Without a doubt, the second decade of the twenty first century is all about development in the online world and that growth has also been reflected in the medical field. If you’re a doctor, nurse, medical intern, student in medicine, or even working in a paramedical profession, you, too, can benefit from all the perks social media has to offer – and there are numerous ways to do that. Some of the more conservative professionals out there might fail to see how successful online networking can come to positively impact their income level and career. What they could be missing out on is more than just the opportunity to build new contacts. Social media, in all its current forms, is also developing new tools, which can help health care professionals stay on top of their game.
What platforms to use?
When it comes to actively promoting oneself as a health professional, in order to further one’s career, social media is best used through its established venues. It’s not just about where you build your profile, it’s also about how you use it. Here are our recommendations for best practice usage of general social networking websites.
- Facebook: Most major hospitals in the United States now have Facebook pages. These can be used to check out new employment opportunities, find relevant contacts within a particular institution, or simply read up on updates at that hospital. Perhaps the hospital or clinic you are following has only recently purchased a piece of equipment you are interested in. It’s important to stay in the loop about such events, if you want to climb to the top of the medical career ladder.
- LinkedIn: The world’s largest professional social network is very well represented, when it comes to the medical field. According to the latest estimates, there are some 1.5 million medical professionals with profiles on LinkedIn. Almost 130,000 are medical practices from the United States, over 320,000 work in a hospital or other health care venue, and more than 200,000 work in the pharmaceutics industry. There are also numerous members active in the device production industry, wellness, fitness, alternative medicine – and so on. Essentially, if there is any particular field of medicine you need to build contacts in, then LinkedIn is the place to be. The bonus is that you can identify new contacts and liaise with them immediately.
- Twitter: This platform can also be used for new connections, but the best thing to it is that it allows you to stay updated on all kinds of news from the field. From research and development, to career changes at top level, it’s all being micro-blogged and hashtagged over on Twitter. Additionally, of late, this platform has also started being used as an educational resources, as some hospitals tweet each step taken during surgery.
Social networking for doctors
At least one dedicated social network for physicians exists out there. It is called Sermo and comes with tailored functions for health care professionals. Sermo is entirely private and confidential. It requires user identity verification and provides a great forum where doctors can consult with one another, discuss news in the field, and share topical info.
How much do you care about the patients?
One great way to use social media, when you work in health care, is to keep your patients constantly updated of your goings-on. Some medical facilities and individual doctors now use Facebook and Twitter to connect directly with their patients. This method makes it easier for the patients to keep track of their appointments, receive important reminders and notifications, as well as to be informed of their doctors’ schedules.