Social networking sites have become a mainstream, convenient means for people to share their personal and professional experiences with others. Within the nursing profession, online social network communities can provide not only personal interaction, but also professional connections and mobility.
Unlike some professions, where a nine-to-five schedule is standard, nurses have to juggle 12-hour shifts and be “on call” with their personal lives. It can be quite difficult to date — or to even attend social functions. Online social networking sites afford nurses the opportunity to stay connected, get back in touch, or simply meet new people despite those crazy work schedules.
Reaching Out With Social Media
For nurses abroad on contract, being a part of a social networking site makes it easier to instantly connect with loved ones back home — while simultaneously staying connected with coworkers around the world. For travel nurses on 13-week assignments, the loneliness of living in a new town can be minimized through the ability to go online and connect with others who are in similar circumstances, or who are just interested in “chatting” with new people.
It’s also an easy means of sharing your moods and opinions, or uploading pictures or videos of the places you have seen and the people you have met along the way. Additionally, social networking sites can make it easier to connect with other nurses living in your particular city or country.
How Nurses Use Social Media Professionally
Professionally, online communities are able to offer nurses advice, information, encouragement and career opportunities. Some online nursing communities such as NurseTogether.com enable nurses to interact instantly via group pages, online chat portals, or through questions posted for others to read and respond via forums.
These interactive tools allow nurses to freely discuss and offer viable advice to one another. At times, this online interaction offers the support that’s not always available in a nurse’s daily personal interaction with coworkers, or even sometimes with loved ones.
Hospitals and other organizations have begun to recognize that these social online communities serve as an integral part of their nurse marketing and recruitment efforts. Additionally, savvy facilities are quickly moving their recruitment to the web via online career fairs.
Using Social Media As A Nursing Research Tool
Utilizing instant chat, nurses and recruiters are able to connect in real time. With this interactive live medium, nurses avoid the frustration of waiting for a response that sometimes takes weeks to receive after applying for a job online, or even after submitting a resume directly to a facility.
With online recruiting, recruiters are typically more responsive since they have direct contact with the nurses, without wasting travel time or dealing with the high cost of standard job fairs.
As a nursing professional, there are guidelines to remember before going online and partaking in social networking sites. (Check out these six guidelines you should always keep in mind when interacting on social media sites.) By utilizing these tips, you can get the most out of your time, and have an active and meaningful life both online and offline.
One word of caution though — being a part of the online social networking community can be a lot of fun, and very addictive!