This is Why Social Media In Healthcare is Important & Dangerous At the Same Time

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As nurses, we put our entire hearts and minds into giving the best care to patients that we can. So how does social media in healthcare hurt or help that?

It’s both. There are dangers and benefits at the same time. It’s basically a teenage monster.


Social Media Healthcare Stories: Amanda Trujillo

If there is one thing that the Amanda Trujillo story has done, it’s proven that nurses combined with social media are a force to be reckoned with. Nurses have heard Amanda’s story and it reminds us of so many of our own stories. And we’re mad about it.

We’re mad because we are tired of not being treated as valuable team members. We’re mad because these sort of issues prevent patients from getting the best healthcare with the best patient education. We’re mad because we are educated and trained professionals who should be allowed to practice to full extent of our license without the fear of retaliation. We’re mad because one of our teammates in the patient care ball field was penalized by an unfair umpire and no one is holding them accountable.

Nurse Bloggers Are Advocates

We’re asking questions and they aren’t being answered. Nurse bloggers and tweeters are using their social media presence to advocate for nurses and patients and desperately seeking accountability from the likes of the Arizona Nurses Association, and the Arizona Board of Nursing.

But they are not responding appropriately.

If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide. You wouldn’t be avoiding the criticism and choosing to not respond to the questions you are being asked on facebook and twitter. Disabling your comments and making statements about the purpose of your Facebook wall is arrogant and disrespectful to those of us who want you to acknowledge, apologize, and improve.

Social Media is a Powerful Tool

Social media is a powerful tool that the public and professionals alike have embraced. It is not going away and healthcare continues to shy from that amazing power it has available. Just like any great power, with it comes responsibility and this power can be used for good or evil.

The Social Media Teenager

Social media is sort of like a confused teenager at this point. Are you going to create a teenage angel or teenage monster?

Just like any juvenile, there are potentials for success and failures. There are potentials for attention seeking behaviors in either the positive or negative light. Depending on the feedback they get, will often determine the type of behavior they express.

Our healthcare social media teenager has the potential to go in one of many directions right now.

There is such huge potential that exists. There is such a great power and vigor that could be molded and manipulated. You see, there’s something amazing and wonderful hidden. It’s waiting to be guided and lead in the right direction to make a positive impact on the world. You can see a slight glimmer of greatness. A glint of hope and excitement.

You can see it. It’s in there. It could be something beautiful for you and your healthcare organization.

But social media scares you and your hospital.

Social Media can do Bad Things

Social media has the potential to do very very bad things to you and your livelihood. So instead of trying to mold a help your social media teenager grow, you lock them up in a closet. You put them in social prison. You tell them not to speak, even when spoken to. You take away their confidence and steal the joy out of their existence and their purpose. You make them bitter and jaded. You make them question everything they hold dear and it starts to eat at social media.

You do this by being a healthcare organization that doesn’t respond to public criticisms via social media. You don’t answer or acknowledge tweets directly. You choose not to engage your customers, your patients, or your employees.

Social Media Responds

twitter-fight Social media doesn’t like this.

Social media is now transforming.

It’s turning against you.

You tried to snub out its bright beautiful light in a social prison and it’s pretty upset about that.

So What Now?

We’ll now you’ve gotten yourself a hardened social media criminal.

You tried to keep social media locked up when they had not committed any crimes. You tried to put out it’s light because you didn’t know how to handle the fire. You tried to silence the masses with your own silence and you are soon going to find out that it’s the worse thing you could have possibly done.

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In your efforts to handle social media by practicing avoidance and refusing to engage, you’ve given it’ all the ammunition it needs to be your downfall. You’ve pissed social media off and it and it wants revenge.

You Could Have Been a Social Media Contender

You had the potential to create a beautiful thing with your social media presence. You could have been a real advocate for patients, healthcare, and human rights. You could have used social media as a tool for good. You could have been a social media contender.

But you choose to avoid it. You tried to put out its light. You thought you knew this game of public relations, but you were wrong.

Don’t Ignore Social Media In Healthcare

Healthcare organizations need to pay attention to social media and respond appropriately.

If they refuse to directly acknowledge any tweets, messages or comments, it basically stamps a guilty verdict right across their foreheads. If an organization wants to be honest and transparent, they would have nothing to hide and no reason to not respond to all social media outreaches they receive.

There are proper standards for social media in healthcare. I’ll take a moment to outline just a few pointers.

Dos and Don’ts of Healthcare Social Media Healthcare

  • You don’t ignore your social media criticisms.
  • You don’t censor your social media profiles at the first hint of questions to your organization.
  • You do embrace dialogue and feedback.
  • You do engage your customers, your audience, your patients, and our employees.
  • And you certainly don’t ignore passionate and active nurse bloggers and advocates.

There are also about a billion and one websites that can give you some help in this area. And here are a few books that you might want to pick up from Amazon as well:

More on Amanda Trujillo: Every Nurse’s Fight

Find out more about Amanda Trujillo. This rabbit hole is deep and we’re pretty sure we’ve only just stepped inside the foyer.


twitter ufc fight image: memeburn

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2 thoughts on “This is Why Social Media In Healthcare is Important & Dangerous At the Same Time”

  1. Great post – love the comparison to teenager! Very true as I deal with my teen, being a family of early adopters and working with SM + software in my career. Will our heads blow off or will we become more knowledgeable?

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