Sep 092015
Liz Smith

Liz Smith

The last week of August in my diary had been packed to the rafters with meetings for a while. When asked to additionally host My Working Week I thought it was a good idea and I could use it to share my activities with a new audience. Best laid plans!

I was determined to fly the nursing flag, I’m very proud of my profession.

As my husband nicknamed me ‘Twitter HQ’ that week perhaps that’s a true reflection of what he saw: a laptop, iPad, diary, determination…and a smile.

One thing that I found out during My Working Week was how much I value my personal Twitter followers. It was my intention to share my work with the audience and perhaps get feedback. That’s where the audience differs from personal followers and a huge learning curve for me. I regularly chat on Twitter, have my favourite ‘tweeters’ whom if I’ve missed a day or so will check them out to see what their postings have been. Not having familiar followers on the account was hard to get used to, as conversation was not as easy to come by as it usually is. However, I really did appreciate the response and activity generated and of course the re-tweets and favourites that I got about my work and ideas.

I found that tweets around working in partnership with others appeared to generate the most interest, sharing the Invasive Device Programme incorporating the STOP Campaign with Ireland and Paris has been on my radar for over a year and the work with Ireland has gathered momentum in the last 3 months.! I would say watch out for updates in the coming months about communication hubs between the countries and the forming of a ‘buddy system’.

During my time on the account, I introduced the idea #WhatsOnYourPlate : there was a rationale behind my wanting to know what our followers were eating, it wasn’t just curiosity. When I was in uniform, I would regularly be too busy to have a break, it became the norm. Many of the recent care reports focus on nutrition and hydration of our patients; what about those delivering the care?

There were many photos sent in of sandwiches and really healthy salads and fruit. Then there were the group I was really looking at, those who skip, eat on the run, at their desk or simply too busy to have a break. There were quite a few eating at their desk…that’s not good for you or very hygienic!

Thank you to those in uniform who got in touch who did not get a break, there were a few.

I also took the opportunity to introduce a Twitter chat around #continencematters. During my time with 1000 Lives Improvement I have always endeavoured to include our multi professional student community in the programmes I’ve been involved with, they are our future. Just a few months ago I met up with Steffan Robbins who as part of his nursing degree at Bangor University had done a fabulous piece of work on continence, so good it was that he was a finalist at NHS Wales awards.  It sat nicely with a piece of work I was developing on Quality Checks originally WG Spot Checks and we both agreed this was a good way forward. We held a chat where questions could be asked to Steffan about his work and the awards. His work can be found on the Quality Checks webpage. Good luck Steffan in your new post at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

What did I learn?

Generally I had a really good week, I quickly got used to the new audience but missed my own feed. I realised that by the second day I had changed the way in which I was posting tweets and therefore trying to adapt to followers. It was done intentionally. I was desperate to share my favourite professional Tweeters and wasn’t sure if it was ‘the done thing’… so I will do that now, they are: @RogerFrancis1 and for blogs @anniecoops for anyone is interested.

I really feel we need to all embrace social media. It’s such a good platform to learn and share.

So in summary: my career has taken only a few turns in its 33 years, I seem to be drawn to risk, safety, innovation and quality improvement. The reason I got into quality improvement was as a result of a serious untoward incident, many of us have…don’t let it be your reason.

Liz Smith is a National Programme Manager for 1000 Lives Improvement, follow her on Twitter @LizSimit and join the conversation @1000LivesPlus.

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