How PT Can Benefit From Getting Social
In our first few weeks of PT school, we've spent a lot of time discussing appropriate social media use. In one of our classes, we even did some "cybervetting," or searching for ourselves online. As an admitted tech-geek, I have been all over social media from a young age and, before even beginning physical therapy school, I was blogging and moderating the #DPTstudent chat on Twitter. If I am passionate about something, it has always been natural for me to put myself out there and say so.
Due to this background, I was surprised when my professors spent quite a bit of time discussing the negative consequences of the inappropriate use of social media without going any further than that. We were shown the repercussions of posting pictures of ourselves chugging from beer bongs and talking badly about our CIs. These are all valuable lessons; however, the world of social media offers so many opportunities for students, clinicians and patients!
The biggest reason I am pro-social media is because physical therapy as a profession should be out there, searchable to patients who are researching their symptoms or diagnoses. If physical therapists want to be a first-stop for patients, we should be a top result online. If PT, as a profession, doesn't participate in social media, it will go unnoticed.
Personally, I'm also a big fan of professional social media use because of the reach you can get with professionals and fellow students. I am 3 weeks into PT school and have connected with at least a dozen clinicians and even more students. Those people, students included, may someday be my bosses or make the decision to hire me. More importantly, they will all be my colleagues and getting to know them has been incredibly exciting!
In short, there are tons of reasons to love using social media! Of course, we shouldn't be posting pictures of ourselves partying, but the message shouldn't stop there. Social media is an enormous part of our lives now and, while it carries a lot of responsibility, I think schools should incorporate professional, productive and beneficial use of it into the physical therapy school curriculum.
These are, of course, my very uneducated opinions, so I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you think social media use is essential to healthcare practitioners and organizations? What about students? Can we handle the responsibility?