Camera for adventure

Influencer Mama Doctor Jones accepts position at Invercargill

She works in large hospitals in the United States, talks about taboo health topics with her 2 million followers and argues with four children. Today, the great influencer doctor Danielle Jones occupies a post at the hospital of Southland, writes Alanah Eriksen.

Walking down a hospital corridor in his gowns, camera in selfie mode with Megan Thee Stallion’s Sex Talk song being played, the doctor asks his followers the question.

“The condom broke… what now? “

Take Plan B (aka the morning after pill) within three days, she says, which can be up to 95% effective, but if you don’t have a period in two weeks, call your doctor.

The single video has so far racked up 13 million views on TikTok – where users are predominantly teenagers and young adults – and is the work of outspoken American medical influencer Dr Danielle Jones aka Mama Doctor Jones.

During the day, she gives birth and treats pregnant women as a locum obstetrician gynecologist at various US hospitals, but in her spare time Jones is in front of the camera talking about sex and reproductive issues.

On YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, she has over 2 million subscribers and is part of a growing list of medical professionals whose side-bustle brings their health knowledge to the masses. New Zealand already has a few, including midwives Katie Hawkey and Carmen Lett and anesthesiologist Dr Morgan Edwards.

Jones, 35, uses his platforms to answer uncomfortable questions (“is vaginal discharge normal”), dispel misinformation (“vaccination against Covid-19 does not cause infertility”) and make demonstrations (“how to place a tampon without pain” – using a plastic bottle).

“Our twins left public school for spring break in March 2020 and were never able to go back, no goodbye to their friends or anything.”

Instead, Jones began working as a substitute in the Texas Labor and Delivery Units.

“Obviously, my daily professional life has changed dramatically. We mask 24/7 in the hospital and our family masks whenever we are in the crowd outside or enter a public space. Even my 2 year old, who was 17 months old when the pandemic started, is a masquerading pro now. “

Late last year, Jones started to get congested and had headaches, but initially attributed her symptoms to allergies. Later, as she cleaned the bathroom, she found it difficult to breathe. Her husband thought she was having an asthma attack, triggered by the strong-smelling cleaning product she was using.

But Jones told her she couldn’t smell it, then realized it was probably because she had lost her sense of smell, a symptom of Covid-19. Her result was confirmed by a test and her husband started to feel unwell.

Exhaustion followed and Jones described the illness as “much worse than the flu”.

“As we lived in a town where we didn’t know anyone, we had no one to take the children and they were also exposed and infected. Luckily the children were not very sick at all and seemed to be fine. out. I’m so grateful that we all recovered, but it was absolutely terrifying and difficult during those weeks, and for me, the months of difficulty breathing that followed. “

The family eventually made it to Hawaii in May this year, once the island’s borders opened. Jones estimates that they lived in around 15 AirBnbs.

The family’s lifestyle wouldn’t be possible without the “incredibly supportive” husband of training software developer Jones.

“He’s a very involved dad and we both love being nomadic and having a big family. He’s incredibly smart and very good at what he does, although over the past year he’s sacrificed himself. so that our family can live this lifestyle by educating our four kiddos while we travel. “

“Lots and lots of paperwork”

Trying to find an obstetrician-gynecologist in New Zealand is hard enough. But launch yourself into a global pandemic and it’s even more difficult.

The occupation is on Immigration New Zealand’s skills shortage list. Southern District Health Board chief medical officer Dr Nigel Millar told the Herald that when recruiting local applicants are always considered first, but there are only four applicants in total, all from abroad.

Jones is now in the process of having the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists approve her medical license and consultant qualifications.

“The next step will be to apply as a family for a work visa in my name,” Jones said.

“After applying for a visa, we can apply for an emergency MIQ or MIQ, then once approved, we can book flights and plan the move, then spend two weeks in a hotel room with four small children. . It is a very complex and trying process. Now. “

She was due to start work in August, but the date was pushed back to September.

“We have run into some red tape with the pandemic regulations and everything is moving slowly, so I don’t know if it will be October or November now. Hopefully this year.”

So what does Jones’ boss think of his new hire who draws so many followers to the small New Zealand town? Millar says it’s customary for senior physicians to speak publicly about things related to their professional experience.

“Society is changing and the traditional media of newspapers and broadcast media are being added and in some cases being overtaken by social media. It makes perfect sense and sense for healthcare professionals to use it to inform, educate and support the community on important health issues. Dr Jones is obviously very experienced and knowledgeable in this area.

“We discussed the use of social media with Dr Jones, noting that it is an element of his practice. No specific limits have been set. Dr Jones is a professional and has an understanding depth of how to use social media for health promotion. We look forward to learning from her experience. “

Southern DHB employees must follow a set of social media guidelines set by the Department of Health, he said. They include lines like “If you have a problem at work, try to handle it in the usual internal way with your manager rather than airing your concerns.” And “Remember, search engines never forget; everything you post stays online for a long time. Think before posting something that you might regret later ”.

In his new role, Jones will undertake gynecologic surgery, colposcopy, outpatient clinics and obstetrics.

“She has been showing interest in joining Southern for several years now, and this position has come at the right time for both of us,” said Millar. “He is an enthusiastic, patient-centered person who we believe would be a great member of our team.”

The Joneses hope three of their children can be vaccinated before they arrive in the country – Pfizer and Moderna have expanded the studies to include children aged 5 to 11.

“We are incredibly grateful for the vaccinations, even though it has been a difficult road to convince many of my patients, friends, family to get them vaccinated. We are very excited that we will be able to get our children vaccinated soon.”

When the family arrives here, Jones hopes to enroll three of her children in a local school and her husband plans to work while he is here.

“As a web developer he has a lot of skills that are very beneficial for my social media presence. So the plan is to dive into website and app development ObGyn, period, pregnancy and for the brand. MDJ. “

Although he lives and works in some large cities and hospitals, particularly Austin, Jones is used to small towns. She was born in Borger, a small town in Texas (13,251 inhabitants against 57,000 for Invercargill).

They haven’t found accommodation yet but will likely find a hotel or rental for a month or two before finding a long-term living situation.

The weather for the city of Southland will be a great adjustment with Texas temperatures currently hitting 40C.

“But the children are really looking forward to going back to school, especially Milo, who is expected to start kindergarten. [the first year of primary school] soon and I can’t wait for them to have a little more normalcy. “

Mildred Lasky

The author Mildred Lasky