Would you say that social media has revolutionized our lives and professional endeavors? Everyone seems to have strong opinions about Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and now Threads... And most of these platforms are frequently criticized for their distractions and potential downsides. They can be distracting, for sure. How many times have you gone down the rabbit hole to discover what kind of cheese you are or what Harry Potter house you belong to?
The term "social media" encompasses more than your Facebook newsfeed or Instagram account. Social Media is a "collective term for websites and applications that focus on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration". (source) This can include "blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, social networking sites, photo-sharing sites, instant messaging, video-sharing sites, podcasts, widgets, and virtual worlds." (source) All of these can be incredibly powerful tools when used consciously and purposefully. Today we're going to explore those positive benefits as they relate to our perioperative community, focusing on education, networking, and communication.
Education - Learning Beyond the Classroom
Social media has opened up endless educational opportunities and has broken the traditional barriers of learning, allowing us to connect with experts, access cutting-edge research, and stay updated on the latest advancements in our field. By following reputable healthcare organizations, professional associations, and influential figures, we can access educational resources, webinars, conferences, and even participate in online courses. Furthermore, social media platforms provide a space for us to engage in professional discussions, share case studies, and seek advice from colleagues around the world. This collaborative learning environment encourages critical thinking, expands our knowledge base, and challenges us to grow as professionals.
Networking - Expanding Connections and Collaboration
The advent of social media has allowed networking to take on a whole new dimension. Long gone
are the days when we had to rely solely on local conferences or professional gatherings to expand our professional connections. Through platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook groups, we can connect with perioperative professionals from various specialties, cultures, and geographic locations.
Building a strong network is vital for our personal and professional growth. Social media allows us to interact with like-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and form meaningful relationships. It also exposes us to different ideas, thoughts, and opinions that can challenge us and create an open dialogue on current trends and the “sacred cows” that need to be addressed in the OR. These connections can lead to collaboration on research projects, sharing best practices, and even job opportunities. By engaging in online communities, we can contribute to the growth of our profession and enhance our influence within the healthcare community.
Communication - Amplifying Our Voices
Social media functions as a powerful communication tool. It offers a platform to share our experiences, insights, and challenges, thus amplifying our voices beyond the confines of the walls of our workplace. Through blogs, vlogs, or podcasts, we can educate the public about what we do in the OR, we can advocate for change (smoke evacuation legislation and education is a good example of this) and we can highlight areas for improvement within our practice.
Social media also enables us to stay informed about policy changes, guidelines, and industry news that directly impacts our practice. By engaging with healthcare organizations and policymakers, we can actively participate in shaping the future of perioperative nursing. Are you following AORN, AST, AAMI, First Case, CCI, and the ANA on LinkedIn or Facebook? You should be! These are just a few examples of organizations that regularly put out helpful, educational information on their social media platforms. And it's easily accessible because it shows up right in your newsfeed - it basically comes to you!
Social Media in Nursing - Making an Impact!
In today’s digital age, social media has transformed the way perioperative nurses learn, connect, and communicate. It presents incredible opportunities for education, networking, and communication, allowing us to break down barriers, overcome geographical limitations, and elevate our profession to new heights. However, it's important to approach social media with a discerning mindset, always verifying the credibility of sources and maintaining professionalism in our interactions. Rather than shunning these platforms out of fear or mistrust, let’s learn to embrace these platforms responsibly and ethically.
When perioperative nurses, thought leaders, and educators show up on social media platforms, we have the ability to showcase the exceptional qualities of the perioperative specialty. We can take advantage of the global reach that social media affords us, and we can inspire and educate the next generation of perioperative professionals.
Keep connecting, keep learning, and share what you know with the world!
Until next time,