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Lessons learnt from using social media to make connections | Tara meets Farzana Hussain

Farzana lives and works in Newham, East London and has been a GP there for 18 years. She teaches second year medical students at Queen Mary University of London and St Bart’s Hospital, she is a GP Trainer, GP Appraiser and is a Network Director. With all this keeping her busy she still has time to engage on social media.

On our 4th Source 4 Networks Podcast, which can be listened to here, Farzana discusses with Tara Humphrey, Source 4 Networks faculty member, how she uses social media for professional development and to make professional connections.

Here is a summary of Farzana’s 5 key lessons learnt:

1. Engage with platforms for different purposes

Farzana started on social media because of the wealth of information you can find on there. Especially on twitter, where the information comes in bitesize pieces. Farzana found this a great way to learn, share and enjoy the knowledge.

She said, “I have actually improved my theoretical knowledge and have connected with so many wonderful people.”

Each platform brings her different things – she uses WhatsApp groups for asking for and checking factual information, whereas finds twitter a place to learn, share and express herself rather than asking questions.

2. GPs and Patients can connect

At first, Farzana was a little worried about having patients follow her on twitter but has found that it enhances their relationship. While she wouldn’t ever give clinical advice over social media, it has broken down a barrier between patient and GP, where she is seen as more human. She explains: “I have found the engagement more enriching; it’s also been reassuring because I’ve not had a patient overstep a boundary.”

3. Have relationships online and offline

Through social media, Farzana has made lots of connections and even met with 5 or 6 people face to face. It’s made her connect with people in a different way. She has found her knowledge has increased, she’s got more professional connections and has become more experienced from a CPD training perspective than she would have been without social media.

4. Using social to engage networks

Farzana has been working to get her Primary Care Clinical Network to engage with Twitter and Whats App groups to share and exchange knowledge. She feels there is a lot to be gained by bringing people together in this way.

She adds, “we are learning to work in a way that is not just email based and face to face meetings, and that will bring such a transformation.”

5. Gain confidence from others

Farzana gains confidence from other people – she’ll read their blogs, read tweets and see her thoughts aligned with theirs. She’ll think – “if they can put that up, then so can I and I might inspire someone else along the way”.

Connect with Farzana on twitter: @fhussain73

Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud here.

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Tara Humphrey is the founder of THC Primary Care, a leading healthcare consultancy specialising in workforce transformation and the host of the Business of Healthcare Podcast.

Tara and her team also work with GP federations supporting the implementation of clinical services.

Tara has over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sector and has an MBA in Leadership and Management in Healthcare, is published in the London Journal of Primary Care and is the author of over 150 blogs.

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