Advice and development

A healthy approach to social networking

As well as providing professional support and advice, social media can help improve your health and well-being, say Plymouth University's Ray Jones and Julie Woolman. 
iStock-636043558 FB.jpg

As well as providing professional support and advice, social media can help improve your health and well-being, say Plymouth University's Ray Jones and Julie Woolman

It can be difficult for nurses to maintain a good work-life balance, given the commitments and pressures of their job.

It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that social media could be part of the answer; many people regard it as a waste of time, but there are ways of using it that can help rather than hinder you.

The main method of control is turning off your devices. You can't concentrate on an essay or yoga if you can constantly hear Twitter and Facebook notifications. Decide how much time is worth spending on each source of information and stick to your limit.

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As well as providing professional support and advice, social media can help improve your health and well-being, say Plymouth University's Ray Jones and Julie Woolman


If used appropriately, social media platforms can enhance a better work-life balance. Picture: iStock

It can be difficult for nurses to maintain a good work-life balance, given the commitments and pressures of their job.

It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that social media could be part of the answer; many people regard it as a waste of time, but there are ways of using it that can help rather than hinder you.

The main method of control is turning off your devices. You can't concentrate on an essay or yoga if you can constantly hear Twitter and Facebook notifications. Decide how much time is worth spending on each source of information and stick to your limit. 

Shared experience 

Other ways to control social media include: 

  • Deleting your social media apps.
  • Having a social media detox day. 
  • Culling your contacts. 
  • Using your time effectively. 

Online Twitter communities such as @NurChat and @WeNurses can offer support. Many students use Twitter as they embark on their nursing careers and discover how willingly colleagues offer encouragement and support online. 

The use of online spaces to help health and social care workers cope has been the focus of various research projects. For example, Storytelling for Social and Health Care Workers Professional Identity Development – StorySHOP – is developing a digital training programme based on storytelling. The aim is to help nurses and other healthcare professionals deal with stressful situations at work by sharing their experiences. However, remember to consider confidentiality issues when talking online about work, and make sure you stick to the guidelines in the Nursing and Midwifery Council's code of conduct. 

Facebook fitcamp 

Plymouth University third-year nursing student Julie Woolman describes how using social media has improved her health:

'In April 2015, a friend on Facebook posted that she had been attending a weekly fitness session. After discussing this with a group of nursing students, I sent a message to the personal trainer who ran the sessions and we talked about how we could run fitness sessions for nursing students. 

'A Facebook group was set up and I started to organise weekly events through the page, where people could also book sessions, and Student Nurse Fitcamp was born. 

'After several months of running successful fitcamps, I came across the Plymouth University student union's Motivate Generate Activate (MGA) project, set up to encourage students to get involved in sport. 

'I contacted the university's MGA support worker through Twitter, then met with her. She loved the idea of healthcare professionals getting together to keep fit, and said the MGA project could subsidise the fitness sessions to encourage more nursing students to join in.

'By promoting fitcamp on Twitter, 29 people, including students from all three years of the degree, regularly attend the sessions. Now called Student Nurse and Healthcare Professionals’ Bootcamp, it has a new personal trainer who helps train students so they can keep fit and act as role models for their patients.' 


About the author

 

 

 

Ray Jones is professor of health informatics at the school of nursing and midwifery, Plymouth University, Devon

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