Allnurses.com, a sponsor/advertiser at Nurse Ratched’s Place has just announced that they now have 300,000 members. That’s big news! It means that more nurses than ever are signing onto the Internet in order to exchange ideas with other nurses. I’ve had the pleasure of exchanging emails with Brian Short, the creator of allnurses. com. Brian is a Internet pioneer, and I wanted to learn more about allnurse.com and the man behind this ground-breaking website.
Hi Brian, thank for this interview. How long have you been a nurse, and what drew you into the profession?
I’ve been an RN since 1995. Ever since junior high, I wanted to become a nurse. I was amazed at the human body and how fragile it really was. I had a friend whose mom was a nurse and I knew a flight paramedic, and I loved hearing stories from both of them. All through high school, I keep the goal of being a nurse in the back of my head and several years after high school, I went to nursing school and achieved my dream.
What important lessons did you learn while working as a bedside nurse?
Bedside nursing is an amazing experience, the personal skills you gain, dealing with so many people, so many situations. I like to think that I learned to be less judgmental, more open minded, more caring, more understanding. I really learned that each person is an individual with individual needs. I love taking care of a patient and the personal satisfaction it brings when you can make them feel more comfortable despite their situation. I learned that humor is great medicine.
Did you have a background in computers before you launched allnurses.com, or have you learned things along the way?
No computer background, I bought a Tandy computer from Radio Shack for college, I quickly found myself obsessed with computers and the software. Then I started playing around with the Internet, and was amazed that you could connect to people around the world. I was hooked. (I still am).
I read that you started allnurses.com as a hobby when you were in nursing school.
Yes, since the web was so new, and the search engines were still immature. It was difficult to find a good resource for nursing related information. You’d do a search for nursing, and you would get breastfeeding, or planting trees mixed in with professional nursing resources. I figured I would start to collect and organize all the professional nursing related websites into a directory and I called it WorldWide Nurse. Most of the nursing related resources online were colleges and a few organizations. As I tought myself more about web software and the internet, I installed a discussion forum and created several forums and continually added content and links etc…
What important contributions do websites like allnurses.com make to the profession?
I think that nursing websites and forums provide the nursing community with a wonderful communication medium, where nurses can interact with like minded people and share their nursing knowledge, concerns, joys and tribulatons of nursing. I like to think of it as social learning. There are tens of thousands of rich nursing discussions, and just by reading them, you gain many different perspectives from experienced nurses. Every day, I learn more and more from our intelligent members. Nursing students (our future nurses) also find allnurses.com an amazing learning tool. In fact, many nursing instructors have told me they include allnurses.com in their syllabus and recommended reading. I look at nursing websites as a catalyst that brings nurses together, the magic ingredient is not the website, its the nurses. When you get hundreds of thousands nurses communicating like never before, I’d say that makes a historic contribution to the profession.
What do you enjoy the most about your job at allnurses.com?
That is a tough question, there are so many things I like about my job, I could not ask for a better job! So I’ll list a few…
The daily satisfaction of seeing nurses helping nurses, and reading the feedback from members is truly satisfying. I love being surrounded by so many amazingly talented staff members who have been so influential and helpful. I love being self employed and the autonomy of making decisions as needed, I love the flexibility of my schedule, spending time with my family.
Tell me about “Nurse-zine”
“Nurse-zine” is the name of our free nursing email newsletter that I’ve put out for over 11 years and currently has 215,000 subscribers and goes out every 2 weeks. We highlight news, hot nursing topcis, nursing articles, announcements and more.
Tell me about your latest writing contest at allnurses.com
We are on our 5th article contest, all our members can participate, you can share a story about “Patients who have changed your life, good or bad”. I am blown away at the quality of the articles! If you got an hour or two, get yourself a big box of Kleenex and read through some of our Previous Article Contest Winners and other articles.
Look into your crystal ball and tell me how blogs and allnurses.com are going to impact the future of health care and the nursing profession.
Online publishing such as nursing blogs and forums are an essential part of our culture and it’s here to stay and it is surging. This is the medium of the future, where more and more nurses will get their information, continuing education, jobs etc…. Much of this is already taking place, but it will become the commonplace. Blogs and forums will continue to be the best place for current trends and informaton from real nurses. Blogs and forums will be common phrases that all nurses use in the daily jargon, not just the well informed nurses.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with my readers?
If you made it this far, thanks for reading my interview, I hope I didn’t bore you to sleep On a serious note, I hope all your readers take time to explore all the great online resources for nurses. There are so many useful blogs and forums out there to find. Utilize all the cool tools out there. Don’t be afraid of new things like twitter, RSS, social networks, friends list etc… An informed internet user can make you a wiser nurse
Thank you, Brian, for being my guest at Nurse Ratched’s Place. I hope that everyone logs onto allnurses.com to see what’s happening in the world of nursing.