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The Rise of the Unhealthy Side of Tik Tok

You know we’ve hit a new era when your physicians and nurses have Tik Tok accounts. However, the person who’s drawing your blood or checking your vitals may have a bad reputation thanks to Tik Tok.

Tik Tok is a fairly new platform. Sort of like vine, people can record videos of themselves with music playing in the background (like what we all used to do with Snapchat back in the day.) What nobody suspected was that this app would cause a lot of controversy for the medical community.

So far, a handful of nurses and physicians from the US have been under fire for unprofessional Tik Tok videos that went viral. They range from nurses telling patients the best way to avoid an STI is to wait for marriage to nurses making fun of patients claiming they are faking their sicknesses, and even a few medical doctors making fun of patients for coming into the ER for a check-up. We’ve been very lucky in Canada though because so far there haven’t really been any controversial doctors or ER nurses using TikTok.

But with that being said this brings up a few bigger issues.

Once you have become a medical professional and broadcast your role in healthcare to the public there are things you should refrain from posting even if it’s “medical humor.” Shouldn’t there be a line, where you keep social media and personal views separate?

Also, the facts you put out are extremely influential to the general public once you’ve completed medical school, nursing or whatever it may be in health care. You now have the title of being a professional in health, meaning you are respected, and people are influenced by what you say. They believe you. So, anything you say (for example that the only way to avoid an STI is waiting for marriage) is going to influence teenagers and kids who watch. You can’t make claims based on your own personal morals.

Third, there is a lack of compassion. You don’t know anyone’s personal pain tolerance. Therefore, claiming they are over exaggerating is really awful to see online. When a patient walks in and sees a nurse then remembers them for making fun of patients on platforms, they may feel uneasy to ever seek medical advice again because they are scared of being made fun of (or even worse that they will be the next source of inspiration for a video.) This is dangerous on so many levels because patients should feel safe and respected when seeing any health care professional.

However, with negative comes some good. There has been a movement on this platform of nurses and doctors making Tik Tok videos with sound, respectful, research-based advice in order to fix the negative videos and make patients feel more at ease and work towards health education. So, all in all there can be a small glimmer of hope to this not-so-great situation.

Kate Puim

U Alberta '24

Visual Communications graduate turned psychology student. I'm a master at finding affordable beauty products and stylish outfits. I dig coffee, chocolate, bold lipstick and pandas. Mental health advocate and your new best friend.
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