This Doctor Was Criticized On Instagram And Her Clap Back Was Too Real
By Chaunie Brusie
I have to admit that I have often thought of social media as a frivolous way to pass the time, a nice go-to when I can't sleep, a meaningless scroll when I am bored.
But as more and more healthcare providers and professionals are utilizing social media and growing platforms that reach thousands of people, I realized something: social media is an important part of our generation's health. Why? Because nurses and other medical professionals on social media are influencing how millions of others see health care as an integral and everyday part of their lives.
Why Social Media Matters for Public Health
Think about it this way: what did the world of medicine used to mean in generations past? It meant a degree of separation from the “white coats” and the regular folks; a reliance on medical authority “or else” and overall, a separation of the two worlds. But now, thanks to social media and the growing number of medical and health professionals who are sharing their lives with the world, the role of public health is also shifting.
Every time Nurse Blake posts a funny meme, a future nurse is empowered to know they are not alone and to keep the course in nursing school.
When @nurseabnormalities shares about the disease that is taking her mother, she is educating all 90.4K of her followers about Alzheimer's and how it affects her personally as a daughter and a medical care professional.
And when a floor nurse posts about fitting in a workout during her lunch break, she is inspiring both nurses and patients alike to live a healthier life.
Instead of those of us who are, have been, or will be patients viewing care providers as people living in completely separate worlds from us, social media has helped bridge the gap and brought healthcare into our everyday lives. That nurse posting about her busy day at the clinic might just remind you to schedule that Pap smear you’ve been putting off or that nurse sharing her tough day losing a patient to cancer might remind you to schedule that skin check you’ve been dreading. It might sound dramatic, but the truth is, when social media and healthcare collide, lives can be saved.
Empowering Healthcare Influencers
Recently, Danielle Jones, an OB/GYN and a mother of four young kids, including a newborn, shared a series of Instagram stories on her page @mamadoctorjones discussing how she has been criticized for sharing so much about her life and family as a medical care provider in such a public way. She shares everything from sleepy videos in the dark where she’s waiting out a baby in the call room to answers about how she outsources housecleaning to a serious of commonly-asked medical questions and apparently, to some people, that’s concerning.
“Don’t you realize that everyone can see what you’re putting out there?” one person asked.
The insinuation was, of course, that Jones was somehow “less” of a professional for sharing so openly or that serving as a social media influencer might somehow detract from her stance as a medical professional.
On the contrary, however, Jones hit back with a reply that being aware that what she was putting out in the world was so public was exactly the point. In her mind, sharing about her life as a mother and a doctor through social media was essentially an extension of her work in medicine, from educating patients to answering questions to inspiring other women in the healthcare field with the reality of being a working mom.
I found Jones’ reply so refreshing, because not only did she own her own life and platform in a pretty boss way (don’t even get me started on how no one questions male healthcare professionals sharing “too much”), but because she’s proving that the “silliness” of social media isn’t actually so silly after all.
Maybe your mom’s doctor wouldn’t have realized the connection that Instagram stories could provide to her patients, but today’s doctors definitely do. Her willingness to discuss things like the HPV vaccine or how drinking coffee during pregnancy is really OK (no, really) or the importance of vaccines can reach people in a way that transcends a typical office setting. Maybe the woman scrolling doesn’t have access to insurance right now, but seeing a post from Dr. Jones helps empower her to remember to get that test or check-up when she is able. Put simply, Jones is part of a new generation of medical professionals who are harnessing the power of social media in a different way: as part of their jobs to educate and serve their patients.
Of course, not every nurse or NP or doctor has to be on social and if you’re content just doing your thing at work and coming home, then that’s great, too. But if you’re a nurse out there on social media wondering if what you’re doing is worthwhile or if you’re wasting your time by hashtagging and filming and sharing personal moments from your life, allow us to cheer you on.
You’re a nurse and serving, helping, inspiring, and educating is what you do best and social media is just one way you can do that to reach even more people. So, if social is your thing, keep on doing it — because you never know who is watching.
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