Someone once said that the best thing about social media is the people you meet. I have connected with some amazing and inspirational people through social media who, in a slightly weird way, I might never meet in person. My experience of using social media in my professional practice has always been positive with the benefits far outweighing any negatives. That’s why I volunteered to be D&G’s regional social media champion for the Allied Health Professions (AHPs). This opportunity arose through the national AHP social media site AHPScot: https://ahpscot.wordpress.com/.
There are two main AHP national presences on social media and they are @AHPScot and @AHPdementia. The aim of both is to encourage AHP staff and non AHPs to blog and tweet about the significant role AHPs have in supporting the people of Scotland in their health and wellbeing. Social media is a fantastic resource to showcase areas of innovative pieces of work and share examples of good practice. The blogs reach far and wide with international readership as well as local interactions. I genuinely feel that I am a much more effective practitioner given this wider and broader perspective of clinical effectiveness and person-centred care gained from using social media as a method for enhancing evidence based practice.
As Social Media Champion, the first thing to understand was how many local AHPs were using social media in their professional practice. A SurveyMonkey was sent out to 293 people on the Dumfries & Galloway AHP email distribution list and 120 people responded with the following results:
This information was shared at the local AHP leads and Heads of Service meeting and the idea of local social media ‘labs’ was created as an improvement project that was developed further through Scottish Improvement Skills (SIS) run by D&G Patient Safety and Improvement team. The social media labs are a means for local AHPs to explore and experiment with social media in relation to identified themes around motives, risks and barriers. AHPs are supported to do this in a safe and effective way that is congruent with local organisation social media policy and HCPC professional guidelines.
As the learning from the social media labs transitions through the AHP workforce in Dumfries & Galloway from early adopters (12%) to early majority, we hope to capture impact and outcomes by encouraging people to use our local hashtag #AHPDG on twitter and through AHPs, not only reading blogs from other AHPs, but writing their own professional blogs in sharing their experiences too.
Joan Pollard, Associate AHP Director, gives her own thoughts around the introduction of social media labs in NHS Dumfries and Galloway:
Thank you to Laura Lennox for your inspiring words and for your steady and reassuring support. As the Associate Director of #AHPDG, I would describe myself as a tentative beginner and having had occasion to write a professional blog before Laura’s input, there was only one word * terrifying*. Now following the social media labs it is inspiring to see how many of our local AHPs are now committing themselves to reading and writing blogs and with the introduction of our #AHPDG hashtag we now have a building and visible presence on the web.
As confidence has built we have also moved to using social media to support recruitment with positive effect this providing opportunity to meet more amazing and inspiring people in person and on our doorstep. Keep up this amazing work. @JoanPollard1