Being on a journey – reflections on #WGT16

Categories: Education.

On 29 February 2016 I found myself at the University of Salford along with nearly 300 other users of Twitter and other social media accounts, connected through #WeCommunities.

#WeCommunities has grown out of the @WeNurses Twitter group set up by Teresa Chinn MBE who, as @AgencyNurse, sought out other nurses via Twitter in order to share and support each other in practice.

That was barely four years ago; now a crowd-funded day-long event was taking place that would eventually have a reach of over 1,700 people around the world, and a Twitter reach of over 80 million!

The purpose of We Get Together 2016, #WGT16, was to consider how social media can work in healthcare in the future, and have a positive impact on people’s lives.

So what was I doing there, along with Marie Cooper (@mariecooper100) and Sarah Russell (@learnhospice) from Hospice UK?

As workers in hospice and end of life care we have been part of @WeEoLC (We End of Life Care), one of the groups nestling in the family of #WeCommunities.

On a personal level, I wanted to share my enthusiasm for using Twitter to connect with nursing and other care related colleagues. Twitter helps us communicate news of practice and research, and support each other as practitioners. A major find for me was the breadth of contacts that I soon developed.

It is these connections that led me to Salford, ready to share my thoughts on the future use of social media in healthcare, and in particular in end of life care.

Along with Sarah and Marie, we represented Hospice UK and end of life care at #WGT16. Our particular interest in one page profiles in end of life care led to us being joined by Helen Sanderson (@HelenHSAUK), who has done much to develop person-centred thinking tools. Other groups such as Patient Opinion were there too.

So why was the journey to Salford so significant?

The day was an important opportunity to see how the technologies available to us today can influence practice, challenge us to research and to make a difference to those we care for as their life ends.

The journey for me was more than just a drive from home; it was part of my career moving forward and looking into the future.

Getting to Salford was just the start of seeing glimpses into the future through the eyes of finance experts, student nurses and ward sisters, physiotherapists, patients and influential thinkers from the NHS as well as independent experts.

It reminded me a little of childhood trips to the coast when we had an informal competition to be the first to see the sea; those of us in the room and following online had an exciting peek into what the future might look like.

A wide range of photos from #WGT16 are available to view on Twitter.

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