Our top 10 tips for using social media as a healthcare professional
Sick of hearing about GDPR? We feel your pain. However, while we’re on the topic of the sharing and distribution of personal information online, we all need to bear in mind that everything we do or say on the internet leaves a virtual footprint.
In this light, each tweet, every comment we leave on a Facebook photograph, and every status update, can remain in the public eye indefinitely. Whether you decide to identify as a Newcross Healthcare employee publicly on your social media profiles or not, you are still expected to adhere to our social media policy.
To break it down, we’ve compiled our top ten tips of how to use social media as a healthcare professional, advising you on how to maintain high standards of conduct, while making the most of all that social media channels have to offer…
- Think twice
You should use think carefully before engaging in any communications. If you are ever in doubt about whether to post something or not – then it is probably best to simply leave it.
- Show respect to all
You should be respectful of Newcross and your fellow employees. Derogatory comments are always wrong and will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Writing a scathing post or article about a business associate will never end well, and will likely land you in trouble.
- Add value
Post and share content that is helpful, informative and of interest to yourself and other Newcross employees. This may include articles and stories from the Newcross website, for instance.
- Be mindful that you are, at all times, a Newcross employee
The content you post, share and engage with, reflects directly on you as a Newcross employee. Do not engage in any activities that could reflect poorly on either yourself or the business.
- Network with like-minded people
Social media is a powerful tool for meeting new professionals with similar interests and backgrounds. Making a LinkedIn profile allowing you to connect with thousands of healthcare professionals, is a good way of finding work and meeting new people. You can also use LinkedIn to evidence your skillset.
While Newcross have a Bring Your Own Device policy, it is important to make wise judgments about when it is appropriate to use your phone. Phones should not be in use when in the bedroom of a service user, for example. You may, however, use your phone to sign off your time sheet at the end of a shift using the Healthforcego app.
- Post information that could harm or damage your professional reputation.
We’ve all made the classic mistake of oversharing personal information at some point in our lives… Whilst it may not be a crime to do so, it is still worth considering: does the whole world really need to know? Oversharing inappropriate material on social media can seriously inhibit your employability. References to illegal drugs, sexual posts, incriminating or embarrassing photos or videos and politically charged attacks are all examples of what not to showcase on your social media accounts.
- Write about an actual patient story or case.
You must ensure that you do not breach the Newcross confidentiality policy at all costs. Keep identifying details about all cases to yourself. Under no circumstances is talking about your patients online appropriate. Not only would it be insensitive to do so - but it is also against the law. Even if names are not present in posts, if any details are recognisable - you’re in violation. You can face civil and criminal penalties via the HIPAA Privacy Rule, plus find yourself in license trouble if you break this rule.
- Vent about professional gripes
Attacking your competitors or peers in an obnoxious or vulgar manner on social media platforms is not the way to go about solving your work-related issues. For better coping-mechanisms to tackle everyday stress, you can read our guide here.
- Do not add patients or service users on Facebook
While you may have a wonderful relationship with those you are caring for, it is important to consider what is and what is not appropriate. Communication regarding patient care should be undertaken via the appropriate channels. Employers should be able to monitor the communication that takes place, as there are many risks associated with communication not being recorded on a service user’s case file.