Aug 6th Chat – What have @NPRscottSimon’s Tweets Taught us as Healthcare Leaders


Post by Lisa Fields

**UPDATE – A visual Transcript of this chat is available here.


  • T1: What has @nprscottsion’s Tweets taught you as a Healthcare Leader?
  • T2: As Healthcare Leaders if you see Tweets coming from a patient or caregiver would you ever tweet education and/or resources? (Ex. If you see Tweets about pain is it appropriate to share a Palliative Care Consult as an option?)
  • T3: As more Patients/Caregivers tweet from Hospital rooms what suggestions would you include in your social media strategic plans?

@NPRscottsimon Tweets, those 140 characters, have given us beauty, tender moments, laughter and an intimate view of an amazing lady who Mr. Simon was fond to boast was his mother. Scott Simon is not the first person to tweet about the death of a loved one but he might be the first person to Live tweet an ICU experience, death and the pain of grieving in a continuous flow.

The outpouring of support and admiration for Mr. Simon has been tremendous. These tributes have been shared in a variety of ways but the universal theme expressed over and over again is thank you. Thank you for sharing your mother with us. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. Thank you for reminding me to call my dad and tell him I love him.

Mr. Simon’s tweets about his mother, in her final days, also helped so many understand that meaningful communication could be achieved with only 140 characters. The next time someone tells you that twitter is shallow and it’s only about where someone had a cup of coffee remind them of @nprscottsimon. My tweet seemed to resonate with people because it was re-tweeted over and over again.

If there were a Pulitzer for Twitter, surely it would be Scott Simon’s Annie45s which occurred at the end of the NPR’s post by Scott Simon on Sharing his Mother’s Final Moments on Twitter. John Moline also shared his thoughts at the end of the same NPR Blog post:

This is an example of what Twitter and all “social media” could, and perhaps should, be. A true window into another human beings experience and emotions, rather than “I’m eating a hamburger now

I began following Mr. Simon’s tweets on July 23, 2013.

I began to follow his tweets regularly. I’m a Scott Simon fan and I’ve been a regular community members and guest moderator for several tweet chats focusing on the end of life and I’ve had the honor of moderating the TEDMED Great Challenges: Coming to Grips with End-of-life care.

My curiosity was peeked; I had so many questions that were not be answered. There were times when I wanted to tweet advice, council and support but I didn’t know this gentleman. It didn’t appear to me that he was asking for guidance~ he was simply reporting his feelings and observations.

Mr. Simon gave us such a candid view of what life is like for those whose family members are staying with them in ICU.  Clearly ICU is designed solely for patients. His tweets gave us a very clear picture of this reality.

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I was struck by how many times Mr. Simon and his Mother specifically mentioned the ICU Nurses.

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Mr. Simon also mentioned the doctors and other staff who serve in ICU.

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It was difficult to see the Tweets that shared the pain his Mother was experiencing.

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As Healthcare Leaders, death is just one of the challenges that comes with the calling. It’s true that our community does not just consist of physicians, nurses, hospice and palliative care professionals but I think it’s our duty to help when we can.

I know I was personally and professionally moved by Mr. Simon’s tweets. I look forward to tweeting with you as we explore the lessons learned from Mr. Simon.

Source Material

  1. NPR host Scott Simon tweets his mother’s dying days: ‪@mattdpearce‬,0,5644002.htmlstory
  2. Scott Simon On Sharing His Mother’s Final Moments On Twitter NPR Staff:
  3. On Twitter, Scott Simon’s Long Goodbye To His Mother:  @acarvin
  4. NPR journo tweets mother’s final days: @JoanneKenen
  5. Tweeting Death Meghah O’Rourke: @MEGHANOR

  6. Goodbyes and Grief in Real Time Brian Stelter:


Image Source



  1. Lisa, this is so moving and it helped me feel connected to others who are grieving the loss of a loved one. When my beloved mother lay dying in hospice the only comfort I got was being able to write about it on my blog. I took this picture holding her hand a few days before she died and wrote this piece

  2. […] and honestly about grieving and I am so grateful for her honesty. I also encourage you to read this powerful snapshot of a recent Twitter chat on what Simon Scott’s tweets at his dying mother’s […]

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