Facebook is a tool that is growing in popularity for agency networking, information sharing and good old fashion socialising. It is a forum in which you can ask questions, get the inside scoop and get a real feel for a placement you may be embarking on or considering. It lets you connect with other nurses living a similar lifestyle and hear their travel stories, giving you a stronger sense of community and who doesn’t love that.
That said, we feel we must put out a word of warning regarding what you put online and your approach to engaging in online forums. Social media and its relationship to employment is a blurry and complex issue that is coming to the forefront of a lot of HR and employment relations discussions. We have seen a few cases where an agency nurse’s employability has been directly affected by incidents or comments on social media. Whether this is ethically right or wrong is not our place to say, but we do want you to be aware and act with care when interacting online.
Read below for some handy advice to keep in mind when navigating the increasingly complex social media landscape of agency nursing. From an expert in all thing’s social media; a millennial. Because, let’s face it, who else has been Facebooking since they could walk.
Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your NUM to see.
The phrase ‘Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your mum to see’ can be adapted here to ‘Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your NUM to see.’ Facebook groups are public, despite the misconception that they are private. Posting anything unprofessional, negative or of a slanderous nature WILL get back to the unit. Do you know if your current NUM/DON have been agency nurses before? Or even anyone else who works in that unit? Chances are someone you are currently working with are members of that group. Agency nursing is a smaller world than you think!
You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken.
In some cases, DONs/NUMs haven’t been aware of an issue until reading about it on posts on Facebook. The fact they are unaware, meant they weren’t able to do anything about it whilst you were on contract. If something isn’t right, try speaking to them in a professional way and see what solutions you can both collaboratively come up with. It shows initiative and they really do respect you coming straight to them to discuss any issues on contract.
It is all in how your present information.
We are not saying that if you have found something unsatisfactory or had a bad experience to withhold that information. But it is important to stop and consider how you present your experience. Imagine your boss reading the comment, will it come across that you are maintaining confidentiality, professionalism and being solutions focused? If there are negatives to a contract, maybe reflect on your experience, present some solutions on what could have been better and what you would do next time to mitigate these. You never know, your feedback with solutions may enact positive change for the next agency nurse to come!
One man’s trash is another’s treasure.
Everyone has different experiences, likes, thresholds and preferences. What you didn’t like, the next nurse may love. (For example that special breed of nurses that love ND’s). So be wary of putting off new or future agency nurses with your comments. Be fair in your evaluations and present the positives as well!
It happened to a friend of a friend of mine.
If someone has posted something negative online, don’t just take it at face value. Delve deeper if you are concerned. Ask more questions privately, ask your placement specialist and speak to someone over the phone who has been there recently. Don’t just take one person’s opinion or rumours about what they have heard as the sole deciding factor, because it is just exactly that. Try everything once, because in our experience it is sometimes the most unexpected and different placements that turn out to the be the most rewarding!
Social media is a great asset to the agency lifestyle but make sure you are safeguarding your future employability by using common sense and caution. A safe rule of thumb to follow is that if you are slightly unsure, then don’t post it.