Will you ‘friend’ a patient?

August 13, 2009 —

mousehandAt DMU we always strive to create compassionate care providers. So do not take it wrong when I say you probably shouldn’t be a friend to your patients —I’m talking merely about being Facebook friends.

As the age of technology overtakes us, our modes of communications change. I tend to think the more outlets and mediums we have the better.At DMU we want you to friend your classmates and teachers (and be a fan of your University!) on Facebook, tweet your successes and failures with each other and possibly even blog about your life. (To find our channels on all these outlets, visit www.dmu.edu/connect.)

BUT all these newer lines of communication do present a few challenges you’ll need to consider. How do you best share information about an intriguing patient case with your Twitter followers WITHOUT breaching a patient’s privacy? Do you connect with your boss and co-workers? And if email works best for a patient to communicate with you, will they become too familiar and not see you as a health authority?

Here’s an article in the New England Journal of Medicine about this topic. What do YOU think?? What are your guidelines? Who do you turn down & how do you do it?

Courtney Tompkins has been part of the DMU marketing team since Nov. 2005 and loves promoting a school she believes in so thoroughly. Proud daughter and patient of DMU alumni, Courtney knows, first-hand, that Des Moines University is doing a world of good. A fan of all outdoor festivals, fruity drinks and nearly all edibles, she has a hard time narrowing down her list of favorite places to go and things to do but lists the Iowa State Fair as an all-time fave. She loves her 8-minute commute to DMU from Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines. She and husband Tyler are owned by three large dogs, Tonka, Tucker and Tank.


  • Chris S

    I find Facebook a place that I can fool around, be goofy, and just yell out whatever stuff I want. I will upload strange pictures, sometimes use fowl potty-mouth words, and even better classify myself as a pirate. I know there are people that I graduated with that read my “status” and probably think — “This guy has lost it.” Which makes me think of what my boss, co-workers, realtor, banker, etc.. probably think of me. The people that are close to me, know that I am just fooling around, but it is those that do not have a one on one relationship with me that probably think different. I would not allow my boss to be my friend on facebook as my father, aunt, and brother already see my crazy side when I post “I’m on a boat! Poseidon look at me!!!!” as my status. :)

  • http://ivybot.info/forex/ Ivy

    It’s always difficult especially in a small community. Not easy. Always used to bug me when it came to sharing a case. In the final analysis, I think it shouldn’t be done.

  • http://tummytuckoperations.info Alexander T

    I agree especially in a small community is not good. There must be a line of seperation.