Reaching Online Nurse Communities: The Heart of the Conversation


by Russ Ward (@russcward)

Earlier today, we tweeted about an article from a 2006 issue of Businessweek entitled “Big Pharma’s Nurse Will See You Now and recommended that our readers check out the comments.

One response comes from a patient with Multiple Sclerosis named “Steph, who appears to be grateful for the education and compliance monitoring she received from a nurse specializing in Rebif, a drug used to treat MS. “Steph emphasizes that the choice to take Rebif was entirely her own, and thanks the Rebif company for the service. Another reader named “Karen adds that the service is well-suited to nurses (rather than pharmacists, as another reader suggested) because the patients require their “personal touch. Finally, “Nancy continues the positive conversation about nurse-pharma collaborations by agreeing that patients need help with compliance from well-informed nurses.

So what does this all mean?

For one thing, a lot of the readers commenting on the article claim to be nurses. A recent study by Nicholson Kovac shows that 87% of the 292 nurses surveyed use the Internet for both business and pleasure. 83% of the nurses that go online are viewing healthcare-related information, and 77% use or have visited Facebook.

As weve observed, nurses not only browse, they talk. And a lot of the time, they talk to each other. The popular online community has over 400,000 members comprised of nurses and nursing students. They share news and information with each other, discuss hot topics, share advice, and recommend products to each other. And there are others: Nursinglink, which is owned by Monster, makes nursing fun with quizzes, video, contests, and games. NurseConnect has over 14,000 nurses rating hospitals, reading articles and blogs, and learning about top-rated nursing programs to continue their education. Theres even an article explaining how the hospital review program on NurseConnect has become a tremendous resource for travel nurses.

It is imperative for pharma marketers to engage these nurse communities, where the medications they administer are a big part of their conversations. Heres your nurse community checklist:

  1. Nurses are a vital and accessible source of information for their patients. Are you arming nurses with the tools and information to help them do their jobs?
  2. Nurse communities are active. Are you constantly supplying them with fresh and relevant information?
  3. Nurses are proud to deliver the “human touch that distinguishes them from doctors. How human is your brand?
  4. Nurse communities dont just talk about nursing. Does your drug have a story to tell? Does your brand go beyond treating disease? Inspire them. Make them laugh. Give them something to talk about.

What are your current social network practices, and how can you use these practices to reach nurse communities?



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