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Medical Students, Online Privacy & Social Media

Posted Jun 19 2012 6:51am

As social media and social networks have increased in popularity over the last several years, so has the importance of being cautious when posting information online via personal social media accounts. An article posted on the Naked Security website, “How to teach tomorrow’s doctors about social media privacy,” says that medical schools and universities are increasingly implementing policies regulating social media use by their students. It would appear that these organizations are taking this step to protect these students from themselves. This increase in regulation and oversight seems to be necessary given the propensity of HR professionals to review social media profiles of job candidates.

The Naked Security article stresses that in order for medical students to fully understand the importance of maintaining a professional online persona, “ongoing vigilance is necessary.” It goes to say that “the digital professionalism framework cannot be taught once, or posted to a wall and expected to be followed.”  Instead, these lessons must be ingrained in students’ curriculum so that they may come to incorporate this sensitivity and awareness in their daily routine. An appreciation of the importance of professionalism within the online social sphere will serve these future physicians well when they truly enter the professional realm and have to carefully manage their online life.

What do you think? Are medical schools and universities overstepping their bounds by imposing social media policies on their students? Is this the right step to take? Is this an essential part of teaching future physicians about importance of online privacy? For more information on the topic and to read the Naked Security article, click here .

(Post written by Dan Dunlop with Charles Ramsey, Jennings Healthcare Marketing Intern and Wake Forest University student)


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