Last month, AAPA launched Huddle—a new online community for AAPA members to connect with peers, share resources and join discussions with PAs and PA students nationwide. A member of the Huddle launch team, Harrison Reed, PA-C, shares his advice for the best way to utilize a professional community like Huddle.
You wouldn’t storm into a conference room screaming demands. You wouldn’t stalk a cocktail party and poke other guests in the ribs. You wouldn’t attend a lecture, ball up your business card and pitch it at the speaker’s head. Would you?
To anyone functional enough to navigate graduate school and professional practice, those behaviors sound ridiculous. But, for some reason, one place remains a sanctuary for the disregard of polite conduct and professional courtesy: the Internet.
Blame my generation, if you must. We have certainly texted and hashtagged ourselves to an unrecognizable version of human interaction. But, I have spent enough time on message boards and social media to know that some of the worst offenders of proper etiquette have more gray hair than your average millennial.
If online bullying, antagonistic trolling or thoughtless spamming is your thing, don’t expect me to try to change your mind. But there’s a new online community where positive ideas are building, and the foundation can’t support that type of decay. It’s called “Huddle,” and it’s a place where PA-Cs and students can meet and interact—with the verbal barbs and spam left at the door.
The site administrators have already put together a page to get you started and even offered some tips to keep the site innovative—and civil. And, from what I’ve seen so far, that’s about as much babysitting as they intend to provide. So, let’s agree to do one thing, PA to PA and future PAs: Be cool.
That’s it: Be cool. Everyone logging into the site already knows the boundaries of professionalism. We have met at conferences and served on the same committees. We have taken classes and given lectures together. We have held sick, broken people in their moments of greatest need, and surpassed the calling of ordinary people to soothe their despair.
Bring that to the Huddle.
Ask good questions. Post thoughtful replies. Remember that you were once new. Realize that you will one day be … seasoned. Encourage each other and mix your tough love with plenty of empathy and compassion.
And, ladies and gents, if it belongs in the classifieds, let’s keep it out of the discussion boards. That means your job postings, clinical site inquiries, shadowing requests and the old couch you need to sell.
After all, when everyone sees what a great Huddle citizen you are, those offers will come pouring in on their own.
Of course, the smart and talented PAs and future PAs on Huddle already know this. But no one ever overdosed on reminders.
See you in the Huddle!
Harrison Reed, MMSc, PA-C, practices emergency medicine in Las Vegas, Nev., and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. You can contact him, @HarrisonReedPA, on Twitter.