Traditionally, medical students and doctors are known to be serious people. They dedicate their lives totally to the calling, They spend most of their waking (and sleeping time) on the hospital wards. They have no time for anything that remotely looks like a social life, This includes birthdays and anniversaries.

    But nowadays you have dancing doctors, doctors that act , doctors that are more knowledgeable of football than sports commentators. We also have the popular Twitter doctors who have received a lot of ire in the micro blogging site. It is indeed a shock to see doctors having visible opinions on fashion, football, the latest video games or even the latest trending gossip on social media, After all, their time could be better used in saving lives or researching to save mankind from the next pandemic rather than engaging in unprofitable banter. Wouldn’t Hippocrates be having a fit now if he knows what his successors are up to?

    What Is Social Media?

    I particularly like this definition by Investopedia: Social media is computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities. Underline sharing of ideas, thoughts and information.

    Who is a serious doctor?

    A serious doctor is one who looks to give his patient the best quality of care fullstop. A serious doctor is not a machine carrying the weight of the world (and countless books) upon his shoulders. Infact, that could easily be a dangerous doctor.

    A doctor that cannot strike a work – play -home balance will invariably end up being a dangerous doctor. No doubt many doctors strike this balance in other ways rather than being on social media. Should we crucify those that find social media refreshing? We should also recognise the times we live in, Social media is relatively a new phenomenon.

    What did doctors of old do when there was no social media?

    Truth is we may never know as there was no social media to accurately document their day to day lives, However, I doubt whatever they did then would be far removed from what was common/popular in their day.

    Why doctors need to be on social media

    1. For themselves: They have lives too, Under the constitution of most free countries in the world they have freedom of expression to share their ideas, thoughts and information. Now it may be necessary to dis-entangle the person from the profession.

    2. To prevent burnout: Medscape defines burnout as long term, unresolvable job-related stress that leads to exhaustion, cynicism, feelings of detachment and lack of a sense of personal accomplishment from one’s job responsibilities. Statistics show that in 1977 it was estimated that the United States loses the equivalent of at least one small medical school or a large medical school class to suicide.

    Indeed we may see a rise in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) especially among doctors that have been on the frontline in the fight against COVID -19.

    3. For public education: Where there is a void, anything can fill it including mis-information. Imagine social media without doctors in a time as this where there is a global pandemic. Who will we have to explain why hydroxychloroquine may or may not be the right treatment? Who will we have to counter toxic mis-information that could kill scores?

    4. Telemedicine: With the new realities exposed by the pandemic, the doctor’s office may no longer be the safest place to be. Doctors with no social media presence will be doing a lot of injustice not only to themselves but to their patients..

    But can a serious doctor really have time for social media?

    Yes. But they may choose not to use the time for social media.

    That being said, should some doctors refine their social media strategy? Of course!

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    Source: doctorgabby.com

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