TikTok backlash shouldn't deter health professionals' use of social media, USC lecturer says


Increasingly, healthcare professionals are turning to new social media applications, such as TikTok, to connect with teenagers among whom the app is massively popular, but they may be jeopardizing their reputation with patients, according to CNN.

In the last few weeks, TikToks featuring nurses and physicians have gone viral — from a user named Nurse Holly who used the app to promote abstinence outside of marriage to prevent sexually transmitted diseases to D Rose, another nurse, who created a TikTok video that shows her mocking patients for "faking" their symptoms.

The backlash to both these videos was swift, with people berating Nurse Holly for appearing to shame her patients and expressing anger at D Rose's video with the hashtag "#PatientsAreNotFaking."

So are these TikToks and other slip-ups on social media increasing distrust in healthcare professionals?

Sarah Mojarad, a lecturer at Los Angeles-based University of Southern California told CNN that while social media can be a useful platform for nurses and physicians to communicate with the public and fight misinformation, many of them are "not really thinking about their role as a medical professional and how that's going to impact the public's perception of medical professionals."

Medical professionals should not shy away from using social media to engage patients, give them information they need and "humanize physicians and nurses," she said.

Social media is evolving and people are still figuring out how to navigate it, she said.

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