Two years ago, I joined Facebook. Shortly after, I created an account on LinkedIn. Before I knew it, I was tweeting on a regular basis. In these 2 short years, social media has become part of my day-to-day life. Personally, I have reconnected with friends whom I probably would have never found otherwise. Professionally, I have "met" and learned from nurses and other healthcare professionals all around the world.
Social media has revolutionized how we communicate. People now share information and interact with their circle of friends and connections in real time. You no longer have to wait for the 5:00 p.m. news to learn the latest developments. Research findings are shared before publication. Clinical guidelines and recommendations can be found with a few clicks on your keyboard or smartphone.
Allow me to share a sampling of the benefits that I experienced through social media:
* I keep up with the latest research findings published in medical and nursing journals such as New England Journal of Medicine and American Journal of Nursing.
* I remain up-to-date with the latest guidelines and recommendations from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
* I am aware of the challenges that clinicians are facing by reading the status updates, tweets, and blogs of nurse practitioners and nurses.
* I know what is happening in nursing by following organizations such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.
* I follow nursing schools and students and learn what issues are affecting faculty and what information students are seeking and sharing online.
* I keep up with dermatology developments by following organizations such as the American Academy of Dermatology and the Dermatology Nurses' Association.
So, how should you get started? Begin by reading the articles in this issue, "Social Media Use Among Nurses," "Social Media: Starting Your Journey in the Great Frontier," and "Healthcare Informatics in 21st Century Nursing: Are Dermatology Nurses Prepared?". I'm thrilled to tell you that they are authored by nurses with whom I connected on Twitter. Learn the basics of the most popular social media channels, discover what worked and didn't work for the authors, and heed the advice and warnings presented in their writing.
Being involved in social media does take time from your already busy day, and like anything else, you get out what you put in. Professionalism is critical, and patient privacy must be maintained. Check if a social media policy exists at your institution. Explore resources such as the National Council for State Boards of Nursing Social Media Guidelines (https://www.ncsbn.org/2930.htm) and the ANA's Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse: Guidance for the Registered Nurse (http://www.nursingworld.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/AboutANA/Social-Media/Social-Networking-Principles-Toolkit).
Although I usually discourage doing something "because everyone else is doing it," I strongly encourage you to jump into the realm of social media just for that reason! Stay abreast of the latest news and developments. Connect with peers. Ask questions. Share answers and experiences responsibly. Let us all learn from one another.
The online presence of the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association is growing, and this is your journal-take advantage of all that it offers. Connect with JDNA online and allow us to bring the most important findings and news to you. Continue to enjoy reading each issue of JDNA when it arrives, and also allow us to keep you up-to-date in-between issues. Have you visited the JDNA Web site (http://journals.lww.com/jdnaonline)? Did you know that you can subscribe to the electronic table of contents and get a brief summary of the issue and the table of contents with links to the articles before you receive your printed journal? Did you know that, as a subscriber, you can read the articles free online; save and organize articles in collections; and export images, tables, and figures into PowerPoint files? You also have access to collections we have created for you, such as Skin Cancer, The Language of Dermatology, and Research Highlights. Keep up with dermatology news and conference information, take part in our Quick Polls, and more. And if you are already involved with social media or when you are ready to take the plunge, be sure to like JDNA on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/JournaloftheDNA), follow @JournaloftheDNA on Twitter (https://twitter.com/JournaloftheDNA), and join our group on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Journal-Dermatology-Nurses-Association-4100107).
I look forward to seeing you there!