Tweeting, chickens and... lizards
Teresa is a agency nurse who has has become a blogger and nursing chat lead on Twitter with her bi-weekly NurChat.
Outside of nursing and all that social media work, her three children and lovely husband keep her very busy. But there's still time for reading - "absolutely anything can lay my hands on," pottering in the garden when the sun is shining and taking on the allotment as a family.
The busy household is complemented with a collection of pets, familiar and not-so familiar - five chickens, two cats, an iguana and a bearded dragon!
What made you want to be a nurse?
Shortly after leaving school, I went to work in a nursing home. There I met an amazing nurse - she was so caring, compassionate and knowledgeable and she inspired me to become a nurse.
I had always loved communicating with people in any way and nursing seemed to me to be a natural extension of that. And the more I learn about nursing, the more I love it – I count myself very lucky that I met her as I cannot imagine myself not being a nurse.
What's Nurchat and why did you start it?
I lead #NurChat, my regular Twitter chats for nurses. I first became involved in social media whilst working as an agency nurse. I felt quite isolated and in need of contact with other nurses so I started blogging and tweeting about this and it just snowballed from there.
Then I started using #NurChat to draw together tweets for nurses and leading fortnightly Twitter chats in August 2011. It's since gone from one isolated nurse to over 1000 Nurchatting nurses.
I love the work I do with the social media. I believe passionately about strength coming from nursing communities and I hope to be able to take this forward and show other nurses the value of connecting via social media.
I hope that I'll be able to make a living from this soon, but in the meantime, I earn my salary through working as an agency nurse, which I also love as it allows me to stay in touch with grass roots nursing.
What's an average day like for you?
On a #NurChat day I do some reading around the discussion subject early in the day and develop a list of interesting points and questions. However these are often not used as NurChatters tend to have their own agenda and I try to let it run its course.
Throughout the day that I Tweet extensively about that evening's chat to ensure that everyone knows about it. Shortly before any chat I always Tweet about the NMC code of conduct and its social media guidelinesto remind everyone that Twitter is a public space and as nurses we must always abide by the code.
#NurChats normally take place at 8pm and throughout the chat I Tweet both as myself and as #NurChat. I also need to keep a lookout for anyone who is Tweeting and forgetting to add the hashtag – for this reason I tend to have a computer, an iPad and my iPhone all logged on and at the ready! It can be quite challenging at times to make sure that everyone participates and can be seen by everyone else. After each chat has ended I get to work creating a transcript of the chat and a summary – this is for those who have missed the chat. As we all know nurses don’t work a normal 9-5 Monday to Friday. I normally try and get the transcript and summary up that same evening, this often means working late into the night.
What about non-NurChat days?
On days when there isn't a live #NurChat I keep one ear on Twitter listening out for anyone wanting nursing information. Often people will Tweet asking questions or about issues using #NurChat and I try to Retweet most of these as I have a big nurse following and usually someone following me will know the answer of find the information useful.
I also write blogs – both my own blog www.agencynurseuk.blogspot.com and for the Nursing Times. Its also important that I keep the momentum going with #NurChat so throughout the week I ask the nursing community for discussion suggestions.
What's the best thing about what you do?
Being a nurse twitter chat lead allows me to connect nurses.
As nurses we are all so busy during our working day that often we don't have time to share our thoughts and experiences with other nurses - not only during tough times but also the good things.
#NurChat allows me to make a difference to healthcare by facilitating nurses to share knowledge and information and provide a forum for them to support one another.
I have also had some fantastic opportunities since becoming involved in social media and nursing – I've been on an NMC panel as part of social media week and written for the NMC Review, written pieces for the Nursing Times and worked with NHS Employers on a Flu Fighter #NurChat.