged within 140 characters, there are over 1.2 x 10^198 possible character combinations. Of course, the number of meaningful sentences is far less than that but a point stands out:  there’s a virtually infinite number of short pulses of (meaningful) information that Twitter can facilitate.

He also put together an awesome list of 140 Healthcare Uses for Twitter.  (You will want to check out his ebook on Slide Share)  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • ·       Disaster alerting and response
  • ·       Nurse Mentoring and Collaboration
  • ·       Publishing supportive care tips
  • ·       Issuing Amber alerts
  • ·       Live Tweeting during  nursing conferences
  • ·       Sharing research and evidence based practice
  • ·       Real time satisfaction survey links with real time follow up

So how do I get started, you might ask?

It doesn’t have to be a grand scheme.  Begin like I did….take one step.  Start where you are.  I must admit, I felt a bit intimidated at first, however I soon learned the Twitter healthcare community is very welcoming AND they were talking about A LOT MORE than what they had for lunch!

I have been on Twitter now for over 5 years.  During that time, I have not only gained new friends, but collaborated on national health projects as both a volunteer and consultant, been interviewed by national healthcare reporters, and been invited to give presentations to nursing organizations across the region and country related to my experience with Twitter.

Ready to get started?  Now is the perfect time to join in the conversation!

Go to and sign up for FREE (choose a name and a password).  I recommend using your real name as your twitter handle.  Claim your personal brand. (You will find me @cbushrn…my whole name was already taken).

You can use Twitter on the web or on your phone – you can look at it once a day or once a week.  Don’t feel obligated to look at it and respond instantly…’s your network, after all!

Once you’re signed up, you can start “following” people and they can “follow” you.  I am following people who have interesting things to say about healthcare innovation, healthcare social media, oncology nursing, telehealth and gardening.  I also follow regional weather.  Hey, I live in Kansas, during the summer, I need real-time access to severe weather locations!!

Next step?  Get connected!

Start by following me (@cbushrn)  and I’ll be glad to follow you.

Let’s get a conversation started! Tweet your favorite quote about innovation or change, followed by @cbushrn #disruptivenurse.  Like this post from the APHN twitter account:


Next, follow APHN (@PHNurse_org) then share a favorite public health resource, article or tool & mention the APHN account.  Like this:

If you’d like to use Twitter and need some more guidance, I highly recommend checking out our colleagues from the United Kingdom  @WeNurses  and their  marrvy  Twitterversity.    It’s my favorite quick and practical guide to Twitter…just for nurses…and addresses all levels of Twitter experience!

Now what are you waiting for?   I look forward to connecting!

Carol Bush is an oncology nurse, telehealth advocate, blogger, gardening geek and disruptive innovator.

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