Social media refers to electronic communication platforms that allows people to share information, ideas and network quickly, efficiently, and in real-time (Hudson, 2019; Merriam-webster, 2019; Ventola 2014). According to the Pew Research Center (2019), 72% of Americans use some type of social media. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) can use social media as a tool to enlighten policymakers to affect health policy change and advocacy.
Social media allows us, APRNs, a platform to share personal successes of policy enaction to improve patient outcomes or how a particular bill enaction would improve access to care and reduce healthcare costs. These stories are told through nursing and other healthcare organization sites, both local and national, as well as advocacy organizations such as AARP. The CDC for example, now tweets regularly and has hundreds of thousands of followers (Grande et al., 2014).
APRNS can inform policy decisions by sharing quality improvement projects and research related to healthcare policies on social media such as tweeting and blogging. Policy makers and much of the public do not read nor do they understand nursing research. Tweeting and blogging allows information to be communicated for understanding by our policy makers more effectively. We must let go of the historical view of social media as an unprofessional media or media that is disrespected in the academic world (Grande et al., 2014).
Policy makers are dependent on policy tools for policy design. Social media is a tool that our policymakers are attune to and we should utilize this media to reach them.
We, APRNs have an obligation to inform and be involved in health policy design. Social media provides an avenue for APRNs to persuade our policy makers to either support or oppose a policy.
Grande, D., Gollust, S., Pany, M., Seymour, J., Goss, A., Kilaru, A., & Meisel, Z. (2014). Translating research for health policy: Researchers’ perceptions and use of social media. Health Affairs (Project Hope), 33(7), 1278-1285.
Merriam-Webster (2019). Social media. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social%20media
Pew Research Center (2019). Social Media Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/
Ventola, C. (2014). Social media and health care professionals: Benefits, risks, and best practices. P & T : A Peer-reviewed Journal for Formulary Management, 39(7), 491-520.