Editor's Note: This is the first entry submitted in our Scholarship Contest for Patients and Caregivers to attend the Mayo Clinic Social Media Summit Oct. 17-21 in Rochester, Minn. See this post
for more details on the contest, and please cast your votes by liking or commenting on the candidates you think would be best.
Here is Mark Nester's Essay:
Just a few months ago, I was involved in a freak car accident on I-77 in Virginia and consider myself lucky to be alive. We were experiencing car trouble, it was snowing, and I was standing outside of our vehicle on the side of I-77 when another SUV slid out of control and struck the back of our vehicle, which instantaneously struck me and sent me flying back 20 feet onto an embankment. Fortunately, I was able to walk away with only a concussion, sprained neck and some bruises.
Going into the hospital, I knew I was blessed to only walk away with these minor injuries and was able to communicate this to the nurses. However, once I met the doctor I finally had the first-hand account of something that I had been learning in my classes: Doctors can be intimidating! I don’t think my doctor knew it, and I didn’t really think while sitting in the room. My doctor was talking, but it mostly sounded like a foreign language to me as I just nodded my head. I was truly afraid to ask any questions because I knew once he answered I wouldn’t be able to comprehend much of it. I now understood what I had been reading about in my textbook about patients being intimidated and afraid of going to see their family doctor. I can only imagine if I had a much more serious problem and I had to comprehend the doctor’s language to help treat myself further at home. I read a quote by Dr. James Reilly and it relates to what I experienced as well as many others, “…if the communication isn’t clear, confusion ensues and where there’s confusion, there can be chaos and catastrophe.”
Currently, I am a college senior majoring in Health Promotion & Health Education at a local university. Growing up, my generation has had the opportunity to use almost every social network conceived. I honestly believe that my generation is a major part of why technology is merging into society at infinite rate. Today, we aren’t only taking classes in the classroom, we are taking classes online via videoconferencing; we aren’t only communicating via text messaging, nearly 65% of the American population is communicating on some sort of social network. As a current college senior majoring in the health field, I would benefit this conference by providing insight on how a modern day college student interacts on a day to day basis.
I truly believe that within the next 10 years that family doctors, physical therapists, and other health professionals should be available via Skype or another video-conferencing source so that patients could get updates or advice from home. Majoring in Health Promotion, I have found that Twitter is a great way to learn as well as communicate with various health experts. Back in July, by following @mayoclinic on Twitter, I was able to interact with #MayoRadio concerning some stretched ligaments in my hand.
It’s apparent that social media is one of the best ways to communicate not only to Americans, but to folks worldwide. It is my life long goal to do something to help revolutionize Americans and the growing obesity trend and I won’t stop until I can make a difference. It honestly makes me sick of how America keeps getting fatter and fatter and no one seems to care—I want to help change that somehow. As a student majoring in this very subject, I am excited to see how the healthcare industry will use various social media tools in the future. I can only imagine where this will take us in the future; I just know that I am glad to be a part of this technological initiative, because I really believe communicating via social media will only benefit us in the future.
Follow me on Twitter-- @nestermt