Use of social media increases connectivity among ONS chapter members

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The increased use of social media fosters increased connectivity, energy, and enthusiasm among chapter members of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), which will eventually invigorate all nurses in the area.

Increasing the use of social media represents a significant way to connect with oncology nurses not just locally but worldwide, and is encouraged by ONS. This includes the use of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, said Jennifer Graff, RN, BSN, OCN, CHPN, of the Thomas Johns Cancer Hospital at CJW Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. However, scant use of social media within the Richmond area chapter of ONS led to a project to determine if posting on social media sites could increase chapter participation, especially among members who are otherwise separated by corporate lines.

During a regular meeting, a poll of members found 80% already had a Facebook page, Graff said during the Oncology Nursing Society 36th Annual Congress. Following board approval, the chapter's Webmaster gave a PowerPoint presentation to members demonstrating the chapter's Facebook page; other forms of social media were also explained. Members were then asked to “friend” the chapter's Facebook page.

The chapter plans to post public events, educational sessions, and meetings to the Facebook page, which are then automatically posted to chapter's friends' pages. This process serves to inform members without them having to log onto a different site (ie, the local chapter Web site). Invitations to chapter meetings will include an RSVP query to determine how the member found out about the meeting.

Project expectations are that members will connect with the ONS chapter as they log on to Facebook to catch up with family and friends, and that no one will miss a meeting announcement or educational opportunity. Data collection is ongoing; once the first phase of this project is complete, the chapter plans to explore the use other social media sites, such as Twitter. Finally, once chapter networking is improved, more community outreach programs can be planned that will help better serve patient needs, Graff concluded.
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