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4 Ways Blogging Improved My Business

I started blogging by accident. More as a journal entry than a way to promote my business.

I work in the reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) field and had to perform one of my least favorite parts of my job; telling a patient that she lost her pregnancy. I found myself thinking about her (and how I imparted the news) long after the event itself and decided to write about it in order to relieve the stress associated with it.

After doing so, I posted it as a blog on my website and linked it to some social media pages. The next day I woke up to a buzzing phone with many notifications of ‘likes’ and comments on my post, either from other nurses, friends or just people who have experienced pregnancy loss. As a result, I realized that writing a blog could help me to inspire and educate more people than I ever could by in-person interactions alone.

Over time, though, writing a blog has helped my business in a more indirect, but no less impactful, way.

1. Establishes Credibility

One of the most obvious benefits and one of the main reasons many people choose to write a blog is to help position themselves as an expert in their field. Researching the topics for my blog has forced me to stay current regarding the latest literature and trends in REI, an important aspect of educating others in a rapidly growing field. I also started to provide content for other REI blogs, in addition to my own, further expanding my reach and getting others to notice me and my brand.

2. Patient Insight

My blog has provided me with so much valuable insight into the mindset of patients, which I’m then able to share with the nurses who care for them.

I started expanding my social media presence in order to research ideas for blog posts and found that infertility patients started following me. Reading what they post on their Instagram pages has been eye-opening for me, as it challenged my perception of the importance of certain events in the infertility journey.

A great example of this is the appointment with the physician following a failed treatment cycle, an appointment that nurses call a “negative follow-up” and patients (apparently) call the WTF appointment.

I realized that this appointment is meaningful, as patients have many questions regarding the reason for their cycle failure and are curious about the plan for next steps. I was surprised, though, at the level of anticipation for this particular office visit. Patients post often about anxiously waiting for this appointment, they postulate what will be discussed and despair that there might not be a viable option for them to achieve a pregnancy.

REI nurses barely mention this appointment when we call them with their negative pregnancy test.

The negative pregnancy test phone call is dreaded by REI nurses everywhere and, as a by-product of our discomfort in having to relay bad news, we often rush through it. Now, I educate the nurses with whom I work that they should call the patient again a day or two after the initial phone call, and spend quality time offering support, outlining what they can expect at the WTF appointment and ending the call with a tone of cautious optimism.

This one extra phone call has been incredibly well-received by patients and goes a long way to alleviate some of the anger and anxiety generated by a negative test result. Had it not been for my blogging efforts I may have never had this insight.

3. Network Growth

Blogging has helped me create and cultivate an invaluable network of nurse entrepreneurs.

At the beginning of my blog and website creation, I would reach out to colleagues and authors of articles and blogs that I respected in order to connect and ask for advice. I didn’t feel like I had much to offer on my end, but eventually, I did. We would bounce ideas off each other, compare new apps or programs or share helpful information. I also became friends with colleagues who worked in the infertility field, but specialized in services tangential to mine and we started to naturally cross-refer to each other.

For example, if a client asks me for patient education materials, I tell them that is not my specialty, but I can refer them to a colleague. In turn, my colleagues refer me when someone needs help with my specialty. In time, I have become part of a community of other nurses, entrepreneurs and healthcare professionals, which has been integral to improving my efficiency, expanding my reach and helping to alleviate the stress that is inherent to owning and running your own business.

4. Added Value for All

My company’s mission is to educate and empower REI nurses and, originally, I only focused on providing novice nurses the information and theory that they need to succeed.

In a short time, though, I realized that I needed something to offer the more experienced nurses too. I found that the way to enrich and enhance the work life of this subset of nurses is to provide them with leadership and networking skills.

So I started to research and write blogs on professional development, mentoring and presentation skills and found myself enlightened in these areas as an added bonus. I utilized my newly-acquired network of nursing contacts to introduce seasoned REI nurses to each other so that they can form their own community, with the goal of creating an environment where they can all thrive.

Writing a blog has added incredible value to my business and I highly recommend starting one, even if you don’t acquire an immediate following. You will benefit from the process of writing it as much, if not more than you will the finished product. Finally, if you define success as having the above-listed benefits, as opposed to just the number of ‘likes’ or comments, then adding a blog to your business repertoire can be one of the most beneficial actions that you can take to advance yourself and your company.

 

Monica Moore is a nurse practitioner and the founder of Fertile Health, LLC, a consulting company created to train new nurses in reproductive endocrinology and encourage nutritional interventions in REI practices. Before Fertile Health, she was one of the nurse managers at RMA of CT and continues to work as a consultant for them.

How Starting a Vlog Made Me a Better Writer

Every nurse is a writer, we just don’t know it.

Maybe I should change that statement to, every nurse is a ‘charter,’ we just don’t know it?

*Insert massive eye-roll from the audience*

Every nurse knows about charting. “If it wasn’t charted, it didn’t happen” is a mantra we learn early in nursing school. Our words and thoughts are expressed to document events that unfold. We learn how to describe an event, situation or scenario succinctly so that the next nurse can pick up where we left off.  This is why every nurse is a writer.

My Intro to Writing

My name is Sean.  I’m an “O.G.” diploma-trained nurse turned Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and I’m a writer.

About ten years ago during the pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter era, I was a new nurse who was baffled by all the crazy things I was experiencing. Every day I would come home from my shift and say, “Well, they didn’t teach THAT in nursing school!” It was both comical and frustrating. I felt so unprepared and alone. So I did the only logical thing; I took to the internet. I discovered this thing called ‘blogging’ (it was new at the time) and I fell in love with it. I found an outlet to share my stories with other like-minded individuals that ‘got me.’ I started a small lil’ blog sharing my stories, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ten years later I’m still blogging, and I still love to tell my stories. It’s the best way I know how to pass on knowledge and teach the next generation of nurses. Storytelling is embedded into our nursing culture; it’s how we assimilate into a new environment (or job). Remember the last new job you had? How did you learn about your new colleagues? We share front-line experiences on how we learned a task or a skill as a way to break the ice when meeting new nurses. I mean c’mon, Everyone has their first foley catheter experience, don’t they?

How Vlogging Helped

Through a series of events with a former employer (as a blogger), I was introduced to the world of video blogging. It wasn’t something that came easily to me because I was used to typing instead of recording. However, I quickly realized it was something I enjoyed. Not only did it delivere an element of emotion that cannot be expressed with just words, but it also helped my creativity and content creation.

Vlogging (video blogging) allowed more freedom of expression, but it also forced me to think about my audience during the entire creation process because I’m on camera. I had to talk ‘to’ my audience not just write ‘about’ a topic. Stepping outside of my comfort zone by getting in front of a camera helped me become a better writer by requiring me to (literally) have a conversation with my readers.

Vlogging is more popular now than ever thanks to the popularity of live streaming video (thank you Facebook). With live video you can talk to your audience in real-time about current events. Every nurse remembers the Utah Nurse Assault.  

In 2016 I posted a video (vlog) every day for a full year. Yes, I posted 365 videos consecutively. It started out as an experiment and turned into an exciting endeavor. I got to share my stories, but I also discovered I could reach more people. As in 1 million new people.  

It was an amazing learning experience as a creator. I not only had to create content, but had to become proficient at it as well. This meant I needed to sharpen my time management skills. How long does it take you to create a video or traditional blog? Now think about doing that every single day for a full calendar year. Yeah, I learned to streamline a lot of tasks. (I share some of them with the Healthcare Marketing Network → HERE.)

What I’ve Learned

I learned a lot since that first vlog many years ago. And if I had to offer any advice for someone interested in starting a vlog, it would be to just press record. Don’t get bogged down in the trivial details. It’s so easy to get paralyzed by perfection, but don’t give in. Just record. Forget about the equipment, the lighting, the sound, the editing software or the platform. Just get your creation out there for the world to enjoy. An unpolished and scrappy ‘something’ is better than an unpublished and unknown perfect nothing. The rest you can figure out later.  

Have you ever tried vlogging? If not, would you like to? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Sean Dent is a diploma-trained nurse turned Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. He began blogging 10 years ago and still continues to share his experiences through writing.