Use social media to 'brand' your healthcare career

Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from FierceHealthcare's newly published eBook, Taking Your Clinical Career to the Next Level: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. You can download it for free.

As social networking becomes more pervasive, clinicians are discovering how Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging and/or Facebook can broaden their career horizons--or even help them clinch a new job. Dr. Nicholas Fogelson is a big fan of social networking. An assistant professor of OB/GYN at University of South Carolina School of Medicine and creator of an academic OB/ GYN blog and podcast, he uses social media to "brand" himself as an expert.

He likens his social media attempts at branding to running a commercial on TV. The result is the same, he says: Patients and physicians alike will associate OB/GYN expertise with his name. For example, enter a Google search on "delayed umbilical cord clamping" and his name appears high on search results.

Whether branding yourself via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook matters to you will depend on who you are. As the U.S. healthcare system evolves, branding will be critical as a way to tout your expertise and attract new career opportunities, Fogelson says.

Dr. Geeta Nayyar, principal medical officer at Vangent and a clinician at George Washington University, says her tweets, which go out to more than 800 followers, have boosted her reputation as "Dr. Nayyar"--a social media, health IT doctor. "It's like being seen on a billboard or commercial, but more personal and real-time than other static venues," she says.

But be warned: Social media is not a panacea for poor interpersonal skills. "If you're not a good leader or communicator, social media is not going to advance your career," says Dr. Ted Eytan, a family physician, blogger and director of the Permanente Federation.

--Read the entire article when you download FierceHealthcare's FREE eBook: Taking Your Clinical Career to the Next Level: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals.