Don’t Lose Your Career Over a Bad Social Media Decision

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PMY 457: Don't Lose Your Career Over a Bad Social Media Decision

Session 457

Marketing yourself as a physician is going to be a huge part of our lives in today’s day and age. But sometimes, that can go awry. Today, I talk about what premeds, medical students, residents, doctors, and pretty much anyone in the medical care field should be thinking of before posting something online or on social media.

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Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:31] Think Before You Post

'Before you post you better think about what it is you're posting.'Click To Tweet

Everyone needs to have a social media following. To be a physician in today’s day and age requires putting out information online. Whether it’s a blog, on social media, on YouTube, it helps to show your prospective patients who you are as a person, what you believe, your tactics, your tricks, and everything else.

And that happened just this weekend (as I’m recording this past weekend) with a popular Instagram and Tiktok influencer online in the healthcare space. She made a video out of very poor taste directed to the people that she is entrusted with taking care of. And the internet found out and the internet acted. And as of this morning, as I’m recording this, she no longer has a job. Now, I hope she can get another job somewhere.

'The one topic that is off-limits for you are your patients. Never, ever make fun of patients.'Click To Tweet

I hope that she can continue to practice in a field where she trained for many years to get to this point. And I hope she learned the type of content that she created, at least in that one post that missed the mark big time.

There was a student many months ago, who was posting on TikTok talking about patients in a negative way. It wasn’t horrible, but it was negative. I messaged him privately that he may want to take this down because of how he was describing patients.

[03:36] Building Patient’s Trust

'We, as healthcare providers, are meant to build trust and build a relationship with patients so that they come to us when they need us.'Click To Tweet

Patients share very private information that they need to share with us so that we can do our job as healthcare professionals, and diagnose them and treat them. And they believe us and know that we have their best intentions at heart so that they will actually do what we recommend.

We need them to understand that what we do is for their best interests. And that’s what we all strive for in the healthcare field. When we prescribe something, when we operate and do procedures, we are doing things because we believe that it will help the patient.

[04:33] Bridging the Gap Between Healthcare Professionals and Patients

Right now in today’s day and age, with everything going on with the pandemic and climate change, we have too many people out there who deny science. They think that as physicians, we get kickbacks from the vaccine industry. And that we are getting all this money from the pharmaceutical industry to push drugs on people.

“There's already a big level of distrust out in the community, especially among the minority populations, the disadvantaged populations, the marginalized populations.”Click To Tweet

These people have been literally taken advantage of by healthcare professionals over the years. And it’s not that long ago that this happened. And there’s a lot of distrust out there, rightfully so amongst certain populations.

We are trying as hard as we can to build that trust back up. When people go out on social media and joke about patients and stereotype specific marginalized patients, all you do is continue to drive a wedge between healthcare professionals and patients.

[05:52] Social Media Following Is Not Worth the Divide

If you’re going to make our job harder, your job harder, then most people aren’t going to want you in this field. And that is, unfortunately, what happened to this person today. The place where she worked posted a post on Instagram saying that the person is no longer employed by that clinic. She lost her job over a 20-second video that happened to go viral for the wrong reason. 

'Patients should never be the butt of the joke.'Click To Tweet

At the very least, if I see that you are making jokes about patients on social media, I will message you. At the very worst, I will report you. I’ve done that before. There are some people out there who don’t know the line they’re crossing, and are portraying physical violence towards patients in their videos. In fact, I’ve reported a medical student I reported to their school and that person had some disciplinary actions taken place because of it. 

When I believe that the good of our field as a healthcare professional is going to be hurt by what you think is a funny post on TikTok or Instagram or Twitter, chasing clout, likes, or followers is not worth more divide between patients and healthcare professionals.

Finally, as you are out there building your social media brand, remember that humor is amazing. But making fun of patients and making patients the butt of your jokes is always the wrong move.


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