Meet the Local Stars of Medical TikTok

These Wisconsin-based TikTokers might just show up on your #fyp.


This story is part of our Top Docs feature from the May Issue of Milwaukee Magazine. To read our full guide to finding a physician, order your copy today


Thanks to telemedicine, it’s become normal to see your doctor outside the exam room. But what about encountering health care providers on social media? These days, TikTok doctors – not to mention nurses, physician assistants and even dentists – are finding new ways to educate people about health, their careers and everything in between. Two of them happen to live in the Milwaukee area. We chatted with 40-year-old Dr. Magnolia Printz, who has more than 800,000 TikTok followers, and 29-year-old PA Jimmy Gullberg, who’s amassed more than 130,000 fans.

MP: I joined TikTok in 2019 with the goal of educating people about anesthesiology and what I do for a living. I also use it to give people access to the life of a physician. When I was in first grade, I thought teachers lived at school, and I think people see health care professionals that way. I want to show people what it’s like to be a doctor, mom and wife, and how my personal life can contribute to my work as an anesthesiologist. I also try to use my story to inspire girls who look like me. Only 25% of anesthesiologists are female, and they’re usually not 5-foot-2 and Filipino.

JG: Storytelling is something I preach on my TikTok, too. I use the story of the underdog. I was put on academic probation my first year of college, and my adviser told me I’d never make it in the medical field. In 2020, during my last year of PA school, I started to make videos encouraging people who wanted to be PAs. I also do funny skits to use the creative side of my brain, which I never really used throughout my education. 

MP: You’re right, Jimmy. In health care we’ve been trained to be so logical. Finding ways to reach people about our profession is a good creative challenge for me, too. I often answer people’s questions from DMs or comments, whether about anesthesiology or my life as a doctor. 

JG: For me, a lot of TikTok ideas pop up when I’m working with patients. I’m always trying to find new ways to connect with people emotionally. People are so interested in our lives, but the trolls are crazy, whether people disparage the health care system or me personally. What’s been your experience with that, Maggie? 

MP: When I first joined TikTok, people thought it was unprofessional. And in Wisconsin, where people in health care know each other, it can feel more intense. I often disconnect from social media if things feel negative, but knowing how many people I’m able to reach makes it worth it. 

JP: Me too. I’ve had numerous messages from people telling me they were discouraged and that when they saw I had a low GPA too, they decided to go back to school and pursue a job in medicine. 

MP: It’s humbling. People watch what I put out there and make major decisions about their lives based on what I share, and that applies to health care decisions, too. I’ve had messages telling me “Thank you for debunking COVID-19 myths, I’m going to go get my shot and take my mom with me.” 

JG: I echo all of that. We care for people all day long, and I remember why I got in the field every time a patient thanks me for helping them. To be able to reach thousands with an encouraging word is amazing. I still haven’t wrapped my mind around it.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s May issue.

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