Social media and professional identity: Pitfalls and potential.Med Teach. 2018 02; 40(2):112-116.MT
Social media developments have completely changed how information is accessed and communicated. While great potential exists with these platforms, recent reports of online unprofessional behavior by doctors has threatened the medical professional identity; a matter of critical importance for clinicians and medical educators. This paper outlines a role for social media in facilitating support for clinicians and medical teachers; it will raise awareness of pitfalls and explain ethical and legal guidelines.
An analysis of inappropriate behaviors and conflicting attitudes regarding what is acceptable in online posts, including the inter-generational contrast in online presence and perceptions of where the boundaries lie.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Guidance documents are analyzed and potentially confusing and conflicting statements are identified and clarified. The authors believe that clinicians and medical students must follow ethical imperatives in both personal and professional spheres.
It is essential that medical educational and professional bodies encourage clinicians to support one another and share information online while providing clear legal and ethical advice on maintaining standards and avoiding common pitfalls. Education on the responsible use of social media and associated risk awareness should be a priority for medical school curricula.