Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
A great blog post on the use of derogatory language used by a group of male doctors on twitter was brought to my attention earlier this week. The post scopes the sentiment among colleagues against the author’s own distaste of some of the comments made by those involved in the discussion.
Unsurprisingly, this has provoked a wide-range of responses. In particular, it brings to the fore the debate about the use of slang and dark humour displayed by medical personnel – terms such as “birthing sheds” to refer to the delivery suite and “cabbage patch” to intensive care units. Does this bring the profession into disrepute? Are derogatory comments made in the medical profession (particularly in a public forum) still acceptable? Or can we accept this as a coping mechanism, illustrating that doctors are only human?
In my view, the use of derogatory language and risqué humour is nothing new but until now has remained hidden behind closed doors. This raises the incessant conundrum of what is an acceptable use of social media by health professionals, and more broadly, should those who care for vulnerable patients, be allowed to converse via public social media at all – pseudonym or not. In this case, those who tweeted appeared to believe their tweets were private rather than in a public forum, but is this missing the point?
According to Berk:
“Simply put, derogatory and cynical humour as displayed by medical personnel are forms of verbal abuse, disrespect and the dehumanisation of their patients and themselves. Those individuals who are the most vulnerable and powerless in the clinical environment – students, patients and patients’ families – have become the targets of the abuse. Such humour is indefensible, whether the target is within hearing range or not; it cannot be justified as a socially acceptable release valve or as a coping mechanism for stress and exhaustion.”
Check out the debate for yourselves: http://unhub.com/amcunningham/