Survey of medical students' use of social media

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Abstract

Background:

Medical students are not sufficiently knowledgeable about the dangers of online social media, and education about how to use it responsibly may be beneficial.

Methods:

We conducted an online questionnaire to assess whether or not medical students in years 2–6 of study at the University of Oxford would intuitively know what doctors should and should not do on social media. We also assessed whether the study intervention of sending out guidance about appropriate use of social media published by the UK General Medical Council (GMC) would improve students' knowledge of how to use social media correctly.

Results:

We found that, although social media use was widespread among medical students, the majority were unaware of GMC guidance on this issue. Administration of GMC guidance significantly improved the proportion of GMC-correct responses in four of 16 questionnaire items.

Discussion:

It is possible that educating medical students about the dangers of online social media, and how to use it appropriately, could be worthwhile.

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