Hello. Thanks for dropping by. This will be the last post on meta4RN.com
It is 10 years ago today when the post “Hello World!” jauntily announced the meta4RN.com launch, and the “About” page outlined the rationale and vision for this nursing blog.
Since then there have been more than 200 meta4RN.com posts published (they’re all listed here meta4RN.com/contents). Those posts have yielded more than 190,000 words – that’s the length of a PhD thesis, twice 😳. Additionally, meta4RN.com has been adorned with hundreds of images and embedded Tweets, and dozens of Prezi and SlideShare presentations, and a heap of YouTube and TikTok videos. The visual stuff is much more labour-intensive than writing.
How many hours have been poured into meta4RN.com? IDK. About a bajillion.
The decision to stop contributing to meta4RN.com today was made a year ago. It is the right decision. I plan continue working full time for another 4ish years, but not beyond that. It is sensible to transition away from doing work-related things like maintaining the meta4RN.com nursing blog, and spend more time and energy on non-work-related stuff.
I have enjoyed creating meta4RN.com. I’ll stop paying for the domain name in about a year, but the site will remain online in one form or another. I think WordPress will maintain a free version of the site with a different address (something like wordpress.meta4RN.com), but I’m not really sure. I am sure that the site is being archived by the WaybackMachine (here: web.archive.org/web/20220910010128/https://meta4rn.com/) and the National Library of Australia (here: webarchive.nla.gov.au/tep/140064).
The best thing about having a nursing blog is that it gives an ordinary working nurse an extraordinary audience. The meta4RN.com site has attracted over 190,000 views. That’s a big deal. I do lots of face-to-face education sessions, but those audience sizes are mostly around 10 at a time, and only occasionally larger than 30. Crowd sizes are a bit bigger at conferences, but even then it’s unusual to have more than 100 in a room. Is there any way to amplify your message and audience without going online?
There is context for this. Nurses have often lamented that their voice is not heard in the media, that they have been intentionally frozen out of conversations about health service planning/delivery, or that they are overlooked or ignored altogether. Social media gives Nurses an avenue to assert their voice in the public realm, but how many of us are accessing this opportunity? You have probably heard the Dalai Lama quote, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” Nurses are the most numerous of clinicians. Try ignoring a swarm of mosquitoes. Make a buzz.
Reach & Readership
Who does meta4RN.com reach?
The primary value – to me, anyway – has been the improved access to my workmates that the blog has provided.
- Couldn’t get to the inservice? No worries, I’ve plonked a video version and the references here: meta4RN.com/grow
- Want to revisit what we were chatting about last week? Easy. There’s a summary here: meta4RN.com/step
- Feeling stressed by nursing in a pandemic? Me too. Here’s how I frame it: meta4RN.com/switch
- What you’ve achieved has been amazing. Check out the data: meta4RN.com/surfing
Obviously it’s an unofficial, “back channel” kind of access (the sort of thing that makes managers nervous), but it’s been very valuable over the years. Every inservice education session should have a webpage for easy access to references and resources, shouldn’t it? It was incredibly helpful to have had the meta4RN.com site already in place and fairly well known before the pandemic – it’s interesting to scroll through the contents page (meta4RN.com/contents) and note the increased emphasisis on posts about reflective practice and self compassion from early 2020.
Act locally. Echo globally.
For most of the meta4RN.com posts I imagined the reader as a 3rd year nursing student or early-career Registered Nurse in FNQ. The actual readership was much-more geographically far-flung.
The meta4RN.com site attracted visitors from more than 100 countries, the top 8 of which were Australia (about 47%), United States (about 28%), United Kingdom (about 9%), and Canada, New Zealand, India, Phillipines and Ireland (each between about 1 and 3%).
Hits & Misses
Let’s start with the hits. That is, the five posts that attracted the most hits online, and the five posts that I am most proud of.
Interestingly, 4 of the 5 posts that attracted the most visits are instructive and/or have free, reusable templates, ie:
- Using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale meta4RN.com/EPD
- Example of Nursing Curriculum Vitae meta4RN.com/CV
- Mental State Examination: Looking, Listening and Asking meta4RN.com/MSE
- Sample Clinical Supervision Agreement meta4RN.com/sample – this page attracts most of the hits meta4RN.com gets from the United States.
The “Nurse Can’t Take Pulse. Seriously.” post was a critique of the first episode of an Australian hospital-based TV series called “Pulse”. It attracted 17,000 hits in a couple of days, which was a bit of a surprise. Typically meta4RN.com attracts about 2,000 hits a month. It was topical for about a week, then stopped being of interest, as evidenced by the paucity of hits since the year it was published.
The posts I am most proud of didn’t attract the most attention.
- The Broken Leg/Psychosis Metaphor meta4RN.com/leg prolongs one of the many learnings I acquired from Greg Holland – the most skilled communicator/mental health nurse I have worked with
- Emotional Aftershocks meta4RN.com/aftershocks is too long, but it was cathartic to shine a light on the remarkably common nurse experience of being exposed to violence at work
- Lalochezia meta4RN.com/lalochezia is short, fun and is the blog post that my workmates speak of the most
- Hand Hygiene and Mindful Moments meta4RN.com/hygiene is a pretty simple and not entirely original idea; it’s had pretty good acceptance and uptake amongst my workmates
The “Self Care/Compassion [combined]” section of the chart above is essentially the same post used in support of face-to-face education sessions (primarily, but not exclusively, for new graduate nurses). The post was repeatedly updated/refined to remain relevant. This was especially important during and after the pandemic arriving. The posts tallied together as one under the Self Care/Compassion heading are:
– 2013: Nurturing the Nurturers meta4RN.com/nurturers
– 2017: First Thyself meta4RN.com/thyself
– 2019: Self Care: Surviving emotionally taxing work environments meta4RN.com/SelfCare
– 2020: Clean Hands. Clear Head. meta4RN.com/head
– 2022: Self Compassion: surviving and thriving in emotionally taxing work environments meta4RN.com/grow
If the meta4RN.com site has any legacy at all, I hope it is recalled as a place where nurses showed care for nurses.
The posts that missed were the ones that attempted to enthuse, beguile or bully nurses into using social media more intentionally and actively. If you scroll through the contents page (here: meta4RN.com/contents) you will see that nurse social media is a reoccurring theme of meta4RN.com. Anyway, those posts did not reach much of an audience, nor have I seen any large-scale change in Australian nurses embracing social media as a way to participate in the public conversation. I think it’s a lost opportunity for the profession. Why? Scroll back up and read paragraph 8 (the one that starts, “There is context for this”).
I didn’t update the look of the meta4RN.com website at all over its 10 years of existence. Sorry. I thought about it once, but couldn’t be bothered. It’s daggy.
Even though I articulated that “meta4RN” is a homophone that can be read as either “metaphor RN” or “meta for RN”, it didn’t really catch-on. It’s a bit daggy.
Although it was flattering to have heaps of people subscribe to the blog, I really wished they didn’t. Subscribers get the published version sent straight to their email address, which is bad for me. Why? Because I make an embarrassing amount of typos with every blog post. When I notice typos I can fix them online, but subscribers don’t get to see that. They only get to see the typo-ridden version that lands in their inbox. Daggy.
Also, email is so 20-something years ago. Who can be bothered with email anymore – it’s too daggy.
I don’t know. There will be something post-meta4RN.com, but I’m not sure exactly what it will look like. It will be less work-related, and more to do with cultivating activities that will sustain me when I get around to retiring in a few years.
I’m not sure what, if anything, I’ll do with my new website: paulmc.au
I do know that paulmc.au will not be a nursing blog like meta4RN.com. I’d like to visit other Australian nursing blogs though.
I’m not sure yet what I’ll be doing with all the other meta4RN-branded social media platforms, which are listed here: meta4RN.com/links and here: linktr.ee/meta4RN
Thanks to everyone who has visited, interacted with or shared meta4RN.com over the last 10 years. Your support has been very encouraging. Thank you.
As I did 10 years ago I would like to acknowledge and thank Ian Miller as a pioneer of this space. Ian’s impactEDnurse.com blog inspired the launch of meta4RN.com.
Special thanks to my favourite human @StellaGRN for putting-up with me buggerising-about on the blog and related stuff for a decade. You’re very patient darling. Thank you.
Finally, thank you to my life-long partner Early-Waking Insomnia. I never would have found the time for meta4RN.com without you.
As always, feedback is welcome via the comments section below.
Paul McNamara, 24 September 2022
Short URL: meta4RN.com/seeya