Today’s healthcare system and environments are shifting. We live in a fast-paced world of change. If we want to stay ahead of our professional career and development, we’ve got to stay up-to-date with the times.
As nurse professionals with many options in our nursing careers, it’s best to continuously grow our professional networks online. Here’s why: sure, you may know everyone in your local community… but what if your organization suddenly shuts down? Then all of you (you and your colleagues that you used to work with) are out there in the exact same space trying to find a new job. Makes for a difficult (and scary) time, right?
Another reason it makes sense to network online is because that’s where today’s nurse is. The millennial (and generations thereafter) group is totally online. They like short, to-the-point communication. They prefer images, social media, and texts. I have heard that some universities are totally doing away with email since it is (gulp) outdated!
Finally, being online can make things easier for you. And as a busy nurse who’s got no time… wouldn’t it be nice to make things streamlined, quicker, and simple? Well, being online you may come across a colleague in your area of specialty who has already solved your problem. Instead of reinventing the wheel, how about re-purposing what works?
So let’s get to today’s teaching point…
- Balance It. Now I’ve talked about balance a LOT on this blog. However, that was more along the lines of healthy living. Here I want to talk about work-life balance in terms of keeping track of your time. Being online can become a full time job. And lord knows we already have too much on our to-do list. So if being online to grow your professional reach sounds like another annoying task… breathe easy. It doesn’t have to be. I would recommend starting slow and keeping a timer. Spend 30 minutes online 3 times a week. Then maybe an hour online 3 days a week. Do what you can and time yourself. Literally set a timer and when it goes off- BING! Get up and go do something else. Put yourself out there and grow your professional reach online, but don’t let it take over your life.
- Quality Wins. I know my dear friend and colleague Keith Carlson talks about this a lot. In fact, a little birdie told me he was writing a book about this due out next fall… But the tip here is: quality over quantity, my friend. Sure you can have 15,000 followers on Twitter, but do those folks really MEAN anything to you? If you’re looking to grow your professional nursing network, I would say that the relationship matters more than the number of people you interact with.
- Serve First and From the Heart. Now as a nurse, this typically isn’t hard. But as a nurse entrepreneur it can get a little bit tricky. We want to help everyone and anyone as a nurse. And many nurse entrepreneurs are out to do that very same thing. But that can dilute your message and confuse those you want to connect with. Yes, it’s a give and take… but how can you serve another person? If you are looking to grow your professional network, then how can you help them? What about the relationship will benefit them? Sure, keep your interests in check as well… but always come from the space of how you can help another. If you’re asking for help as you grow your professional nursing network, keep in mind of how you can help that nursing colleague down the road.
What would you add to this list? How have you put yourself ‘out there’ online and what tips do you have for growing your professional nursing network? I’d love to hear from the group as we learn about growing our reach and building relationships online. Leave a comment below and thanks for reading!
About the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Your Next Shift Workshop, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.