Nursing & Social Media

December 20, 2022
Guest: Lynne Braun, PhD, CNP, CLS, FAHA, FPCNA, FAAN

Social media is more than just images of our pets, artfully arranged food, or the latest dance moves. These platforms can be powerful leadership tools for connecting and engaging with colleagues, and showcasing accomplishments. Using social media greatly increases the speed of communication to a wide audience, and can easily reach policymakers about issues that impact nurses and their patients.

Episode Resources

Welcome to Heart to Heart Nurses, brought to you by the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association. PCNA's mission is to promote nurses as leaders in cardiovascular disease prevention and management. 

Geralyn Warfield (host): It is an honor to talk with Lynne Braun today about nursing and social media. Lynne, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Lynne Braun (guest): Sure. My name is Lynne Braun. I am a nurse practitioner. I'm currently Professor Emerita at Rush University. I retired from active teaching and practice, probably about two years ago. However, I'm still very, very involved professionally. And I appreciate being asked to deliver this presentation today on social media, because it's something I've wanted to do for PCNA for a very long time now. 

Geralyn Warfield (host): Well, we are very grateful to you for your patience while we took time to get you [00:01:00] on the air. But could you just start us off talking a little bit about social media platforms and how they can be a leadership tool: 

Lynne Braun (guest): Absolutely. I am on social media every day. I primarily use Twitter and Facebook a bit. And I need to qualify that I know Facebook is a, is a platform that many people use for personal reasons. All of the social media that I post is all professional-related. For the most part—I might wish somebody happy birthday on Facebook, but that's about it. I found something about leadership on Facebook, not too long ago, and I took a picture of it for this, for my presentation. And it stated, “Leadership is not about being the best, leadership is about making everyone else better.”  

So, that, that really rang true for me. You know, I think that we know that leaders have some [00:02:00] amazing qualities. They typically have great integrity. They're able to, to delegate in a good way to help others develop autonomy and to grow. They're good listeners. They communicate effectively. They have a great deal of self-awareness. They also have learning agility, I think, which is the ability to do, to know what to do when you really don't know what to do. You know, they're, in other words, they're very resourceful.  

And they're influencers. And again, I mean that in a very good way. They're able to convince people and encourage them through logical or a kind of a co-operative appeal or agenda. They have the courage to step up and move things in the right direction and they kind of cultivate a climate of respect. 

So, there are various social media platforms as, as [00:03:00] you know, but I think the important thing is how to combine the two now leadership and social media. How can leaders actually leverage social media? 

Social media is used by many types of leaders in the healthcare arena. Social media is used by some healthcare providers, healthcare leaders (based on their position), various healthcare systems, professional organizations, and even patients use social media to connect, to educate or become educated, and to engage with others.  

Social media possesses the ability to reach a very wide audience quickly. 

A person in a leadership position can share [00:04:00] their vision, and tag—which allows them to gain support from various stakeholders and other disciplines. I like to, when, for example, when I have a colleague, a nursing colleague that I think has done something very impressive, I share that. Usually I'll, I'll read a blurb about it, an article about it, and I'll share that. Most often I'll share that on Twitter, often on Facebook, and I will tag people I know, or from other disciplines or various organizations so that they learn what nurses are really doing, and the, you know, the, the various accolades that some of my nursing colleagues have. 

But a lot of people, unfortunately, fear social media. 

You know, they feel that it can be detrimental to themselves or even to their [00:05:00] institution. There are, each institution has a social media policy. And the policy often states that, that an individual cannot disclose confidential or proprietary information on social media. They can't identify patients or share their protected health information, and they can't make statements on social media on behalf of the organization. So, they can't speak as though they're a spokesperson for their own organization, because, you know, that often is, is not the case. They can tag their organization, but they're speaking for themselves. And that's why, if you look at various Twitter profiles of individuals—and, I'm sure. [00:06:00] other, other platforms as well, but Twitter in particular—under their profile, people will state, “Tweets are my own.” So that's, you know, that's something very important to, to keep in mind. 

And hopefully then it, I mean, you have to be tasteful, you know, in social media. And you have to avoid certain topics that might be hot button-type topics—you know, politics is, is certainly one of them. And I, I really don't tweet anything, you know, anything pertinent to that. 

I think the closest I came, which, you know, depending on your frame of mind, you might think it's a little bit, a little bit political, but I, you know, I know that I tweeted information on the benefits of vaccination for COVID-19.  

Geralyn Warfield (host): And as a healthcare provider, you really do need to [00:07:00] balance the need to get information out into the world and how best to do that. 

Now, when we first started in cardiovascular care, decades and decades ago, some of us, the way to get information to somebody was maybe to do a journal article or maybe to go to a conference. And the speed at which we can now communicate is so much more rapid. Can you talk a little bit about the use of social media to get information out quickly? 

Lynne Braun (guest): Absolutely. Your, your points are, are very well taken in terms of using social media to, to tweet a meeting. I've tweeted almost every presentation at this, at this meeting. Not every single slide, but slides that I feel are, are of interest. They were of interest to me, so I thought they were, would be, of interest to my colleagues. 

So, what I'll do, what I will do is take a picture of the slide—because visuals are everything [00:08:00] when you are posting something on social media. And I will, I will tweet a key point from that slide, or maybe tweet the title of that slide. I will look for the presenter to see if they have a Twitter handle, for example. I will tag (in terms of our conference), I certainly tag PCNA. I use the hashtag “PCNA2022.” 

And I look for the presenter’s institution because they, then they, and hopefully, you know, they like the fact that somebody is tweeting and letting their institution know that they're delivering this presentation at a national conference. But that's one way to spread it, and it's amazing how many people will pick up on that. So, tweeting the conference. 

You mentioned journal clubs. [00:09:00] You can use social media for journal clubs. You know, someone can, someone can advertise on social media that they're having, that they've organized this journal club. They can provide the reference for the article, you know, have the link for the article on social media, and state the day and time of the journal club, and invite people to participate, and then have, have dialogue back and forth. 

Geralyn Warfield (host): So, Lynne, you are an enthusiastic integrator of social media. And I look forward to getting back to our conversation in just a minute.  



Geralyn Warfield (host): We're back with Lynne Braun, who’s just so enthusiastically speaking about social media and how all of us, as nurses, need to be utilizing it to communicate with our patients, with other colleagues and others across the globe. Lynne has discussed with us how to use social media in a variety of settings. And I'm wondering if you can now address how it can be used as an advocacy tool.  

Lynne Braun (guest): Absolutely. Social media is a very important advocacy tool and I think that, that we've done that in terms of some of the policy initiatives that PCNA has, has undertaken. For example, there is a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation bill that has come up for the second time. It was approved in 2018 to allow APPs to supervise the day-to-day activities of cardiac rehab. So that bill passed. However, it was delayed to be [00:11:00] implemented until, oh, I believe 2024 is I think the year. So that bill was reintroduced last year, so that, during this congressional session, it was reintroduced, and part of that bill is that it should be enacted in 2022 and then added to it was that APPs should be able to order cardiac rehab services, which is not the case throughout the country. 

So, last year at our virtual PCNA [meeting], we had virtual lobby day. And we contacted our, our members of Congress in order to co-sponsor this bill and, you know, you just write, , write some key information about that [00:12:00] bill, ask them to co-sponsor it and support it. And, and off it goes. And PCNA makes it very easy to go directly to our members of Congress, but it just starts something else.  

I very, I very recently tweeted, tweeted or composed a tweet, that states we must eliminate access to care as a barrier, and promote health care equity for all. And in the state of Illinois where I live, this is House Bill 5142. So, in doing so, I tagged my members of Congress, members of, of the Illinois Congress, and sent it directly to them and asked them to support this particular bill. 

So, using social media for policy initiatives, like this [00:13:00] is very important. And of course, It's always important for our legislators to get to know us. So, what I've done in the past is, you know, if I compose this, I will then wait until they're in district, and try and set up a meeting with them so that they get to know me. They get to know my name and the next time I tag them via social media, they'll say, oh, you know, this is something else from her. And, of course, our nurses are the most trusted professionals and I, you know, over all the years I've done advocacy and policy work, that is always crystal clear.  

You know, you go into offices at, at the state level or at the federal level, introduce yourself as a nurse and, you know, let them know what you're [00:14:00] there to talk about. They may want to know other information from you because you are a nurse, and they may contact you in the future for information. So really important to use social media as a, as a legislative tool, policy tool, yeah. 

Geralyn Warfield (host): That's great. Lynne. Is there anything else that you would like to share with our audience that I've neglected to ask? 

Lynne Braun (guest):  Social media is, is not without risks. 

You know, there are people who kind of act out on social media. If we are professionals, it’s critically important that we act professionally on social media. During the pandemic nurses have been penalized for speaking out on social media about working conditions, lack of PPE to take care of COVID patients, etc. And so, you [00:15:00] have to be really careful. You have to be aware of licensing bodies, regulations, your nursing code of ethics. You know, make sure that you're, what you're sharing on social media is very, very tasteful and not anything that is going to turn your institution off. 

Compelling stories of sacrifices by nurses can be very powerful. Patient stories can be very powerful. Nurses should get to know the individuals who, who do the social media for their organization, because they may then use them, you know? So if, for example, if tweeting something and tagging my department or my university, my hospital on social media—hopefully it's going to then be picked up and re [00:16:00] retweeted, you know, by my organization. And that works both ways. They get to know what my area of expertise is and what my passions are, what my interests are, so that when they get a call, the marketing department then gets a call from a newspaper, wants to interview someone on such and such topic, they may contact me because they've learned through my use of social media what I know. So that's really, really important.  

One more thing I just wanted to say, and this kind of gets back to needing to be very tasteful on social media. Universities look at social media, look at, you know, individuals who are applying to universities. The admissions office, the admissions counselors may search Facebook or Instagram [00:17:00] or other social media platforms to learn about individuals that are applying. So, I can't underscore enough, for people to be—even if they use social media for personal reasons—they have to be tasteful, you know, and they, they just can't, put content on social media that could be held against them in certain situations.  

Geralyn Warfield (host): Lynne's been talking with us today about how social media is more than just images of our pets, artfully arranged food, and the latest dance moves, but can be used as an advocacy tool, can be used to share the importance of nursing and its roles in society. And we are on it, Lynne. You can just imagine the Twitter feed that you're going to see after this podcast. Thank you so very much for taking time to be with us today. 

I'm your host Geralyn Warfield, and we will see you next time. [00:18:00]  

Thank you for listening to Heart to Heart Nurses. We invite you to visit for clinical resources, continuing education, and much more 

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