Friday, 4 January 2013

Is #wenurses THE NHS social movement?

I’m late to the party - #wenurses  has been around for a while; but then. I’m not a nurse. I discovered #wenurses by accident and lurked in the background of a few of their weekly tweetups.  What a joy.  Usually my Twitter feed “nhs” search column has an ever-increasing stream of negativity and attacks on the NHS.  #wenurses is different.

#wenurses is a way for nurses of all disciplines and interests to connect using social media. They can get training in using Twitter, have blogs, resources and are active with tweetups, workshops and blogs.

#wenurses tweetups are Thursday evenings at 8pm. The first tweetup of 2013 was a delight in the endless positive comments about the successes of 2012 and filled with ideas on what to do in 2013. I loved the way someone suggested it would be good to get a CEO to join them. Someone replied mentioning the twitter names of those who may be good to ask. By the end of the tweetup a number of those CEO’s were joining in the chat. That is digital democracy at it’s best.

These are nurses who don’t talk about what’s wrong, or complain about the reforms. They are asking questions about how they can be better at what they do, how they can get help in understanding changes, such as commissioning.  

Is it a social movement? I think it is because:
  • There is no organisational or policy imperative that they come together and do something
  • There is a simple website around which they can organise themselves on social media; it#s #wenurses website and isn't a subset of another organisation. The branding and identity is clear.
  • There are no apparent rules, other than a very good statement of appropriate behaviour for nurses using social media
  • It’s self-organising around topics
  • It’s driven by the passion of individuals
  • The purpose is clear; to use social media to connect the community of NHS nurses, to share knowledge and to provide support.

The friends and family test comes into use in the NHS in a few weeks. This is where patients will be asked if they would like a member of their family or a close friend cared for on this ward, in this hospital, by this doctor etc.  When I’m a patient, I’m going to be looking out for the small #wenurse badge. If I see a #wenurse mug on the desk then I’ll know already that this is a good placed to be.

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