How do health professionals use social media?

 

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In preparation for an article I am writing for a midwifery journal, I decided to conduct a short survey to ascertain why health care workers use social media in a professional capacity.  The survey ran from 10/4/14 until 27/4/14, and was disseminated via Twitter and Facebook.

321 individuals responded, and the brief results are outlined below. The full article will be published in June edition of MIDIRS as the Hot Topic, authors Sheena Byrom and Anna Byrom

The questions asked were:

1. Do you use social media for professional reasons?

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2. Please indicate your profession

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3. In what country do you currently reside in?

Respondents were from Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, USA, UK, Wales.

4. Which social media network do you prefer?

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5. How often to you log into social networks?

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6. If Facebook is your preferred network, what are the benefits to your professional role?

These included widely used, networking, sharing, support, with a significant amount using private communication through closed groups. Even though the question wasn’t asked, several respondents mentioned the fear of  recrimination.

‘Posting information to my audience, getting them involved by comments. They get to know me and recommendations come from being known’ Participant 2

7. If Twitter is your preferred network, what are the benefits to your professional role?

Benefits included fast responses, more professional than Facebook, access to wide network of individuals and groups,  connecting with other professionals, flattened hierarchy (access to leading professionals), support, sharing, global contacts, easy to use.

‘Enables conversation – debate – information and knowledge exchange- encourages active student engagement – modelling professionalism – relationship building and networking’ Participant 161

8. Please rank the benefits of your social media use

 

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9. Please give examples of how social media has helped you in your professional role.

The responses further elaborated on the above factors,

‘Connecting with health professional who have enabled me to reflect and learn Increasing my professionalism Enabling me to have a voice and communicate my value’ Participant 98

‘It helped launching CenteringPregnancy in the Netherlands! Connections with obstetrians outside my area. Enlarged my view on midwives, emancipation, women, public health etc’ Participant 107

 

I would like to sincerely thank all those who participated in the survey.