In the first guest blog of our new series Evidence for Everyday Allied Health (#EEAHP), tweeting physiotherapists Naomi McVey and Helen Owen talk about how social media can help with CPD
Social media offers healthcare professionals a range of opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD) that can help us improve our practice and services. One of these is the ease with which we can share and discuss evidence-based practice.
Over the past 4 years the WeCommunities have organised over 650 tweetchats across 17 communities, including nurses, midwives, health visitors, AHPs, doctors, pharmacists, paramedics, finance professionals and commissioners, with over 100,000 combined followers run by more than 100 volunteers. Each week, our members come together to discuss a broad range of evidence and practice in healthcare, with a clear commitment to connecting people and providing better care.
Fast, responsive and up-to-date, social media enables us to see news and resources the day they publish, as well as people’s reactions to them. Up-to-date evidence can be promoted, perspectives shared, and policy and practice discussed with peers from around the world. Traditional hierarchies are levelled as people on social media unite for common purpose of improving health and healthcare. It’s also free, so at a time of decreasing CPD budgets social media can help us fit learning flexibly around professional interests.
Promoting the value of social media
Despite the benefits, social media continues to be a hard sell to many colleagues and managers, with restrictive social media policies in place in a number of NHS organisations and colleagues who struggle to understand how social platforms have become a thriving community of critical thinking. So we need to strive to promote the value of social media CPD, as individuals and as communities of practice. This is why the work that Evidently Cochrane has done over the past 4 years to make evidence and critical appraisal prominent, accessible and part of our everyday practice is so important.
How can you use #EEAHP to improve your practice and help your service?
Having access to evidence at out fingertips is another good reason to get involved in all that social media has to offer us. Our top tips for making the most of the series are:
- Set a twitter notification for @CochraneUK so you don’t miss new updates (do this by clicking on the cog symbol).
- Not on twitter? Follow ukcochranecentre on Instagram instead.
- Share with your colleagues: show them what they’re missing by e-mailing them links to Evidently Cochrane or printing out the blogshots (see this blog on blogshots).
- Use an Evidently Cochrane blog to focus an in-service training session: Cochrane blogs bring together evidence on a chosen topic in a concise, accessible way. Why not use these as a different approach to a traditional journal club?
- Join in a tweetchat with the Cochrane team: We’ll be joining @SarahChapman30 from Evidently Cochrane for a #WeAHPs tweetchat on 28th July. For information on getting involved in a tweetchat, have a look at the WeCommunities’ Twitterversity.
It’s all about people
Ultimately, social media CPD is about people. It’s about developing online professional networks and learning from the knowledge, views and experience of others. To really get the most out of using social media CPD you need to be curious: seek out new connections, explore new information, and be open to different perspectives. Resources like the #EEAHP series are a fantastic starting point for taking what we learn online back to our teams, patients and services. Let’s make sure our practice is best practice, and champion the role of social media in helping us to do this.
Join in the conversation on Twitter with @NaomiMcVey @HelenOwen3 @WeAHPs @CochraneUK
Naomi McVey and Helen Owen have nothing to disclose.
Social media: Evidently CPD by Naomi McVey and Helen Owen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.