Posted by Erika Lovegreen (@elovegreen) · Wed, Jul 16 at 2:18pm CST
Erika Lovegreen - Patient/Caregiver Scholarship 2014
I must confess, as a professional in social media in healthcare, there are many days I want to throw in the towel. Every time that happens, there are two other times that I want to pick it back up, whirl it around in the air and celebrate what I do. I am introducing social media into the geriatric end of the industry.
My journey to social media in healthcare is far from the norm.
I was never really interested in this industry and honestly questioned why some people were. My dream was to be a journalist. I was bright-eyed and in my mind, on the way to the Today Show desk sitting next to Matt Lauer. My hunger for telling news came from personal life experiences that included being a student during the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings and losing my Mississippi home during Hurricane Katrina (all true by the way). I thought sharing the news was the only way of storytelling. I was very wrong.
After college, I spent years working in the news industry as a producer. That’s when I was first really exposed to social media and it quickly became my favorite part of my job. I got to churn out information faster than we could get it on the air, not to mention always be in the know.
When Medical Facilities of America (MFA), Virginia’s largest skilled nursing and rehabilitation company, found me, there were a lot of unknowns. From my perspective, I was 9 months pregnant. Yes, you read that right and not looking for a new position.
MFA admitted social media was new to them and even questioned where the position should report (Marketing, Human Resources, IT or elsewhere). The idea of setting the standards for social media for a skilled nursing and rehabilitation company was so exciting. For the first time, my attention was focused on changing the future, not just sitting in front of a camera talking about it.
In order to do this job, I've had to immerse myself into the world of improving the lives of our elderly and found out just how amazingly wonderful the people I work with are.
Social media and caring for our nation’s aging population seem worlds apart. What I love about my job is finding ways to connect the two. Explaining what I do is not easy. Most people around me are skeptics. They don’t see social media as having any value in this business and unfortunately assume our aging population does not have much to look forward to. Bottom line, who benefits more from their world being expanded than the elderly. Why not? Social media makes it completely possible! It is a gateway for activity that does not have physical demands.
Participating in Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic will serve the greater good because I can continue to influence the shifting digital culture in the skilled nursing & rehabilitation arena (my company is preparing to launch 40 facebook pages for all our locations in VA and NC).
There are not many social media professionals in this part of the industry- barely any in fact. My unique background as a journalist, along with working in an area not associated with social networking provides prospective that will enhance the event. My goal is to gain knowledge that will help me advance the ball in the geriatric side of the industry.
Questions about the contest or the voting process? Click here.