Practicing what I preach – role modelling and social media

This blog is a bit of an experiment :0)

lead by exampleDespite not really setting out with any grand intentions in mind, I was identified as a Social Pioneer by the Nursing Times in 2014, mainly for both my promotion of engagement with people with long-term conditions on Social Media but also for my work with professionals in encouraging and role modelling.

I believe that in a modern society nurses should be digitally competent and have a high level of digital professionalism in order to:

‘uphold the reputation of your profession at all times. You should display a personal commitment to the standards of practice and behaviour set out in the Code. You should be a model of integrity and leadership for others to aspire to. This should lead to trust and confidence in the profession from patients, people receiving care, other healthcare professionals and the public.’ (Extract from the Code, NMC 2015)

I try hard to do this at all times and aspire to role model digital behaviours. Here are some examples of how I try to do this:

  • I work hard at holding professional conversations at the same time as maintaining a balance of being human and authentic.
  • I try to help others if they seem to be struggling.
  • I add value through adding content and materials that further nursing.
  • I share my knowledge of social media and have worked with NHSIQ to produce a simple film for practitioners – see here.

As part of my nursing revalidation I need to collect feedback about my practice.

It would be really brilliant if you could leave a comment for me below that I can use to further reflect for my professional portfolio!

Constructive feedback from anyone is welcomed, not just other nurses. Feedback from patients and students is particularly welcomed.


Thank you so much xxx

Thank you so much xxx

55 thoughts on “Practicing what I preach – role modelling and social media

  1. Like you Anne I have a long term condition and was depressed for many years. Your use of social media, your stimulating blogs, support and engagement helped me find a voice. The manner in which you engage with people and the tone you employ during that engagement are lessons for us all and demonstrate compassion and an enviable generosity of spirit.

  2. I admire the work being done by nurses in engaging with social media in such a professional way. Great leadership!

  3. This blog makes great points about:
    – the power of sharing professional ideas;
    – the need to create communities;
    – working to personal as well as professionally mandated standards;
    as well as the core subject matter, namely digital professionalism and prowess amongst nurses.

    What’s not to like!

    I’d go further: with the digital revolution that we are going to see in UK healthcare in the next few years and the lead role that nurses will play (as the most numerous front-line participants), this digital prowess is of fundamental importance for progress and for patient safety.

    Well done and thank you,

  4. Hi Annie
    As a registered nurse and a more recent social media advocate I think your blogs and Twitter presence provoke thinking, share knowledge, build relationships and make connections across diverse groups. This enhances learning and practice by providing a lens through which to view health and illness but also clinicians and patient interactions. I see your thoughts and ideas as facilitating professional practice for all of the above reasons. from an NMC re validation perspective I could identify all of the re validation themes within your blogs and Twitter presence. This is seen in your professional, patient and personal comments. From cats to clinical catastrophes your thoughts contribute by stimulating thinking and sharing a wide range of resources whilst maintaining a humanity

  5. I work as practice manager at York Street Health Practice. This is the Leeds medical team for people who are homeless and in the asylum system. Anne is the person who finally persuaded me onto twitter and wider social media. She has been a clear ,insightful and wise voice in our discussions about health, leadership and care. I value Anne and her contribution to nursing and the wider NHS greatly. She has both gently challenged and kindly supported me. She has helped me see new things and think freshly about old issues. We are very fortunate in the NHS to have Anne as nurse, leader and colleague.

  6. Dear Annie
    I have met you several times and heard you present . You are always very positive and looking for ways in to inspire us to consider how we can help others . Even with this blog you’ve made me realise that feedback will aid revaluation and development . Your passion for analytics and informatics has helped me to see that data is a major part of the care process . After your advice to me on the use of iPads in the workspace at EHI LIVE I am trying hard to help my colleagues & managers come round to the idea.
    Thank you for supporting me and for helping us all to grow you are spirited and generous

    With love and thanks

  7. Hi
    I think you are inspiring in terms of your impact, for me seeing you talk about Twitter and using it made me think I could do that. Your practical approach and making the digital frightening complexity simple to Luddites like me got me thinking and set up on Twitter and even tweeting.
    You have been a supportive colleague to Imperial and Gerry in my team always promoting the good and great things about us when the going was good but more importantly when it has been tough and that has meant a lot to me personally and professional – your support with IBDM has been invaluable and linking us to international best practice really helpful.

  8. The one thing I am struck by is that you are always on ‘facilitation’ duty. No matter who you are engaging with and whatever the conversation – professional, personal, humorous – you find a way of adding value. By putting people in touch with each other, challenging thinking, asking searching questions and always, always finding positive feedback. It’s very noticeable and keeps you at the forefront of social media role modelling.

  9. Annie, I don’t think there is any doubt that you are a role model. You do champion sensible use of digital healthcare, and amplifying that through digital media like blogs and Twitter makes total sense. One thing that I think you could consider, as you have a wide following with professionals and patients alike, is to do some short reviews of digital health services you come across, what you like/dislike about them. That might be very helpful to others.

  10. IMO there are a number of ways in which your digital input upholds the standards set out in the Code – prioritise people: your approach, inputs and discussions always put people at the centre of care, additionally you invest personal time in engaging with a wide group of people.

    Practice effectively: as an informatics nurse I’ve seen your determination to influence nurses (and others) in how to use information to improve care and understand current provision. Additionally you’ve demonstrated a commitment to share information appropriately.

    In relation to preserving safety your disclosures (blogs/Twitter) around self-management has encouraged others in how to manage their own conditions and to take confidence in self managing.

    Promoting professionalism and trust: in every interaction I’ve witnessed you have upheld the highest standards of nursing and nursing leadership. Your inputs are thoughtful, encouraging and challenging as the situation requires, however always done in a way that respects the individual.

    Comments are only brief, but I hope they help as you consider Revalidation and feedback.


  11. Hi Anne,
    As a student of Nursing with an interest in digital communication, I find your tweets and blogs inspiring and I will continue to share with my fellow Plymouth students. Keep up the good work.

  12. hello as a colleague I have learnt much from your reflections, I think the path you walk between expert service user with a LTC and nurse leader is difficult and they way you have engaged others in this debate has been authentic and insightful. As a nurse you have empowered others and they have seen through you the value of this medium as a democratising space where questions can be asked and answered. The value of improved digital confidence is its close link to improved health literacy.

  13. You have, in many ways, inspired me Anne and led by example. As I got to grips with social media and started learning how to engage on Twitter, both as myself and behind a professional account, and as I developed as a health blogger, I watched how you did it and noted things that I liked and wanted to emulate.

    You always maintain that lovely balance between being a professional and being the other parts of yourself too! Being authentic is so important, isn’t it? It’s a big part of building trust on social media I think and is vital for successful engagement.

    You once told me that there are a few topics you never discuss on social media; a good reminder that being yourself and being truthful doesn’t mean that you have to share everything (even relating to professional matters). This is something I have passed on to others when talking to them about using social media.

    You are clear in your thinking and in your expression. This will help a very wide audience to benefit from what you have to share.

    Adding value is a big one! You are always generous with your knowledge, you share resources and you are one fantastic networker! It is obvious that you delight in bringing together people with overlapping or complementary interests and this has benefited both me and my organization enormously, as it must have done many, many others.

    You are an encourager. We all benefit from being encouraged! Also, you always show that you are constantly learning and in your interactions in social spaces you come alongside people, exploring what you can share and exchange.

    You bring to social media your experience and wisdom as a health professional, nurse leader, digital specialist and as a person with diabetes. Along with your desire to share and to learn, as well as to lead, it’s a potent mix!

    I think too that you are someone with your ear to the ground and a strong interest in what we can do differently and better, someone who is not afraid to embrace the new and look for possibilities and opportunities.

    Keep doing what you’re doing Anne; it benefits so many of us!

  14. Thank you Janice – means a lot that I helped you to be a digital leader too. I had a conversation yesterday with Teresa (@agencynurse) where I defended Chief Nurses lack of presence here – you defy those reasons and I am glad to know and watch you x

  15. Great blog. I have also thought about this but it is literally a leap of faith. Do you feel exposed by blogging? Especially as you are so encouraging about feedback. I have been astonished by the breadth and depth of knowledge and professional encouragement available via Twitter and blogs and would not want a return to lone navel gazing reflection.

  16. Hi Annie, I was looking for online forums for informatics nurses and happily stumbled across you. You were very welcoming and recommended e health week at Olympia to me which was really inspiring I have enrolled for next year and recommended to others.

  17. Hi Juliet – how lovely to get that feedback 🙂 The e-health week next year hopefully will be as good – I am helping with the nursing part and am hoping to include more about AHPs this year too. I hope you enjoy it :0)
    Thanks for taking the time to feedback x

  18. Hi Meriel
    It did take me a while to get my confidence up. I remember the first blog I wrote that was really scary – it was one about diabetes. I had to take quite a few deep breaths before I posted but the response was brilliant and although I still do wonder sometimes if I am too close to the edge it seems to be edgy but just on the right side. The menopause one I did was another example.
    I love blogging – it helps me think 🙂
    Thank you so much for taking the rime to respond.
    Anne x

  19. Anne,
    Thanks for this opportunity to offer feedback. Firstly I can always rely on you to provide some diamond references that have significant impact on how I practice, the last real game chamger was Sue Goss’s OPM paper on systems leadership.
    I can also always rely on you for high support and high challenge, which has added a greater depth to my practice and collaborations for the benefit of the organisation and ultimately the people we work with.
    Finally your blogs are always well thought through articulations that are powerful and inspiring.
    I note that you asked whether posting were sometimes too personal, clearly you live and breath nursing, health, informatics, and in combining these with your own experience is all the more compelling, they remind me of that wonderful ted talk (that I think you shared) some time back by Brene Brown.
    Thanks for being there and don’t stop being you.

  20. Hi Anne
    Thank you for the opportunity to give feedback. There are not many people like you who consistently articulate what digital professionalism is or can be. There are even fewer who can talk eloquently about the importance of people designing health services or how nursing can evolve in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

    John Stepper talks about the five elements of working out loud: making your work visible, making your work better, leading with generosity, building a social network and making it all purposeful. I think you live each of these. Finally, another mentor of mine, Kim Manley talked about high support and high challenge. That is the space where high standards and achievements are expected but also where true co-operation coexists with risk taking.

    Thanks again


  21. Anne
    I’d echo pretty much all of the above commentary – your work with social media both personally and professionally has been an inspiration to me and I know to many, many others. And it’s also typical of your openess and creativity to seek feedback by blogging. .

    But I want to stretch the envelope here a bit because that’s what revalidation (IMHO) should also be about. So how do you think social media conversations a. between professionals and b. between patients and c. between both should evolve? And what should be the role of leaders (like yourself) in shaping this co-evolving set of practices to promote mutual benefits and prevent harms?
    Or to put it another way, what objectives are you going to set yourself in relation to your social media work as part of your revalidation process? (Easy to ask, but as you and Meriel discuss above, blogging can make you feel vulnerable so don’t feel obliged to share any answers)

  22. The number (and quality) of comments I already see here is a testiment to what you’ve achieved. You are selfless in your sharing, caring and connecting – both online and IRL. It’s a real privilege to know you and to see you inspire so many others to engage and connect.

  23. Dear Paul. Your response is exactly what I wanted. I know you understand revalidation and its purpose. My personal reflection which I may or not share centre on boundaries. But I feel some writing coming on to discuss your question perhaps more publicly! Thank you so much for your time and help. A

  24. Thank you so much. As part of my nursing revalidation I have to reflect on aspects of being a nurse from our Code. I will be using all these commemts to think. Just to see how I can do better. I will be thinking about boundaries I think. I am very grateful for your contribution. X

  25. I am regulated by both the legal and medical professions. I am an academic specialist also in dementia, but, most importantly, I live with a number of chronic long term conditions. I find your work very inspiring, clearly communicated, and very enjoyable to engage with. It is always very well informed, and keeps me informed about important developments. This I feel is to benefit to all of us to ensure cross-disciplinary learning and distributive leadership in our own particular areas of interest. I wish you and your work well.

    Dr Shibley Rahman

    MA PhD LLM MBA MRCP(London)

  26. My first forage into the Twitter sphere was a St Twitters chat with Matron -our Anne. It was professional yet fun- accessible and human – and espoused the values of nursing that I hold dear. Just like the wonderful Anne herself. You are a bridge between so many worlds- patient and professional, tech and technophobe, leader and novice. You ask if you are too personal. ..NO. The joy of your twitter persona is just that, too often our leaders don’t engage and broadcast their thoughts. You are real and true. Thank you Matron.

  27. Dear Shibley – Thank you so much for your thoughtful contribution. I hadn’t thought of my work and how it crosses professional boundaries. Good thinking – I will include in my reflections. x

  28. Hi Sharon – ah #StTwitters I remember it well. It seems to me that we were less visible then. a merry band of mavericks. would we do the same today? I don’t think what we did was wrong but has the boundary moved? Might include that in my reflections too 🙂

  29. Hi Anne
    You have done all those things for me and more. You reached out to me when i was new in post and have been a fantastic professional and personal resource for me. You challenge me to think differently, you support me to follow my instincts, you help me recognise and utilise my strengths, you share information, experience, contacts, you role model the core values of being a nurse at the same time as pushing the profession on to develop into the future. You have supported me in analysing my personal journey through cancer. Your approach is that of a caring nurse, colleague and friend. Your contribution offered with positive intent and highly valued by me. Just as i would expect you are at the forefront of utilising technology as a vehicle to creating evidence for revalidation. Brill x Liz

  30. Annie I don’t know how I came across you but I’m glad I did, it was probably you’re hens and cats that got me interested on Twitter . Then I realised there was more to you than that, someone who spent time helping others on here and who lived with diabetes and shared ways to manage .
    You write blogs that I can read no big words and jargon and some are so touching I love that people should take a sheet out of your book and show the human side of themselves it’s so important on social media.
    I’ve seen you support many people including myself just recently … You’re kind and that to me is the measure of any good care professional and I’m glad I met you you’re funny too . Keep being a lovely person it matters more than anything

  31. Anne, I echo all of the comments already shared. I’m always inspired by your ‘can do’ approach and your tweets and blogs reflect your determination to succeed. You’re never afraid to challenge, gently encourage or ask the difficult questions, all the while modelling the behaviours you would like to see in others. Your words are a constant encouragement to me both personally and professionally and remind me to think creatively when I find myself stuck. Your approach to helping others to connect, progress and succeed digitally is the best example of leadership I know.

  32. What I learnt this week: The power of feedback to your face #WITLW | The Rolobot Rambles

  33. Hi Anne,

    Obviously I don’t come at this from a professional nursing/healthcare angle, but I have over the past four years become a real Twitter enthusiast, and it is interesting to me that the diabetes aspect of my rather diverse Twitter account is by far the biggest, yet through no particular effort or design of mine. This confirms, I think, the potential power of social media in healthcare and peer support. Of my diverse blog posts, the diabetes ones always attract most interest and reaction.

    What I like about your social media presence is the way you mix the personal and the professional without ever going over the line into tweeting banal or pointless stuff. I try to do the same as a teacher on Twitter, and in that respect I believe there is much similarity in the two vocations: the need to be aware of boundaries between private and professional is paramount in both, yet there is also great value in showing the “real person” behind the professional – you do this very well, and I have always tried – since well before social media – the be open and transparent about the private me as well as the professional me.

    The best Twitter accounts, be they celebrities or nonentities like me, always mix content in this way: it is genuinely interesting to see glimpses of other peoples’ lives as long as they don’t become too self-obsessed.

    I have also noticed that the success of the GBDOC is due in no small part to the way in which its regular users talk about all sorts of stuff as well as diabetes. The French equivalent, FRDOC, failed to grow and prosper because its members never got this. Ironically, it is in connecting with fellow T1D people about all sorts of stuff as well as diabetes (especially cats and chickens!!!) that I have found good friends who are sources of support and information about diabetes.

    Keep doing what you do!


  34. Thanks Adrian. I too have found much that is good in social media relating to my diabetes. I think good ‘behaviour’ that is supportive, kind and dosed with a good sense of humour is important for patient communities too. Right back at yer – keep doing what you do! X

  35. Hi Anne
    There’s a lot I could say: you’ve been a constant source of encouragement and support for our work at Patient Opinion.
    But I’ll just mention the blog post you wrote for us back in March, on “no apology apologies”:
    It struck a chord with so many people! And it remains our most read post by a long way, with nearly 8,000 views.
    But more than this – you took a risk, and shared some truths that many will not. So thank you – and please keep doing so!

  36. Dear Anne,

    Where to start…..

    1. Mentorship. A couple of years ago, I threw out a tweet asking for a mentor. Despite your workload, you offered (and still offer) to support and encourage me. You have helped me to understand what I’m able to do. And I can now make choices about what I want to do in a less constrained way. I didn’t do that before. I’ve done stuff I didn’t think I could.
    2. Nursing leadership. You are a nurse through and through. I admire the way in which you uphold our profession in a visible way. Importantly, the NMC was guided by your intervention in the draft of the revised Code: this has helped nurses remain nurses in social media. As a nurse, you are an articulate speaker- it’s dead easy to attend to what you are saying because you speak with meaning. You know your subject.
    3. Digital. You push us to think about digital in healthcare. You do this by being transparent in your own thinking. You are a thinker. You are able to tolerate uncomfortable places and you are not afraid to be different.
    4. Mental health. Not many people know this, but you are really a mental health nurse on the quiet. Which is ace.
    5. Don’t stop #rorycat

    Thank you.


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