By Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC
I recently exhibited and presented at the annual conference of the National Nurses in Business Association. One of the greatest joys of the event was meeting nurses who I already knew through social media and the nurse blogosphere.
Meeting online friends in person is exciting, and cementing relationships with like-minded nurses is like gold for your career, whether you’re a clinical nurse, nurse educator, researcher or nurse entrepreneur.
In my most recent post, I discussed the collective genius of your online professional network and how authentic connection with other nursing and healthcare professionals can work wonders for your career trajectory. Now, imagine what could happen if some of those connections could be expanded to include telephone calls, Skype chats, email and in-person meetings.
A true 21st-century story
In 2011, I was hanging out on Twitter, following various nursing-related hashtags like #nurse, #nursing and #nurses. At that time, a nurse entrepreneur named Anna Morrison crossed my path, and we began interacting on Twitter almost daily. At a certain point, we realized we needed to talk, so we chatted on the phone then moved to Skype so we could have a visual context and get to know one another more.
After a week or so of this deepening connection, Anna brought her friend Kevin Ross (a Colorado-based nurse entrepreneur and blogger) into the conversation, and we collectively decided that starting a podcast about nursing and nurse entrepreneurship would be fun. Within another week, we had formed a company, launched RNFM Radio and began our journey as cutting-edge nurse podcasters, all based on Anna and I noticing each other on Twitter.
Six months into the venture, Anna left the show to return to NP school, but Kevin and I forged on, started a new company, and RNFM Radio is now one of the most successful nursing podcasts on the Internet. We have several other business ventures on the burner, and our connection has been cemented further by meeting in person, traveling to nursing conferences together and otherwise co-creating a deeply symbiotic and powerful personal and professional bond.
Oh the places you’ll go!
You see, online connections can be very powerful in and of themselves. I have many online friends and colleagues who I have yet to meet in person, and perhaps never will.
Modern friendships can take various forms, and as savvy professionals, we need to consider the potential impact of translating select online connections into professional relationships and friendships that occur above and beyond the online world.
One never knows how a single LinkedIn connection or Twitter interaction could transform into a powerful, long-lasting professional relationship. Infuse your online and in-person networking with authenticity, and observe the glorious potential of networking in the 21st century.
Have you had online nursing connections with healthcare professionals that grew into a stronger bond? Share your experiences with us.