Medical students’ and residents’ use of online social networking tools: Implications for teaching professionalism in medical education

Richard E Ferdig, Kara Dawson, Erik W Black, Nicole M. Paradise Black, Lindsay A. Thompson


This study sought to determine if and how 501 medical students and 312 residents are using Facebook at a large university in the Southeastern United States. Results reveal that medical students and residents are using Facebook and about two-thirds of users maintain public profiles. While there is variation in the types of information provide within profiles, many medical students seem unaware of or unconcerned with the possible ramifications of sharing personal information in publicly-available online profiles even though such information could impact their professional lives. Thus, this study provides data based evidence that online tools such as social networking sites should become a part of the dialogue related to preparing future physicians to meet the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGE) professionalism competency.


social networking; Facebook; professionalism; medical education

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