Using social media as a professional can be tricky to navigate. On one hand, social media offers a platform to professionally network, promote services and products, and spread information. However, it can also backfire and create conflict.
The newer generation of healthcare professionals are tech savvy, which means their digital footprint is larger and more prolific compared to others who are already in the workforce. There are many healthcare influencers, such as Sandra Lee, who is more commonly known as Dr. Pimple Popper, that engage with thousands, if not millions, of people. What benefits can social media provide for you, and how can you safely use it?
Using social media as a healthcare professional offer you a bigger audience and a platform to spread information, raise awareness, and advocate for underserved populations. Healthcare professionals can inform the general population of things like common symptoms for diseases or over-the-counter measures for relief. Healthcare professionals can also advocate for populations that are at risk or lack the resources needed for medical care.
Keep Patient Confidentiality
One thing healthcare practitioners should always keep in mind, however, is maintaining patients’ confidentiality. While it can be helpful to share information, make sure to respect patients’ privacy. Don’t give out information that can be used to identify patients or their family, and try to be as broad and vague as possible.
In 2021, one nurse was fired after posting pictures of a baby with a birth defect. While the information could have introduce a new disease to new and expecting mothers, sharing the picture of the baby violated HIPAA guidelines and cost the nurse her job.
Find Other Professionals
Using social media can be a boon for your professional life. You can connect with people all over the world. There are several social media groups filled with professionals that can offer insight, advice, and mentorship. Social media can be a resource for your career development.
You can also use social media to stay updated on new research and technology released by peers or the industry. Nowadays, it is common practice for information to be released via social media, and you can join the conversation through different social media platforms.
Even though your social media content might be posted on your free time, it can still affect your professional life. For instance, one nurse landed in hot water after one of her videos went against the facility’s COVID-19 protocols. Keep in mind that whatever you post publicly can be found by your employer.
Use Social Media Wisely
Practically everybody is on social media these days, and quite a few people have had their social media usage impact their professional life. Social media can benefit your career, but it depends on how you use and how you portray yourself. Make sure to never share information that can identify a patient, a patient’s family, or your coworkers and follow your workplace’s social media policies.
There are many healthcare professional influencers that share information in a safe way. For instance, Nurse Blake, @nurse.blake on Instagram, shares satirical posts about his life as a nurse. If you’re unsure of whether you should post something or not, err on the side of caution and leave it in your drafts. Check out other resources on how you can use social media as a healthcare professional, such as this article from Berxi or register for our class, The Technologist’s Toolbox 2.0, which has a segment on using social media as a healthcare professional.
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