Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts for Healthcare Professionals
Over the years, social media has established itself as a valuable platform for healthcare professionals to keep up with current events, share information, highlight wider health issues and connect with their peers. While most connections and engagements can be positive and enriching, there’s also the chance that the boundary between professional and personal can blur, whether that’s sharing identifiable information about a patient or getting embroiled in a political debate. However, the negative side of social media can be easily avoided through common sense and following guidance such as that taken from the British Medical Association (BMA). Although written for doctors, the following guidance can be applied to all professionals working in the healthcare sector. Protect confidentiality What you say online always comes down to your judgement, but if you’re posting about medical issues or experiences from your day, then ethical and professional standards will clearly apply. Respect the privacy of patients and colleagues and take a cautious approach to anything that you think could affect your professional standing. This extends to messages in a private social media group which could be shared by someone else. Consider consent If you want to share images online that feature your patients or those associated with a specific case, then you’ll need to obtain explicit approval from the subject. Even if you want to share an image of your workplace, take care not to capture anything or anyone that could breach confidentiality. Maintain professional boundaries Maintaining a professional distance between you and your patients is vital. Those working in small communities may have friends who are or have been patients, which can’t be helped, but it’s advised that any online interactions with them remain limited. Be cautious in giving medical advice Healthcare professionals operating in a broad range of fields can possess a powerful voice in debates and when it comes to providing authoritative information to the public. While answering general questions is unlikely to cause a problem, there are significant risks in delivering personalised health advice via social media to members of the public. Check before sharing Not only should you check your own comments before you post them to ensure you don’t ‘say’ something you’ll regret, but you should check all sources before sharing them. This goes for news, commentary pieces and reports that could potentially be fake, or express a controversial opinion that you don’t share and could negatively impact your career if you align yourself with it. The advice detailed in this blog can be generally applied to all healthcare professionals but do remember that every workplace is likely to have their own social media policy that you need to read and adhere closely to. For more tips and advice for professionals working in the NHS or private healthcare sector, stay tuned to the MCM Medical blog.
Top Tips to Help You Through Your First Year in Nursing
You’ve reached your goal to become a nurse; congratulations! You’ll know from your studies and work experience so far that you’re set to face some challenges along the way. That’s why MCM Medical has pulled together some valuable tips to help you survive your first year as a nurse, ensuring you take the best care of your patients and, of course, yourself. Give yourself a break No one is expecting you to remember absolutely everything you’ve learned, so don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. Never be afraid to ask questions, whether that’s asking senior nurses or your fellow newly qualified colleagues. No one will judge you for double-checking things, especially given the nature of your work and the importance of not putting your patient’s in danger. Be honest You’re going to make mistakes. Even the most seasoned nurses do. An error doesn’t have to turn into a problem as long as you come clean and ask for help as soon as you know it’s happened. Speed is of the essence which is why it’s so important not to sit on something that you know requires action merely to save face. Keep talking Working on a busy ward or out in the community for the first time can be daunting and overwhelming. You need to protect your mental health in that all-important first year, which is why it’s crucial you share any concerns or insecurities you have with fellow professionals who can offer support, guidance and reassurance when you need it the most. Pay attention to your physical wellbeing You need to be healthy and alert in your first year of nursing as you’re still absorbing vast amounts of information and learning on-the-job. No matter how busy your shift is, you must make time to stay hydrated and eat properly. Getting enough sleep is also key, so make sure you plan bedtimes, limit your screen time and try not to consume too much alcohol which can dramatically affect the quality of your sleep. Get organised Due to the nature of the work being never-ending, being organised can help you prioritise tasks and keep your head in more stressful moments. Arrive on-time or perhaps early so you understand what needs to be done straight-away and you can try to structure your shift. Invest in good shoes Most employers will have clear guidelines on what footwear you can and can’t wear at work but if you get to choose then do so wisely! Given the amount of time you’ll be spending on your feet, they need to be extremely comfortable, lightweight to minimise the stress on your legs and back, and provide you with good all-around protection. Shop around until you find the right ones. We’re in this together Stay tuned to the MCM Medical blog for more tips and advice for nurses and healthcare professionals.
Healthcare’s Fight Against Plastic Waste
It was reported in April that the NHS had used more than half a billion disposable cups over the past five years. The figures, obtained by the Press Association, showed that NHS trusts in England purchased around 600 million disposable cups since 2013, equating to more than 300,000 per day with cups used for hot and cold drinks, as well as for dispensing medicine. The news emerged following a pledge by the UK government to take action against disposable cups as part of an ongoing fight against plastic waste. April also saw the government’s chief medical advisor Dame Sally Davies release her annual report which stated the NHS creates 590,000 tonnes of waste a year, more than the entire municipal waste from Cyprus and Luxembourg. As the world’s fifth largest employer, Davies stated the importance of the NHS cutting its pollutant footprint: “Everybody has a role to play in cutting pollution but the NHS has more than a million staff, accounts for one in 20 vehicles on the road and is a big user of single-use disposable plastics.” Any healthcare professional will tell you the importance of single-use plastic to provide a sanitary and hygienic option for patients, making eliminating them unlikely until there’s a suitable replacement. However, there is often more to be done when it comes to the disposal of these products. For example, oil-based plastics, commonly used for drinks cups, are recyclable and would simply require sorting and disposing of in the right place. Many organisations are taking the step of completely banning the use of single-use plastic cups in favour of china. The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust revealed that their patients have access to china cups and glassware in a bid to reduce plastic waste volumes. Additionally, York Hospital uses crockery for drinks in its wards, claiming it also improves the patient experience. Media reports, such as that detailing the NHS’ plastic cup use, coupled with the government’s commitment to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics, are working as a catalyst for change within the NHS and provide even more environmentally-friendly alternatives and an increase in recycling and collection schemes nationwide. For the latest news and insights relating to environmental issues impacting the NHS and wider healthcare sector, stay tuned to the MCM Medical blog and social media channels.