When it comes to nursing and social media, you might say that Debra Wolf, PhD, RN, wrote the book. She did, literally. Wolf, an associate professor at Chatham University Department of Nursing, co-authored Social Media for Nursing, Educating Patients and Practitioners in a Networked World. Despite her enthusiasm for the subject, she says not all nursing professions are embracing social media to the point of where they use it to expand their services. "There's a lot of work out there right now in helping organizations extend their services through social media. Some of them are starting with physicians and with telehealth or telemedicine programs. But the push to have nurses utilize it is not occurring yet and that was one of the reasons for publishing the book.
"We need to help nurses understand social media and then to integrate it into their current practice," Wolf told InformationWeek Healthcare. One nurse who appreciates the value of social media, according to Wolf, is Renee Thompson, president and CEO of RTConnections. Thompson started the company because she believed that patients deserve to be cared for by competent, compassionate nurses and that nurses should believe they make a difference.
"To make that happen I offer keynote presentations that help nurses take ownership of their practice; seminars and workshops to improve clinical and professional practice; and consulting to help organizations create nurturing and supportive work environments for employees and the patients they serve," Thompson told InformationWeek Healthcare. "We use social media to socialize with other 'people' but not to engage in conversation as a profession. Nurses are way behind other professionals in getting involved in social media."