By giving a glimpse into what your health system’s workers are experiencing, you’ll inspire empathy and galvanize community support when it’s needed most.
COVID-19 has thrust healthcare workers into the spotlight like never before. We’re all feeling vulnerable, and there’s surging interest in the people we rely on to take care of us.
Social media posts by medical professionals have gone viral. An Iowa nurse’s posts describing what it’s like to work on the pandemic frontlines were shared tens of thousands of times and received over 1 million likes, including from actress Liv Tyler. News outlets regularly carry stories about health professionals working tirelessly to save lives, and it’s common to hear references to “healthcare heroes.”
The Power of Narratives
Your own employees’ first-person narratives can powerfully reinforce the basic information you’ve shared about how patients can help stop the spread of coronavirus. It’s invaluable for your external audiences to hear about how their actions may impact a nurse or doctor with a face and name. And when patients see medical professionals’ dedication and commitment, they’ll feel reassured someone will be there to care for their family, if needed.
Inside your organization, employees benefit from hearing the stories of their colleagues. Your organization has told them how to do their jobs safely and effectively, but personal narratives can fill a need that’s just as vital — the drive for human connection during a crisis. Workers want to know how their colleagues in different roles, departments, and buildings are coping. Most importantly in this time of social distancing, everyone wants to know they’re not alone.
Consider soliciting first-person content about topics like:
- How medical professionals are supporting each other and managing their physical and mental health
- What a day is like for an urgent care employee during the COVID-19 outbreak
- How the pandemic is affecting:
- Healthcare professionals who aren’t on the COVID-19 front lines, like maternity nurses, social workers, or diabetes educators
- Employees who work in nonclinical areas, like food service, housekeeping, or a call center
- Medical students, resident physicians, and their training
- How medical staff are trying to protect their own families from the virus
- What healthcare workers want the community to know
Post content that’s most relevant to other employees on an internal forum, like your intranet. Share information that’s appropriate for the public on your content marketing hub, crisis resource hub, and social media.
What Some Health Systems Are Doing
Tidelands Health published a story about the work of critical care nurses during COVID-19 and included photos of care professionals the community doesn’t normally get to see. The article quoted a nurse explaining what keeps her motivated: “I got into this job because of my love of caring for other people,” she said. “Running away is not really an option.”
But you don’t need a full article to get the message across. On Mercy Cedar Rapids’ Facebook page, the organization shared a physician’s photo of the emergency department team, along with his words of pride about the work they’ve been doing. It was one of Mercy Cedar Rapids’ most popular recent photos. The community posted hundreds of thankful comments in response, giving the medical team valuable encouragement.
Ideas for Getting Started
Consider making a social media post like this with a photo and a few words from a different employee each day for a week. Or:
- Offer to ghostwrite a first-person story based on an interview with a busy healthcare worker
- Ask a nurse to record a short video clip describing what she’s thinking and preparing for at the start of a shift, and then record another clip after the shift
- Publish a Q&A conversation — on a podcast, video, or written blog — with a healthcare provider about their experience
- Start a blog with short entries contributed by one or more employees a few times a week
Yes, your healthcare employees are swamped. But some will still want to take time to make their voices heard. Telling stories can be a therapeutic form of stress relief.
And you don’t need a polished, five-minute video or 1,000-word blog post to leave an impact. Especially in times like this, audiences care more about the message than the production value.
Need help getting started? Contact Geonetric. Our experts can help you tell the stories of your “healthcare heroes” and galvanize support for your organization.