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Making yourself heard

Social media reveals which issues resonate with nurses

Monday December 9, 2013
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One of the welcome changes that social media has brought to the media industry is amplified reader feedback. Content providers can gauge their audience’s thoughts and opinions much more quickly and extensively than in the days before Facebook and Twitter.

With more than 200,000 followers on those two platforms combined, Nurse.com uses social media not only to share our news and feature stories, continuing education modules and blog posts with RNs who otherwise might not see them, but also to hear more about which issues matter to nurses nationwide. We take to heart all responses because they give us insight and understanding into what sort of content is most meaningful to you.

In this, our annual Reader’s Issue, we look back at a sampling of the feedback we received through social media in 2013. We welcome much more of the same in 2014.

Reader practice tips

Our Facebook followers (Facebook.com/nursedotcom) give feedback on our news stories by sharing best practices and other clinical tips or opinions with their fellow audience members. A small sampling:

On expanding the use of statins per newly released recommendations:
Lifestyle changes should be first, then medications. Long-term use can cause liver damage and most patients see medications as a quick fix rather than change their diets. I feel education and dietary changes should be offered prior to medications.
— Jessica Sabol Rayner, Nov. 15

On how nurses can help seniors stay healthy and age gracefully:
Do your best to keep them well-fed and stimulated. No one would want to eat something if you were confined to a bed constantly. The elderly need social interaction and mental stimulation just as much as the rest of us. Talk to them, take them on walks, play simple games with them or do what they like to do. Then make sure they eat a proper diet.
— Nicolas Robinson-Berry, July 27

On preventing compassion fatigue:
Nurses need to have more efficient processes so they have time to really care for their patients instead of just staring at a monitor or computer screen. People who design new equipment and documentation systems are not truly considering nurses and the care that patients need.
— Christy Young Wisdom, Oct. 2

On the obesity epidemic:
Stop focusing on a person’s weight and focus on teaching healthy life habits, like eating real food and daily activity. Stop treating the people as if they are a menace to society and bringing us all down with every bite they take. Treat each client with the respect due any person who struggles with a medical condition, and continue to do and follow research that looks for real help for these people, without demonizing them or feeding the weight-loss industry’s profit.
— Rebecca Diane Yoder, Sept. 30

On helping ICU patients maintain muscle tone:
Muscle stimulator, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, passive range of motion, nutritional foods and qualified practitioners, such as nurses, occupational therapists and physical therapists. Collaboration contributes to patients’ early recovery.
— “Crowned Duchess,” Oct. 18

Reader story suggestions

On Jan. 6, we asked our Facebook followers what subjects they wanted us to cover in 2013. Among more than 40 comments, various suggested topics became stories. A sampling:

Changes due to Obamacare.
— Gary Agger
www.Nurse.com/Article/ACA-Answer-Questions (published Oct. 11)

Mandatory flu shots for nurses
— Dora Santos
www.Nurse.com/Article/Flu-Vaccine-Mandates (published Sept. 27)

Staffing shortages and safe nurse-to-patient ratio issues
— Trisha Lowe
www.Nurse.com/Article/Nurse-Staffing-Bill (published May 11)

Bullying in nursing
— Eileen Byrne Nolan
www.Nurse.com/Article/Verbal-Abuse (published June 21)

Emerging nursing specialties such as informatics, genetics, forensics.
— Cyndi Vas Cor
www.Nurse.com/Article/Genomics-Nursing (published Aug. 19)
www.Nurse.com/Article/Informatics-Nurses (published Sept. 16)

Reader blog suggestions

Our Scrubbed In blogger Meaghan O’Keeffe offered her suggestions for best nurse-written blogs (http://scrubs.nurse.com/blog/?p=2297). Readers responded with various recommendations for others. Among them:

“The Feminist Midwife — awesome reading.” (www.feministmidwife.com)
— Mary Kay Burke

“Minding the Bedside — how meditation can help nurses work more mindfully and compassionately at the bedside.” (www.mindingthebedside.com)
— Jerome Stone

“The Nerdy Nurse.” (www.thenerdynurse.com)
— Brittney Wilson

“Nurses labs — a great resource for nursing students.” (www.nurseslabs.com)
— “Christian RN”

“Impact ED Nurse – always makes me feel better after a long shift. (www.impactednurse.com)
— “Emma”

Advice columns

Some of our most popular social media posts are from our “Dear Donna” column, which offers career advice from well-known guru and author Donna Cardillo, RN, MA; and from our “Brent’s Law,” column, which provides a legal perspective on nursing issues by Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, an attorney in private practice.

Here are the most clicked-on posts of 2013:

1. “I think I was let go from my position at a hemodialysis center because I pointed out errors in patient care. What can I do about it?”

Nancy Brent replies: “You need to contact a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who works in employment law and who can analyze your termination in light of your bringing the issue described to the attention of the medical director and the facility. It is not known whose decision it was to terminate you, but it is quite interesting that it took place after you revealed the situation to the administration in the facility.” (posted Jan. 3)

Read more: www.Nurse.com/Article/Nancy-Hemodialysis

2. “Another employee took a photo of me with other nurses and posted it on her Facebook page. I was terminated for violating social media policy. Is this fair?”

Nancy Brent replies: “Your termination is an unfortunate one, but it is difficult to discuss without knowing what your facility’s social media policy says. It is assumed, though, that the policy is broadly stated and requires that anyone, including simply those who are in a photograph, can be disciplined when a photo is taken in the workplace.” (posted May 20)

Read more: www.Nurse.com/Article/Nancy-Facebook

3. “A few years back I was wrongfully terminated. Is there a blacklist? Why can I not get back into an ED?”

Dear Donna replies: “The hospital job market for nurses has changed quite a bit in the last several years. Hospitals are downsizing as care is shifting into alternative care settings, the home and the community. And because there is an abundance of nurses with current experience, most hospitals will not even consider someone who has been away from the bedside for six months or more. So don’t take it personally, and I doubt there is any blacklisting involved.” (posted Oct. 13)

Read more: www.Nurse.com/Article/Donna-Blacklist

4. “Can a nurse who earned a PhD use the title ‘doctor’ as long as they make it clear to patients that they are their nurse?”

Dear Donna replies: “The title ‘doctor’ is earned and granted to anyone with a doctoral degree be they a nurse, pharmacist, psychologist, administrator or educator. It is not now, and never has been, the exclusive entitlement of the physician. And since more nurses and other healthcare professionals are getting doctoral degrees these days, it will be more common.” (posted Oct. 6)

Read more: www.Nurse.com/Article/Donna-Title

5. “I was convicted of a felony, but it was removed from my background after completing probation. I am in nursing school. Will I get my license?”

Nancy Brent replies: “Your state Nurse Practice Act and its rules should be consulted to see what, if anything, they say about former convictions, whether a misdemeanor or a felony. Some state nurse practice acts prohibit licensure if there has been a conviction of any crime, while other nurse practice acts and rules provide for an evaluation of the particular conviction by the state board.” (posted Nov. 3)

Read more: www.Nurse.com/Article/Nancy-Felony

Buzz-worthy stories

Our most popular news stories of the year.

By Facebook engagement:

1. The long-held tradition of using a basin, soap and water to bathe hospitalized patients no longer is the recommended standard of practice, according to a new practice alert from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. (posted April 26)
www.Nurse.com/Article/Bathing-Protocols

2. The CDC has posted information on the new strain of avian influenza that has stricken 14 people, six of whom died, in China. How should U.S. healthcare facilities get prepared? (posted April 20)
www.Nurse.com/Article/Avian-Influenza

3. Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae have become increasingly resistant to last-resort antibiotics during the past decade, and more hospitalized patients are getting lethal infections that, in some cases, are impossible to cure, according to a CDC report. (posted March 8)
www.Nurse.com/Article/CRE-Alert

4. End of Shift: Helping new parents through grief leads nurse down new path. (posted March 27)
www.Nurse.com/Article/Parental-Grief

5. Nursing salaries appear to be stagnating, but there are ways to maximize your earning power even in a struggling job market. (posted Sept. 22)
www.Nurse.com/Article/Wealth-of-Opportunity

By Twitter clicks:

1. “Too often, nurses are seen as … uncaring to some of the younger nurses or newbies. That has to change.” (posted Sept. 18)
www.Nurse.com/Article/EOS/Seasoned-Nurse

2. ‘A little levity’ in nursing: “Many of us have a sense of humor, but the profession can be brutal.” (posted May 21)
www.Nurse.com/Article/Therapeutic-Humor

3. “What makes a good handoff? Just ask a periop nurse.” (posted July 22)
www.Nurse.com/Article/Perioperative-Handoffs

4. “Nursing rounds at many facilities now include family members.” (posted Aug. 5)
www.Nurse.com/Article/Building-Trust

5. “Demand, salaries soar for informatics nurses.” (posted Sept. 16)
www.Nurse.com/Article/Informatics-Nurses

Favorite blog posts

• Our Nurse.com blog (http://blog.nurse.com) features perspectives on key issues facing the profession from some of the nurses who work for our company.

The posts that drew the most reader comments:

ADN vs. BSN in Nursing: Time to ‘move forward together!’ (posted May 21)
— Martha Tice, RN, MS, ACHPN,
http://blog.nurse.com/2013/05/21/time-to-move-forward-together/

The flu vaccine controversy (posted Jan. 17)
— Jennifer Chaikin, RN-BC, MSN, MHA, CCRN
http://blog.nurse.com/2013/01/17/the-flu-vaccine-controversy/

Flu shots matter: Nurses must get the facts and spread the word (posted Oct. 10)
— Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN
http://blog.nurse.com/2013/10/10/flu-shots-matter-nurses-must-get-the-facts-and-spread-the-word/

It’s never too late to become a nurse (posted June 18)
— Judy McDaniel, RN, MSN
http://blog.nurse.com/2013/06/18/its-never-too-late-to-become-a-nurse/

Stand out! Get certified! (posted March 18)
— Linda Lindsay, BS, MSN, NP-C
http://blog.nurse.com/2013/03/18/stand-out-get-certified

• Our Scrubbed In blog (http://scrubs.nurse.com/blog) presents a working nurse’s guide to real life by blogger Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, BSN. The posts that drew the most reader comments:

You wear your scrubs where?! The do’s and don’ts of wearing scrubs (posted March 13)
www.Nurse.com/Scrubs-Wear

Your feel-good playlist for those tough nursing days (posted June 20)
www.Nurse.com/Scrubs-Playlist

The color debate: What your scrubs say about you (posted April 25)
www.Nurse.com/Scrubs-Color

Word therapy for those tough nursing days (posted Jan. 24)
www.Nurse.com/Scrubs-Word-Therapy

Best nurse-written blogs (posted Sept. 3)
www.Nurse.com/Scrubs-Best-Blogs

Favorite CEs

Nurse.com offers dozens of continuing education modules and webinars, covering all specialties, diseases and issues (http://ce.nurse.com). The year’s most popular on our social media outlets, as measured by Facebook clicks, were:

1. Obesity has the strongest link to which type of cancer: kidney, endometrial, breast or liver? (posted Sept. 4)
http://ce.nurse.com/content/60187/obesity-management

2. What is the fasting plasma glucose range for the diagnosis of prediabetes? (posted July 14)
http://ce.nurse.com/course/60168/a-nurses-guide-to-diabetes-care/

3. Are you able to identify patients at high risk of aspiration? (posted Sept. 27)
http://ce.nurse.com/course/ce491/aspiration-preventing-a-deadly-complication-in-vulnerable-populations/

4. Is the one drug, or class of drug, not used to treat neuropathic pain methadone, tricyclic antidepressants, thorazine or anticonvulsants? (posted Nov. 7)
http://ce.nurse.com/course/ce648/pain-management

5. Sjogren’s syndrome causes lymphocytic infiltration in which two areas of the body: Hands and feet, eyes and mouth, nose and ears or stomach and liver? (posted Nov. 5)
http://ce.nurse.com/course/ce530/autoimmune-disease-a-leading-cause-of-death-among-women/

From us to you

Our most popular “shout-outs” to the nurses who follow us on social media, by Facebook engagement:

Happy Valentine’s Day, nurses. (Feb. 14)

Like if you agree: What Love Can’t Cure, Nurses Can. (June 19)

Nurses deserve fireworks at the end of every shift! Happy 4th of July. (July 4)

National Nurses Week is almost here. Share the love for nurses. (May 1)

Share this image to support breast cancer awareness. (Oct. 14)


Nick Hut is national editor. Send comments to editor@nurse.com or post comments below.