has launched a new survey of vet nurses designed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of social media as a professional tool, and what more could be done to help the profession collaborate more effectively.

Probably the two most popular social media platforms for veterinary nurses in the UK are Facebook (and its various veterinary groups) and

Facebook has the advantage that so many people use it to share photographs with family and friends, so they are already on the site and it is only a very short hop over to participate in a veterinary discussion group. That makes it an excellent way to get a broad opinion on almost any subject. 

But, and it is a very big 'but', Facebook was never designed to be a platform for sharing clinical information or discussing cases. So, for example, you cannot see the professional qualifications of anyone contributing to the discussion unless they happen also to be your 'friend', so it can be hard to tell whether they have any idea what they're talking about, or are, in fact, the leading light. 

There are various other aspects of Facebook that are problematic when it comes to clinical discussions, including the difficulty in referring back to useful information shared and the way in which 'me too' replies can drown out good quality information. 

The survey aims to find out how much of a problem vet nurses think these things are, whether certain groups within the profession could be better served by social media - for example those that may find it daunting asking for help in an online group, and what features nurses would like to invest in.

The survey can be completed anonymously, but if you give your name at the end, you'll be entered into a draw for a case of champagne (or equivalent). 

Take part here: 

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