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Benefits of Using Social Media


My Experience with Social Media

Social media has become an increasingly efficient and wide-ranging instrument for health care givers courtesy of advanced technology in our community and easy access to different digital means of communication. Since I joined social media, I have gained a lot especially in regard to my profession. Social media platforms have enabled me to create and join communities which have remained instrumental when it comes to professional education and networking, social learning, organizational promotion, patient education, and promotion of public health programs. I have been able to share information on health promotion, participate in health care policy debates and interact with patients and general public. Aside from these benefits, there have also been moments where these platforms have been misused. I have seen situations where patients’ privacy has been breached. Due to lack of regulation, social media has also been used as a platform to post poor quality health information which is unreferenced, informal and incomplete.

Social Media Platforms I’ve Used

Examples of social media platforms I have used include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Blog
  • RSS feeds and discussion groups 

What I Do in Each Platform Listed

Facebook

With its ability to leave both private and public messages, post photos, upload videos, I use Facebook to connect with individuals from different levels. I use it to bridge information gap between patients and nurses.

Twitter

I use Twitter to connect with people especially during crises due to its ability to offer popular, quick and real-time means of communication. I use this platform to answer emergency questions and provide critical assistance to public.

YouTube

I use this platform to video cast patient education videos. The audio and visual feature of this platform has a deep effect on the viewer’s understanding of medical concerns, health care, surgical processes among other treatments.

RSS feeds and discussion groups

Following and connecting with right discussion groups and social media feeds on platforms like LinkedIn and Google + has always enabled me to get latest nursing news. I use them to connect with other professionals relating to my field. We share ideas and tips on how to manage stress in the workplace and how to relate with patients.

Benefits of Using Social Media

One of the benefits of using social media relates to professional development. Social media is a vital platform that enables nurses to develop professionally (Chan & Leung, 2018). It helps one to connect with individuals of same profession. Besides meeting one’s networking needs, social media acts as a fundamental tool for sharing knowledge and assist one to connect with pundits in various fields. It offers a ground for exchange of opinions and ideas on different works and developments relating to the industry.

Social media acts as a ground for communication with patients, inform them on different health plans, promote health care products and offer basic healthcare counseling and in turn get instant feedback from the public. It also allows nurse to follow-up or monitor the situations of patients or ex-patients suffering from chronic illnesses on regular basis (Chan & Leung, 2018).

Challenges of Using Social Media

The main problem with using social media especially in regard learning and sharing information is lack of reliability and quality. Writers of health information found on various social media platforms are usually unknown. If known, very little information identifies them. Additionally, majority of the information is informal, incomplete and unreferenced (Ventola, 2014). While evidence-based care discourages anecdotal information, social media encourages them. Many nurses often rely on such reports for the purpose of collective health care knowledge.

The other challenge relates to limitations about holistic information. Monitoring the condition of a patient or offering health care advice online has its own problems (Ventola, 2014). This is because the presented information may not be a comprehensive representation of the patient’s situation. This might result to misdiagnosis; hence it’s advisable to have a boundary when it comes to such cases.

My Organization and Social Media Policy

In my workplace we have a policy regarding use of social media. We’re allowed to use social media. However, that freedom comes with massive responsibility. We are required to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of patients at all times. Going against this rule by posting photos and videos of identified or unidentified patients or even describing their conditions can be detrimental to one’s career. We are also required to conduct ourselves in a manner which demonstrates positive image to our place of work. Inappropriate use of any social media platform can result to disciplinary action. The action can adversely affect one’s career or even the practice license.

References

Chan, W., & Leung, A. (2018). Use of Social Network Sites for Communication Among Health Professionals: Systematic Review. Journal Of Medical Internet Research20(3), e117. doi: 10.2196/jmir.8382

Ventola, C. (2014). Social Media and Health Care Professionals: Benefits, Risks, and Best Practices. Pharmacy & Therapeutics39(7), 491-499. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103576/

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