This post was written by Carol Kerbaugh, our Chapter’s Programming Coordinator, as part of our PRSSA 2012 National Conference series, where members of our Executive Board will be sharing tips from various breakout sessions.
With so many hospitals, medical schools and health centers in the Boston, many PR professionals in the area deal with healthcare clients during their careers. Not knowing much about healthcare public relations, I thought Prescriptions Doctors Can’t Write would be an interesting and informative session to kick off National Conference.
Speaker Jason M. Carlton, APR, took to the stage to speak about his experiences working as a Social Media Specialist for Intermountain Medical Center. Throughout his presentation, Jason shared stories about the innovative medical procedures he gets to witness, document and share with the public on a daily basis. Jason told the audience members about the outstanding doctors and resilient patients he encounters. He talked of inspirational stories that he has witnessed, including a case of a boy who had his leg amputated but remained optimistic throughout his recovery.
To capture footage and photos to send to the media, Jason gets to go into the operating room. He showed some of the videos and photos he has shot over the years. Warning: heath care PR is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.
While Jason may be able to handle the operating room just fine, flying in a helicopter is another story. Because of his video skills, Jason was invited to ride on one of the Intermountain Medical Center’s new helicopters to capture footage to send to news outlets. The footage he showed of the chopper flying over the Rocky Mountains was breathtaking. Who knew working in PR could mean a once in a lifetime chance to ride in a helicopter over the Rockies?
While the stories he shared were inspirational, not everything involved in healthcare is so positive and uplifting. Working in a hospital, he often witnesses tragedy and has to contend with a plethora of legal guidelines and HIPPA regulations.
The stories Jason shared opened my eyes about what is involved in working in healthcare PR. From documenting the operating room to arranging interviews between media and patients to abiding by patient privacy guidelines, healthcare PR is a multifaceted field. Even with its complexities, Jason gets to witness miraculous medical stories and share them with the public, and, to me, that makes the job seem well worth it.