Tagged: social media

Research methods in mental health & social media

Another hot off the press publication…  in it we (Wilson & Usher) give some practical guidance about how to recruit using social media to ensure that mental health research is reaching the right informant audience to investigate mental health questions.

In this paper we argue that research protocols that engage only in traditional forms of media (eg newspaper, TV, radio) to recruit participants may in fact be missing an important informant group – those people who only use social media sources and no longer consume traditional media. We contend that there are ethical and practical implications if we miss these individuals in our samples … and that this might adversely impact our results…

This one has a paywall – so you need to use your library account to access a copy – but if you have trouble – message me and I will find a suitable solution for you to see a copy!

If you are a health or social researcher – you will be interested… if not… this one might be a little on the dull side… (boring disclaimer for the most of the world!) But – fascinating if you are into research and want to make sure we ask the right questions to the right people in the right way to answer our important research questions…

Click here to read the abstract/ summary and download if you can!



Top 5 reasons I’ll follow you on Twitter

Top 5 reasons I’ll follow you on Twitter.

Check out this blog ^ by Research Whisper … Twitter is a fantastic resource – but yes, you have to invest something of yourself into it to make it work…

The only point of difference for me is I am perhaps a bit more flexible with my following decisions. I am happy to follow back novice twitter nurses in particular, to assist with introducing them to nursing colleagues in the Twittersphere. Just like IRL (in real life), networking relies on investing some relationship and by gaining introductions to key stakeholders. My followship is substantial enough to enable me to ‘play nice’ enough to give others a hand along the way. So – if you appear authentic after I run my checks, and you are interested in conversations about #nursing #mentalhealth #ruralhealth #Indigneoushealth #wellbeing #research #academic #HDR … and your not trying to flog me your latest commercial book or product, or your not trying to sell me (or my followers) something – I will probably follow up back! What I will be very interested in is sharing knowledge, transferring health knowledge to real people and situations – so I will always be keen to promote scholarship (peer reviewed) whether it is mine or others. Why? Because I think it is critical to get new ideas out in the public domain – so ideas about improving the world get out where they matter… accessible to the general public and part of the conversation…

Let’s tweet!

Dallas asked me about nurse bloggers…

Nurse bloggers… hadn’t thought of myself like that – but I guess I am!

I had an email from a journalist – Dallas who asked: “I’m writing a feature on nurse bloggers. I was wondering if you would be able to answer the following questions for me:” I thought the best way for a nurse blogger to respond – was…to…blog! So here I go… (challenging the frontiers of journalism and nursing… at the same time I guess!)

• What led you to start up a blog?

I started my blog https://rhondawilsonmhn.com/ Rhonda Wilson MHN: Rural mental health nurse, just before the last federal election. I had previously established a professional digital profile across a number of other social media platforms (eg Twitter, facebook https://www.facebook.com/ruralMHnurse, LinkedIn, ResearchGate) and I had watched a number of other nurse bloggers from around the world for sometime too. What I noticed was that a blog provided an opportunity to contribute to a nursing conversation, and to participate in and initiate conversations about nursing/health broadly, but rural mental health nursing specifically. At that time I was particularly focussed on contributing to a rural perspective on the delivery of mental health care to rural people, and I wanted to ensure that I had done what I could to advocate for a fair representation for rural people to have good quality mental health care when it was needed; especially, for young rural people. I think it is an important professional responsibility for nurses to advocate for the health of people in their community – for me that is advocating for rural mental health care. The blog gave me a new way to advocate. Since then it has developed further to bring together conversations about rural mental health on a wider range of topics.

What do you post on your blog and why do you choose to discuss these types of things?

I try to blog about real life situations because that brings an authenticity to a conversation. I use to think that rural nursing was not very important –and nurses in big metro hospitals must be better than rural nurses… because everything we do seems to be on a small scale in the bush, and we don’t have as many resources to draw from. That belief affected my confidence to some extent, and it has taken a lot of study and practice to come to the realisation that rural nurses are very often the backbone of health care delivery in rural communities – that nurses are a critical social and health capital in rural communities. We are often not seen in upfront roles, and we are sometimes not valued for the important contributions that we make… but rural nurses are the glue that holds health together in rural communities. We are very often specialist generalists. We can cover all bases and do it well… I have only ever worked in rural and regional communities and if you need advanced life support – I can do that, if you need a scrub nurse for an emergency caesarean – I can do that. If you need triage in emergency – I can do that. If you need a paediatric nurse – I can do that. If you need a palliative care nurse – I can do that. If you need someone to home visit and do a dressing on a leg ulcer – I can do that. If you need a drug and alcohol health promotion at the local high school – I can do that. And, if you have a young person with a escalating psychosis – I can sort that too! Rural nurses have skills sets that are eclectic and valuable – different to urban nurses – but critically important in their rural communities. I thought it was about time that rural nurses started to speak up – a blog helps me to do that and to tell the stories of rural mental health nursing in a down to earth way.

Does it bring about any benefits for you personally or professionally?

I think broadening your network and respectfully listening/ reading and talking/ contributing to conversation about rural mental health brings both professional and personal benefit – but not in any tangible sense. Blogging helps me to reflect on my practice as a rural nurse and when other engage with my blogs (and other social media), then that has certainly been useful. The feedback from others has helped me to continue to develop as a professional nurse, and it is that conversation and dialogue with other nurses and health workers that is particularly valuable. Twitter (micro blogging) has brought some professional interactions and introductions that have been especially useful – networking at conferences, or with colleagues internationally has been great. I have one research project team that developed purely through Twitter interactions… the possibilities are endless. I have published a bit about nurses and social media too – I think it is an area of health progress and I wanted to bring some evidence to support new practices – so I have began to work in e-mental health areas – a new health frontier. I don’t know what opportunities might arise in the future – but I am a keen e-pioneer I guess!

Would you suggest other nurses create their own blog? What opportunities can doing so open up?

Yes – I think nursing has incredible potential to influence health and well being of people everywhere using social media and blogs. My advice – start out my lurking (respectfully) for a while – checking out what other nurses are doing in the field. Then, figure out where your own niche is… what do you have to contribute to the disciple? Set up a professional digital footprint… If you want to know how – check this out https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257458308_Nurses_and_Twitter._The_good_the_bad_and_the_reluctant

This paper is a guide to help people figure out how to use social media in health disciplines and it makes some suggestions about how and why it is useful. A stong – ‘get on board’ message to nurses everywhere.

Is this something that you see becoming more common among nurses?

I hope it becomes more common! I think that nurses contribution to e-health generally has a great deal of scope to do a great deal of good, in every corner of the world. Nurses should be prominent in the cyber community – because that is where people are increasingly hanging out – we nurses should go to the people with messages of health and well-being – it is the very heart of what we do! Never too old – if you don’t have a profile somewhere get one!

Please feel free to add any extra comment

Nurses who have been in the discipline for many years are sometimes reluctant to engage with social media. They are sometimes daunted by the unstoppable force of the internet. There has been a lot of bad press about the bad things that happen in cyberspace – (eg bullying, trolls etc). But, setting up a professional digital profile is much safer. What it takes is using common sense – behave in the cyber world professionally, and you will attract professional networks and conversations. Don’t engage with people who behave badly and with trolls and they won’t bother you. Other professionals will engage with you based on how relevant your posts are to them – play nice! If you don’t – no one will play with you. Be mindful of your code of conduct and stay within the flags!

I hope those responses to Dallas’ questions are of interest to others too! Good questions – thanks for asking! Cheers!

Social media and health care – endless new possibilities to promote health :)

Twitter… facebook…blogs… so much potential for good!

I do get excited about finding new ways to promote health and well-being to people using social media! I am working on a couple of e-health projects at the moment that I hope will make meaningful contributions to rural people in particular! 

I was excited to read the latest edition of the Collegian journal online yesterday which is a special issue all about health, nurses and social media. Heaps of reading excitement – some of it free! Here is the link:


Look out for the Wilson papers – I have a couple of them in this issue! 

Happy tweeting… blogging… and updating! 


Open access journal papers about health & social media

Thanks for the Collegian, a nursing journal, who are taking the lead with a discussion about social media and health with open access on recent journal papers by my colleagues and I – here they are for your easy click and free download:

Nurses and Twitter


Australian health profession students use of social media

Let us know what you think! 

Social media in the health professions – & why we should use it more & better!

The time has come – health professionals should embrace social media and use it to promote health, well-being and recovery to the multitudes! 

There are a great many opportunities to enhance the health of people and communities which can gain a foothold in the social media environment. And – I think nurses in particular should be a the forefront, leading the charge to a healthier future… I think that so much, I gathered up several other colleagues over the last year, and together we reviewed the literature to figure out just how this could be achieved…. and now we have published our first paper on the topic….. Here is the link:

Wilson, R. L., Ranse, J., Cashin, A., & McNamara, P. (2013). Nurses and Twitter. The good, the bad and the reluctant. Collegian, in press, xxx-xxx. doi: 10.1016/j.colegn.2013.09.003

You can read the abstract at the above link, and the journal article itself is available through health and academic library subscriptions….. 

Here are a few facts from our paper:

  • Global expansion in internet and smart phone availability has led to rapid expansion of social media

  • 2.7 billion subscribers (39% of world population) to the internet with 77% of these coming from developed countries

  • 750 million of households globally are now connected to the internet which represents approximately 41% of households across the globe

  •  75% of the developed world population now have a  smart phone

  • Facebook has 11.5 million Australian users and half of them check facebook at least daily

  • LinkedIn has 2.7 million users

  • youtube has 11 million Australian users

  • Skype is used by about 280 million users around the world with and average of 7 minutes use per user per day.

  • Australia has 12.2 million internet service provider subscriptions -1/2 are wireless and 3/4 are households.

  • There are 17.4 million smart phone subscription in Australia – and rapidly rising.
  • Four out o five professionals use some form of social media.
  • Young people have a high uptake, and proficiency, of social media.
  • Increasingly health care will need to communicate and offer services and health promotion utilizing social media, because that is fast becoming the standard mechanism for convenient communication with people. 
  • Social media represents the beginnings of a new era of communication and offers a platform from which health interventions and health communication can develop in the future 
  • There are new potentials for e-health practice 


…and if the isn’t convincing enough – this is what nurses have been up to using Twitter at conferences:

At the Congress of Nurses Conference in Melbourne, Australia May 2013. Delegates and non-delegates participated in a dynamic, unplanned and spontaneous Twitter conversation prior to, during, and after the live face-to-face conference of about 4000 delegates. A total of 221 individual tweeters engaged in a lively conversation about nursing issues during 19 May – 25 May 2013, using #ICNAust2013 (www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/ICNAust2013/analytics). Conference organizers did not organise or encourage the Twitter conversation, however it developed without any organized effort with tweeters self-initiating and participating in conversations. ……. Most of the posts consisted of an exchange of ideas about paper presentations. Other conversations developed where colleagues arranged to meet face to face using Twitter as a communication tool. A total of 3000 tweets using #ICNAust2013 occurred during this period, half of the tweets and mentions amongst the top ten influencers identified in their usernames a connection with one university in Australia (www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/ICNAust2013/analytics). …. The top ten influencers (made up of nine nurses and one health journalist) for the #ICNAust2103 were users with larger cohorts of followers and these users developed a cumulative impression footprint which numbered 1 million connections, while the total cumulative impression for #ICNAust2013 was 1.4 million. Thus the conversation of the wider conference of just 4000 face to face delegates had a wider SoMe impression that extended to 1.4 million Twitter users (www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/ICNAust2013/analytics). The actual impact and the impression footprint are quite different; however the potential for influence should be noted.


And more recently… at the 39th International Conference of Australian Mental Health Nurses in Perth, October 2013, Nurses were again out in force on Twitter! About 400 face to face delegates were present but there were over 140 individual Tweeters producing in excess of 1000 tweets and with a digital impression of about 600,00 using #ACMHN2013

There is much good that can come out of nurses and other health professionals embracing social media, developing proficient skills in using social media, and becoming advocates for fair, equitable and healthy changes for people and communities. 

Challenge – Let’s see how much good we can achieve!


What ideas do you have to contribute to get the ball rolling…..?