MARCH 2021 - Spotlight on learning as a network during a pandemic

The final blog of this series looks at a range of resources to build social capital in your network during Covid-19 and beyond.

During this six month blog series we have put a spotlight on learning during a pandemic and introduced resources on the platform which will support you to reimagine your network.  For March we are looking at building on your learning and digging deep into the concept of social networks.  This will be an introduction to the learning resources page on social networks which covers the latest overview and links to relevant research.  Through to the mix of materials posted on the platform this month whcih will link you to research on social media and networks plus free mini courses on utilising twitter in a professional capacity.  Our suggestion is that you use the materials as a jumping off spot to learning in your network.  For instance you may all want to do the mini course on twitter and then come together as a network and discuss how you can integrate the learning on social media and commmunity building in your practice.   

Social networks are important, although not the main focus of the Source4Networks platform.  Malby and Mervyn (2012) state that  'Social networks are highly individualised, rather than cohesive membership structures around shared purpose,' .  We have seen great examples of this in how individuals have had to use social media to connect as an informal network during the pandemic when restrictions have prevented meeting face to face.  This connection generates social capital as identified in other times in health such as outlined in the learning resources page on social networks (1) with NHS Change Day and Parkrun, not formalised events, but developed because of a desire for change and connection. 

It is clear that Covid-19 has pushed us to examine how we can tap into social media and medium such as podcasts to connect with others and share professional experience.  The Kings Fund (2) have been doing this with their podcast series on developing leadership.  The episode captured in the resources this month links closely into a learning space page - developing network purpose (2) and how this can be done through the experience of a GP Trainee.  Likewise, We Communities developed to connect a diverse group of individuals in healthcare professions to share experiences and provides a mix of tweet chats, resources and a Twitter University (4.5.) to support learning and professional development.  

As we start to see more integrated care networks (3) there will be a rise in social networks and therefore a need to identify risks and benefits with this approach. The resources (6 - 12) provide a mix of research, blogs and case studies which can be used by your network to ensure you observe best practice and also innovative ways to communicate and deliver learning and community experience.  Sketchnotes can be a way to capture learning from meetings, away days and conferences or you could look at developing a social media/network learning session including resources (7,9,10).  We have provided a lot of content around design thinking in health over the last few blogs and this will support you to reimagine your network going forward in 2021.

Finally all the links to the March content are listed below.

March resources 

  1. Social Networks
  2. Getting behind a purpose  
  3. The health and social care white paper explained
  4. Twitter University
  5. We communities resources
  6. Social networks in health during a pandemic
  7. Health design thinking
  8. Social media and health care professionals
  9. Using sketchnotes in health
  10. 10 tips for social media success
  11. How to use social media for networking
  12. Social media for networking, professional development and patient engagement