Over the years, it has been no secret that I think of dermatology nurses as some of my most valued friends and colleagues. This is in part because I think of you as a group of dynamic, motivated, enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about the health of both our patients and ourselves. Dermatology nurses and readers of the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association are likely engaged in ongoing conversations with patients about sun safety. With this in mind, I am asking you to become an active participant in the recently launched initiative called #SunSafeSelfie. This is a yearlong program developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This new initiative is designed to take advantage of the benefits of social media to promote sun safety. Social media is a great tool to share messaging about sun safe practices, in part due to the everyday use by users, having a wide reach, and faithfulness of its users. The idea behind this campaign is relatively simple: Just photograph yourself using sun protection, post the photo on social media with #SunSafeSelfie, and practice what you post.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking individuals and organizations to become involved and promote this initiative. This engagement and participation are something dermatology nurses would be great at doing! I think of dermatology nurses as having a notable influence. I am hoping that, over the next year, many of you will be able to participate in this program, whether by distributing the flyer in your clinic or to your patients or by creating programs in your community or setting that help promote the initiative. Perhaps, you could host a #SunSafeSelfie photo booth at an upcoming community event or conference? Maybe give a small presentation at your institution about the initiative and invite your colleagues to become involved? What about a small competition at your office to see who can get the best #SunSafeSelfie?
Please look at www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/SunSafeSelfie for more information. I’d love to see dermatology nurses support this effort to reduce skin cancer rates by promoting sun safe practices. To help get you started, I have included samples of the #SunSafeSelfie flyer (Figure 1) and #SunSafeSelfie shareable social graphics in a variety of sizes to use on social media (Figures 2–4). Join me in helping to continue the conversations we have with patients in the broader context on social media. It is my hope that you will spread the word not only to your patients and coworkers but also to your community and to your family and friends. Could there be a community organization you are associated with that might need this information, too?
For all my excitement about this campaign, are there others that you have been involved with that have garnered good attention to the work we do as dermatology nurses? Do you have any good stories to share about your experiences with the dermatology community through social media? Maybe you are part of other initiatives that we, as Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association readers, need to know about. Perhaps, there are other clinical or patient topics on social media that we need to know about. I invite you to share your experiences with us; I would love to share some of the social media efforts dermatology nurses are engaged in. Would you share your strategy and tips for online communication with other dermatology nurses?
Personally, I am going to try to make a much better effort at engaging in consistent use of protective eyewear. Pledging this to all of you is challenging because I have yet to make this an everyday practice. I have become so accustomed to wearing sunscreen and sun-protective clothing on a regular basis but have yet to build the strong habit of wearing sunglasses. So, I am hoping that, much like announcing my New Year’s resolutions out loud, committing to engaging in this new behavior will help hold me accountable and responsible. Look for my #SunSafeSelfies on Twitter to see how I am doing throughout the year! If you post your #SunSafeSelfies, be sure to tag me in the tweet @angelaborger.
As always, I am looking forward to hearing from you,
Angela L. Borger
Editor in Chief
E-mail: [email protected]