Criticizing Your Employer’s CoVid Response
Here’s a recent article about an ER physician in Bellingham, WA getting fired, presumably for criticizing via Facebook his contracted employer’s approach to CoVid.
For frontline clinicians these are going to be highly emotional times, and I can appreciate their desire to speak out online using social media.
However, generally speaking, most physicians have signed a contract or agreed to a social media policy which is heavily weighted towards the healthcare organization, and generally direct public criticism could well be in breech of the contract, possibly resulting in the termination of a very valuable staff member.
So, what to do? First I think the physicians and staff posting need to recognize that during an intensively emotional time, it’s probably not the right time to be posting public information on social media. In fact, the more passionate one is, the more important it may be to give it a day, before hitting the post button, Rephrased, ask yourself this: How will my attorney (and the hospital’s attorney feel about this post? (And truthfully, if you have to ask that question, you probably shouldn’t be posting it.). Anyway, an email reminder not just of the policy, but why it is the policy, may be helpful if it isn’t heavy handed.
Equally important, however, the CEO of the organization needs to recognize that if frontline workers are posting negative stuff about the organization online, then the normal channels of feedback may be dysfunctional, and that is clearly the CEOs responsibility.
I would recommend if there is a significant frontline safety issue which isn’t being addressed, then the CEO would like to hear from them directly. (And why would the CEOs agree to this? Because most of them would rather spend a few minutes on a phone, hearing from the frontline, rather than seeing their org on CNN or MSNBC in a negative light. )
Anyway, keep in mind that social media in the time of CoVid probably has equal potential to help and hurt, and marketing may be best positioned to help frontline staff not make a career ending mistake, but also make it clear to senior administration that there is a reason for types of negative posts, which probably could be nipped in the bud.
(Also, throughout all of this, keep in mind that several of these frontline staff may well die from CoVid in the next 3 months)