By Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC
As a prudent and forward-thinking 21st-century professional nurse, you may choose to network and connect with other nurses and healthcare professionals on various social media channels. If you aren’t already, this is the perfect time in your career to begin doing so. These relationships can run the gamut from superficial to deeply connected, and the potential inherent in those relationships is truly beyond measure.
For online connection, I highly recommend beginning with the powerful duo of Twitter and LinkedIn. There are indeed professional nursing groups on Facebook, however, I tend to favor LinkedIn and Twitter for those who want to begin their dance within the plethora of available online nursing networks. These are the platforms where most nurses spend their time for professional reasons, and the communities within those ecosystems are burgeoning with activity and ever-deepening relationships. Once you feel comfortable and established on LinkedIn and Twitter, Facebook groups would certainly be the next logical choice.
Benefits of online networking
Online networking with other nurses can greatly benefit your nursing career, and you will learn over time how this form of networking can engender serendipity, respect, collegial friendship and professional cross-pollination.
If you’d like to meet thought leaders in your particular area of nursing specialty or practice, social media is one of the easiest places for this to happen. Most nursing thought leaders want to connect with other nurses and professionals, thus they use social media channels to communicate with their audience.
In terms of travel, moving, changing specialties, starting a business or seeking employment, knowing and being connected to nurses and healthcare professionals in other cities, states, regions or countries can be a career-building tool of significant power. If you need an introduction, a connection at a certain facility or institution, or an employment opportunity, your robust professional network on a variety of social media platforms will help you to find someone who can assist you, or introduce you to someone who can.
Once you’ve established yourself in the online nursing community, one of your next steps can include taking some of those relationships to the next level by moving them to email, phone, Skype or face-to-face meetings.
A combination of online and real-life connectivity expands the collective genius of your professional networks. That genius is a brain trust of professionals who can assist you in growing your career. Meanwhile, you then become a part of others’ networks, and you can symbiotically give back in a variety of ways.
Compass of authenticity
Being acquainted online with a wide array of nurses and healthcare professionals can truly result in surprisingly potent and positive outcomes. Some relationships will by nature be more superficial, but your virtual tribe will emerge over time, and you’ll be naturally drawn to deepen certain connections.
The collective genius of your network has immeasurable value that will only truly reveal itself over time, so build that network thoughtfully, with authenticity as your compass.
Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC, Nurse.com’s career advice columnist, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the award-winning blog, Digital Doorway. Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a popular nursing podcast, and also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. A widely published writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He brings a plethora of experience as a nursing thought leader, holistic career coach, writer and nurse entrepreneur.