Social Media Savvy

How many times have you been told about “the dangers of social media”? “It’s online forever!”, or my personal favorite “Just don’t put anything on social media and you won’t have any problems!”. Too often it is portrayed as negative, and it is assumed that social media is an evil within nursing. But is it?

social-media

“Look at this silly cat picture”

I am a total social media enthusiast. I’ve used it for well over 10 years now, freely posting funny cat pictures and what I’d had for dinner. But becoming a student nurse altered my habits. I changed my name on Facebook to keep it more private, and ensured that my social media platforms didn’t show my name. I felt as if everything I said may impact my career. That lasted for about an hour on twitter, as I then discovered the huuuge nursing platform available to me! By engaging with twitter chats, reading articles and following other nurses I felt I was part of a wonderful community! The amount of support I have received has been amazing- and I encourage you all to get involved!  Twitter is incredibly easy to use, and you can create an account that can be used purely for nursing.

safety-first

Completely appropriate and accurate picture to post 

We should be aware of social media. Many student nurses are part of the generation who grew up with it (like myself) so why shouldn’t we embrace it?

There are, of course, cautions. Many nursing-related accounts post really helpful tips of how to stay appropriate on social media. They include tips like: don’t post anything about patients/their relatives/where you work , don’t use offensive language, be kind and don’t try find patients on social media. Pretty simple right? They aren’t horrible scary rules, and (hopefully) don’t put you off getting social media savvy!

If you want to check out some nursing social media, take a look at these: our Facebook page, our Twitter page, NURSOC education which is fab, surviving student nursing is great for some laughs, the UoM BNurs and Midwifery twitter and of course We Nurses!!

For more social media guidance please visit: the NMC, RCN and everynurse to keep yourself safe and professional!

Learning Curve

Your first placement as a student nurse is meant to give a taster of what your career could be. It’s designed to inspire, help you find your feet and learn some of the basic skills. So what happens if that’s not the case?

There is a known fact amongst student nurses/midwives that everybody has a bad placement, whether that means it’s too intense, not what you expected, or not as exciting as you hoped.

For me, it was very much not what I expected. I was placed on an outpatients’ department. It was incredibly diverse in that I worked alongside many different healthcare professionals and was able to observe a wide range of clinics- which all helped my A&P knowledge a lot! But apart from that, I felt a bit shortchanged. Whilst all my colleagues and friends were off being thrown in at the deep end, I was endlessly calling patients in and observing doctors’ clinics. This wasn’t exactly the way I saw my first experience as a student nurse panning out, and I felt completely hopeless. Fellow students and staff would give me a look of sympathy and tell me it gets better when I told them where I was. I would dread going there, because I wasn’t being challenged. I felt that my time wasn’t being spent in the best way possible.

The best thing to do in a situation like this is to make the most of it. It’s hard, I know. You think “what could I possibly get out of this” but you’d be surprised! A placement like this is a great chance to brush up your knowledge, and it’s fabulous for reflective accounts! I have spent countless hours observing every moment in a consultation, thinking about what went well, what could have been better, and how I could improve that when I am put in a similar situation. You’ll also spend a lot of time talking to patients, which can make all the difference to them. A memorable patient for me was a young woman with a rather excitable young child came into the clinic. I played with the child (using only a curtain, which I’m quite proud of) whilst she discussed her medical problem. When she left, she thanked me so graciously that I knew I’d done her a huge favour. Its moments like that I have to remember that nursing isn’t all exciting stuff and clinical skills. Sometimes it’s about those moments when you make someone’s life just a little bit easier.

 

Note: if you ever feel unsure about your placement, no matter what the problem, talk to somebody! Whether that be your mentor, PEF, friend, AA or another member of staff. Someone can help.

Blue Monday?

Its Blue Monday today! Apparently the third Monday in January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. So are you feeling depressed? How do you know? 

What does it mean to be depressed?         Feeling sad, miserable, fed up?      

How can you tell if you are depressed or just a bit down in the dumps – a bit blue?

Depression can mean different things to different people. What may seem simple and straightforward to one person may just have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for another. People often carry on with daily life often hiding the struggle they face. This can make things harder to cope with and accept or spot. Depression can affect anyone at any time it is not exclusive or discriminative.

deperssion1

There are many different types of depression such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), postnatal depression and bipolar disorder (manic depression).  Symptoms can range from low spirits, feeling numb, helplessness or isolation to name but a few. You may find you’re not enjoying activities you usually would. You could be funding it hard to concentrate on things, difficulty sleeping or have lost your appetite. Again symptoms may vary from person to person and you may not even realise yourself. It could be that they reoccur or are just persistent.

The cause of these feeling may not be transparent, it could stem from a loss you may have experienced, life changes that are everyday occurrences in general but may have just impacted on you significantly. It may be something that happened a long time ago but feelings have only just resurfaced.

So what can you do if you feel this way or you think someone you know may be suffering with depression?

Self-help – reconnecting with people and talk to someone if possible, you’d be surprised how many people out there are ready to listen and help you if they can.  As they say …

timetotalkttclogo       It is good to talk!

As a friend you can help encourage your friend to seek the right kind of help for them.  Show them you care and be there for them when they need you. Again little things can make a big difference and being patient with them can be important. As a friend or carer you too can seek support and advice from a GP or other appropriate organisations (some of which are listed below). 

Keeping busy is important as breaking the negativity cycle and keeps your mind occupied on other more positive things. Take time to care for yourself. Every little helps and each step no matter how big or small can be a step in the right direction.

Alternative therapies are recommended to medication such as mindfulness or talking therapies. These can be accessed via your local health authority or via your GP or often at community/library centres.  Art or music groups, community volunteering or the new popular colouring books are a great way to help you focus on the here and now.

It is important you seek advice from your GP if possible, they can help you monitor your situation and support your recovery. They may also discuss medication if they or you feel it is necessary. 

For more information please seek professional help, below are some organisations that can also help;

www.mind.org.uk

www.time-to-change.org.uk

www.samaritans.org

https://friendsinneed.co.uk/

www.depressionuk.org

www.sane.org.uk