Nursing in the 21st century means there are countless ways staff can engage and learn from each other – one way is through social media.
The NMC has recognised this shift and therefore you may be able to incorporate your online activity in your continuing professional development (CPD) hours for revalidation.
One way you can do this is by taking part in a Twitter chat.
A Twitter chat is a conversation that takes place on Twitter (a social media platform) which allows people to post short messages of up to 140 characters.
Chats may be run by an account you follow (such as @theRCN) or someone you don’t follow and involve several users having a conversation, usually focused around a certain subject or area of nursing. Users will be able to ask questions and respond to questions.
The conversation will take place virtually using a predetermined hashtag (#) which coordinates all of the tweets around the topic in a specific place, so you can see and respond to what other people are saying. By typing the relevant hashtag in the search field (for example #RCNchat) you can see all of the tweets in the Twitter chat and scroll through the conversation.
To revalidate, you must complete 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) and of these, 20 must be participatory learning. Twitter chats fall under participatory learning, which is a learning activity undertaken with one or more people where you personally interact.
Participatory learning doesn’t have to take place in a shared physical space; it can be virtual too - which is why Twitter chats count.
To take part in a Twitter chat, you need to have a Twitter account. You can choose or be assigned a username and then personalise your profile with a picture and information about you. Once you have an account, you can start ‘following’ other Twitter accounts (be it people or organisations) so that you see what they say when they tweet. Following an account you means their tweets will appear in your timeline and accounts that follow you will also see your tweets.
If you intend to use the profile in a professional capacity, you may wish to explain your job title and responsibilities in your twitter biography.
Remember to keep it professional.
Twitter is a public platform so be aware of patient and colleague confidentiality and use discretion when discussing your work. However, don’t let this stop you posting and commenting. To help, read our guide to Getting started on Twitter and the NMC’s social media guidance.
Revalidation requires you to log your CPD hours and provide evidence of participation. The NMC has a form to help you record this.
When providing evidence of participation in a Twitter chat you may want to make a note of the date and time the chat occurred, and the topic and any learning outcomes that you as a result of taking part in the chat. You can include a link to the chat or some screenshots of your tweets and anything that will help demonstrate your CPD to your confirmer.
If you haven’t tweeted during the chat and only observed, this could not be included in your participatory learning, but you may still be able to use it as part of your CPD if you reflect on what you learned from following the chat, and how it helped you in your role. Time spent reading background material ahead of the chat, as well as the time taking part in the chat, can count within your CPD hours.