Katherine Timms, Head of Policy and Standards, provides advice on how professionals can use social media appropriately during COVID-19
Social media has proven itself to be an excellent tool in modern healthcare provision. It provides opportunities for colleagues to keep in touch and share information promptly during busy working days, ensuring safe and effective delivery of care. It can provide opportunities for isolated professionals (whether by location or area) to keep in touch and learn from each other; providing a helpful means of undertaking continuous professional development. Social media can also raise the profile of professions and help professionals reach out to the public.
As with any system though, social media needs to be used in the right way, and registrants need to approach posts with the same professionalism they show in practice. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased interest in social media outputs from healthcare professionals, and so it is important now more than ever to think before you post.
Below are some of my top tips for making sure your social media posts reflect the professionalism that service users experience when they see you face-to-face:
Getting it right
I don’t want to discourage you from using social media, but I want to make sure when you do, it’s done in the right way.
I’ve seen many of the Tik Tok videos HCPC registrants have posted, and I can see the benefits they have for individuals, their colleagues and sometimes their service users. When done in the right way, taking account of the top tips above, they have the potential to raise spirits and morale, and reduce stress levels.
Sadly though, I’ve also seen some inappropriate social media posts which show a lack of respect and understanding. These posts are often not meant to be offensive, but show that people haven’t thought about the impact they might have on service users and their loved ones. Unfortunately the few bad social media posts have the power to undermine the many good, and so it is really important everyone maintains professionalism in the virtual world.
If you’re ever unsure about posting, wait and seek advice, and get it right!
Further advice and support
You can find further resources that might help you on our website:
- HCPC Social media guidance
- Social media blog post
- Information on communicating during the COVID-19 pandemic
Professional bodies can also give you guidance in this area. You can find contact details here.
Finally, your employer should have local policies and guidance in this regard too, so I would advise you to get in touch with them too.