By Carol Cannon, RN, BSN, OCN®

“Tweet or Die” was the name of a session held during the American College of Surgeon’s annual conference several years ago. Since reading about it, I cannot get that phrase out of my head. It’s a twist on “publish or perish,” a phrase commonly cited by PhD-prepared scholars in the world of academia. These strong words convey the seriousness of the issue. If you aren’t using social media, you aren’t practicing to the best of your abilities. In the wake of the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing’s recommendation to practice to the full extent of your license, I believe wholeheartedly that that includes responsible use of social media.

Social media allows us to connect and create an online community with other nurses and members of the healthcare world. It helps us to stay on top of the massive amounts of new research coming out that will change our clinical practice, and it offers a forum where we can share challenges and propose strategies to meet those challenges.

Some nurses are afraid of social media. Certainly, horrible stories of nurses losing their jobs over posts on Facebook are circulating out there, but these are the exceptions. Social media is not to be feared; it is to be used and embraced, especially by nurses!

I am so excited to be coordinating a session on professional use of social media at the ONS 40th Annual Congress, to be held April 23–26 in Orlando, FL. The session is currently under construction, but it will feature nurses and colleagues who have seen the light and found the exponential benefits that social media can offer one’s professional practice.

A perfect example of social media’s benefits is the way this year’s Congress content planning team will be striving to engage members and attendees. Here are a few things you can expect in the months leading up to Congress.

  • Weekly updates from the team explaining what we’re working on, like coordinating interesting sessions and finding expert speakers
  • Blog posts! The Congress blog is set to launch in December when registration opens. Until then, read about Congress highlights on the ONS Connect blog.
  • Questions for you: Follow ONS on Facebook and Twitter, and help us plan the Congress sessions. We want to know what you want to see and learn at Congress. For starters, what would you like to learn or share about social media in your practice? Any fears? Hesitations? Success stories?

Although we’re more than six months away from Congress, the content planning team is already shoulder-deep in planning. We want to share our excitement with you . . . through social media. So log on and get connected!

This article originally appeared on the ONS Connect site at

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