Having read “Watch What You Say” on the Society of Radiographers (SoR) webpages I have decided this evening to write an unscheduled blog to look at the positives of engaging in Social Media for radiographers.
This piece, written by Warren Town Director of Industrial Relationships for SoR, makes some very valid points about our professional responsibilities in on-line activities and made me reflect on my own Social Media (#SoMe) activity. In June 2014 I decided to embark on a project that looked to engage undergraduate radiographer learners in a level three professional practice module which has a 14 week clinical placement with academic weeks at either ends. Having been the module leader the year before, it was evident that when students were on placement they became disengaged with the module. Drawn by the back story of WeCommunities founder, Teresa Chinn MBE, and how she had used twitter to deal with feelings of professional isolation as an agency nurse, both @Year3ADIS and @Jstjohnmatthews were “hatched”.
Taking the plunge was difficult. When I started these accounts there was almost no published literature on radiographers using #SoMe for professional purposes. I had used Facebook in a personal capacity however this was different. Here I would be expressing opinions and ideas as both a radiographer and an academic in accounts which were open access. I am not a natural risk-taker, (although according to @leslierob10 this might be a common trait amongst radiation conscious radiographers). I felt vulnerable thinking of how everything I logged on-line would be permanent and there for the world to see. I worried that if I said something inappropriate I could lose my job and as a worst case scenario be struck off the HCPC register for professional misconduct. Having weighed up the pros and cons I decided to take the plunge but to work to the following mantra: “Would I say this if I was wearing my radiographer uniform?”
In the beginning I would send the occasional retweet and “lurk” in the background to learn how more experienced #SoMe healthcare professionals used twitter. It was reassuring to see other radiographers tweeting in a professional manner and also to learn how @SCoRmembers operates in this environment. As I grew more confident I began to engage with twitter chats and where possible started promoting evidence based practice from radiography sources to frame a view point or opinion. In January 2015 I realised that sometimes the 140 characters restriction of twitter wasn’t enough to explore relevant personal and/or radiography topics. Consequently the natural progression was to set up a personal blog. However on this occasion I did so safe in the knowledge I wasn’t the first blogging radiographer and definitely wouldn’t be the last.
Fast forward to July 2015 and what have I learnt? The possibilities of #SoMe for radiographers are infinite. #SoMe provides an excellent tool for CPD as has been demonstrated by #medradjclub, an online journal club which brings together radiographers from across the globe to discuss radiographer evidence based practice through a monthly tweet-chat. For those of you have read my March Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Inspire blog, #SoMe has been a useful tool for an “isolated” radiography academic to reach beyond the walls of her department to connect and engage with the wider healthcare community. As demonstrated by the Word of Mouth Mammography E-Project (WOMMEN), #SoMe opens the possibility of patient involvement coupled with an innovative way to collect qualitative data on the patient experience. Scary yes; exciting definitely.
However there needs to be more radiographers engaging in #SoMe activity and while it is important that we remember our professional responsibility we shouldn’t be frightened to be in these spaces and sharing with the world the important roles our profession plays in the patient pathway. I am always amazed at how other Allied Health Professions are using their #SoMe presence to highlight how they can help in the redesign of services. (An example that springs to mind is the Physiotherapy #Physioworks campaign).
Radiographers we need to showcase our profession and what we do well. If you are worried about professional responsibilities then be assured that as I type a group of #SoMe active radiographers are working on a professional document to give all radiographers the confidence to enter these on-line activities and conversations.
Now is our time to use technology to accelerate our profession- let’s not get left behind.**
** I would like to give a big HT (Hat Tip) to @jennygarett for the title of this blog and also her encouragement which has made me realise the power of technology in our personal and professional life’s.