Blogging is an innovative and highly accessible medium for a nurse to share his or her voice and expertise. We recently highlighted our top picks for nurse-written blogs.
Why not start your own? With a few tips, you could be up and blogging in no time at all.
7 Must-Know Tips For Starting a Nurse Blog
1. Figure out your overall message
Are you writing to fellow nurses about your work escapades or are you showing the public what nurses do? Are you using your blog as an educational tool to communicate health information or to discuss current health policy? Deciding on your audience ahead of time will help you stay focused on the right content. Blogs that focus on one niche are easier to follow.
2. Stick with evidence-based research
You can always draw from personal experience, but when writing health-related content, make sure you can back up your case with legitimate research. Google has a great Scholar search function that allows you to access research article abstracts (and sometimes free full text).
3. Refresh your grammar know-how
Blogs are typically written in a conversational style, which comes along with a certain amount of freedom. But correct spelling, punctuation and grammar still count. A typo here or there is inevitable, but a blog filled with mistakes and misused grammar can be difficult to read. (And isn’t exactly a great representation of the nursing profession).
4. Protect yourself
Don’t give medical advice — this is a legal landmine. And be careful; you never know who may think your educational content is a medical recommendation. Always make it clear that if a reader has a medical concern, they should contact their provider. You should also take care to avoid violating any HIPAA regulations. A work story can be OK, as long as there is absolutely no information included that could identify a patient. Check with your institution’s legal or media team to inquire about any other cautions you may need to take. The last thing you want is to lose your job over something you’ve written.
5. Don’t bash your employer or air your dirty work laundry
The occasional rant is okay. After all, working as a nurse isn’t all sunshine and roses. But try to avoid using your blog as a venting soapbox. Talking negatively about other coworkers, your patients, your boss, or your institution will not only get you in trouble, but it can turn readers off.
6. A word about SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization, a variety of techniques that help a website land at the top of the list when a particular key word is typed into a search engine. SEO is a bit technical and specialized, but the principles themselves aren’t difficult. Check out this SEO for Dummies cheat sheet for some more info.
7. The most important component of a successful blog
Without a doubt, the most successful blogs aim to create a sense of community. The foundation of blogging lies in the community that reads and participates in the blog experience. Encouraging comments and discussion will engage readers and keep them coming back for more.
Blogging is all about connecting — and that’s one thing nurses do best.