Show Me Your Stethoscope: A Platform for Nurses to Connect, Collaborate, and Make a Difference
In 2015, Janie Harvey Garner, RN, encountered public criticism of a Miss America contestant and fellow nurse who delivered her monologue wearing scrubs and a “doctor’s stethoscope.” Feeling frustrated and misrepresented after hearing the comments minimizing nurses’ roles in healthcare delivery, Janie created the Show Me Your Stethoscope Facebook group to reinforce the essential role of nursing – effectively creating one of the largest nursing organizations in the United States.
“I wanted to show what nurses actually do, day in and day out. I shared the group with my friends, who shared the group with their friends – by the end of the night, the group had 10,000 likes. When I woke up, the group had 29,000 likes,” Janie said.
Since its inception as a Facebook group, Show Me Your Stethoscope has evolved into an online and community organization focused on advocacy, education, philanthropy, and community support for its more than 600,000 remote nurse and nurse advocate members. The organization also boasts 50 state chapters and several specialty interest groups – ssuch as groups focused on eliminating violence against nurses, support for nursing students, and ensuring patient safety – spearheaded entirely remotely by Show Me Your Stethoscope’s most dedicated members.
Within the closed Facebook community group, nurses are free to share their experiences and ask questions of their peers – and the group remains a trusted community platform for its members. Show Me Your Stethoscope maintains more than 400,000 active members each month, meaning two-thirds of the group’s members are actively posting, liking, commenting, and engaging with the content in Show Me Your Stethoscope Facebook group each month.
Since establishing Show Me Your Stethoscope, Janie and her team have kept a pulse on the issues most important to the group’s members, and they provide support for those issues whenever possible. Every initiative Show Me Your Stethoscope organizes is initiated in response to requests from the community members. For example, when a member posted about her daughters' school nurse having to purchase feminine hygiene products for students because the school could not provide them, the Show Me Your Stethoscope community rallied together to send the nurse supplies for her students. When a member posted from Bangladesh, where pediatric asthma patients were in desperate need of nebulizers, the community pooled resources to purchase several new nebulizers for the member’s local health center. After Hurricane Harvey struck Houston in 2017, Show Me Your Stethoscope had many dedicated members on the ground relaying what was needed at shelters via the Facebook group; members across the country sprung into action to raise money and improve conditions quickly and efficiently.
“Nurses are on the ground with patients who have a diverse range of challenges. At any given clinic or hospital, the nurses could share a combined 20 to 60 years of hands-on experience,” Janie shared. “Nurses use that accumulated knowledge, their critical thinking skills, and compassion to solve a wide range of patient and healthcare challenges.”
Janie’s experience in the Navy, as an executive director of a low-income housing project, and her current position as an electrophysiology nurse at the Department of Veterans Affairs in St. Louis, Mo., has prepared her to understand a wide variety of challenges that come with patient care.
Janie shared, “The best-case scenario for patients, and people who will become patients, is for nurses to have a place to talk without fearing judgement and backlash. That collaboration is what will help make the country healthier in the long run.”
To be part of Show Me Your Stethoscope, join the closed Facebook group here by clicking “Join Group”. To hear more from Janie and other inspiring nurse innovators, watch the “Changing Health through Nurse-Led Innovation” Facebook Live event with Johnson & Johnson and Show Me Your Stethoscope from earlier this month below.