Here are some of the places and posts that I think particularly show how social media and networks might be useful in medical education (and also some of the risks)
AnneMarie is one to follow. A leading SoME fan and medical academic helping to guide new generations of doctors. Thanks AMC.. some great scoops here with examples of how the technology can be a real and practical help. So many professionals are wary of social networks, but as a professional tool they are powerful!
Getting your 'voice' right when socially engaging is exactly the same as the medias' knowing your audience skills. Yes, it's difficult, when speaking to a wide community (B2C) to hit the right note for all. But if you do, the news is going to spread further and be accessed by more.
This is why putting resources into training professionals and organisations to think about how they use social media (and other outlets) is absolutely key.
In our training for health professionals we often use the phrase "Think of it this way: The social media community and media audiences are your patients - 'en masse'. You can get messages out using these channels quickly and across a very broad reach. This is where your patients, your audience for engagement are. You need to be here too."
Joe McCrea knows a thing or two about communicating at the sharp end. Here's his take on social media in the public sector... and that much-quoted phrase: "You are what you tweet". But what's crucial, from my perspective, are the statistics about who is using social media and for what. These are the figures you need to think about when you engage... This is your client base, your audience, they are your patient target groups and they're all on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. If you want to improve access and information, you must engage with social media.
What a fantastic post... I found myself nodding vigorously all the way through. Thank you Rob.
Last year I chaired an RCGP conference debate about doctors and the health sector using social media. I asked for a show of hands in the room of around 150 to indicate how many of the GP's used split personalities on Twitter - a different personal account ethos to their professional profile. More than half raised their hands.
There are understandable concerns about blurring the work-life boundaries for all of us, but perhaps none moreso than doctors and nurses? But your comment: "Over time I have moved on from being very focused on issues and facts, recognising these as being essential but not sufficient, and supplemented them with stories about patients and families. On occasions, I have been that patient, that family has been mine" is so very valuable. Surely there is no better way to ensure that our health system displays humanity in its care than for those who give the care to acknowledge that they are also patients, carers, family and learners?
If you have reasonable personal ethics, indicating your personal experiences to make a powerful point on social media channels shouldn't be a problem. If you like to swear, be rude or vindictive to others, have unsociable personal addictions and when you post, something inside you cringes... maybe that's a catalyst for you to consider some personal and professional reflection?
Thanks again Rob and David... keep up the great work!
Health Journalist, daughter of a man who died with Alzheimers, mother of two teenagers with the usual sugar addictions and sister to a nurse with an eating disorder.
There are still so many health professionals, especially doctors, who are wary of the lack of control, possible abuse or increase in vulnerability of patients using the online arena.
They're equally concerned about exposing themselves to professional criticism (or legal challenges), of a potentially piecemeal flow of good health information to patients and of breaking down the public/professional barriers in some cases.
But Sue's experience - echoed by many of us with a link to health and social media - shows that even the most vulnerable of individuals can benefit.
But responsible and positive use of #chat is just about human contact, humanity and the values of politeness, being responsible, respectful and honest that surely, we should all be able to manage relatively well?
Patients, especially vulnerable or hard-to-reach individuals need these avenues of communication to be open. Thought has to be put into how to ensure they do not expose themselves too much (Your thoughts, Sue or David?), but social media is here to stay and its great, swift, cost-effective and user-friendly tool. Why shouldn't it be for people who really help and support, rather than just celebrity tittle tattle?
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