Using social media to generate and collect primary data: the #ShowsWorkplaceCompassion Twitter research campaign


  • W. Clyne
  • S. Pezaro
  • K. Deeny
  • R. Kneafsey


Background: Compassionate care for patients is a central tent of healthcare. The need for compassion towards healthcare staff in the workplace is increasingly understood. However, we don’t currently know how healthcare staff understand and characterise compassion towards themselves rather than patients. Methods: We utilised social media for the generation and collection of primary data regarding the characteristics of workplace compassion for healthcare staff. Participants were self-selecting users of Twitter. Between 21 April - 21 May 2016, participants were asked to contribute their views about what activities, actions, policies, philosophies, and/or approaches demonstrate workplace compassion in healthcare using the hashtag #ShowsWorkplaceCompassion. All tweets including the research hashtag '#ShowsWorkplaceCompassion’ were extracted from Twitter and studied using content analysis. Data concerning the frequency, nature, origin and location of online engagement with the research campaign were collected using Bitly and Symplur software. Results: Of 251 statements coded, 38% (n=95) concerned Leadership and Management, 30% (n=74) Values and Culture, 17% (n=44) Personalised Policies and Procedures, and 15% (n=38) Activities and Actions. Small acts of kindness, an embedded organisational culture of caring for one another, recognition of the emotional and physical impact of work, feeling valued, a sense of common purpose within a team, and speaking openly in order to learn from mistakes, characterised compassion towards healthcare staff in the workplace. Conclusions: This study presents a new and innovative research approach using Twitter to both recruit participants and collect primary data. The utility and value of this approach is discussed.





Poster presentations