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  • Med students cop to posting 'inappropriate' content

    Author: AAP

Some medical students are ignoring social media guidelines by posting inappropriate material online, a survey shows.

More than a third of medical students post inappropriate material, mainly depicting intoxication, to their social media accounts, according to an Australian survey.

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The voluntary online survey, held during six months in 2013, was completed by 880 of the 16,993 medical students then enrolled nationally.

The results, published online in the Medical Journal of Australia, revealed 306 students reported posting unprofessional content, despite widespread awareness of guidelines on social media use and online professionalism.

The content mainly related to intoxication (301 students), illegal drug use (14) or patient information (14), said Drs Christopher Barlow and Stewart Morrison from The Alfred and St Vincents hospitals in Melbourne.

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"Posting of unprofessional content was associated with evidence of posting of alcohol use and racist content online, MySpace use, and planning to change one's profile name after graduation," the researchers wrote.

But they noted that completing the survey prompted 35 per cent of the students to change their social media account privacy settings.

"This suggests that the reminder to do so, combined with reflecting on a desirable public image, may be a simple and effective intervention," they wrote.

"Medical educators should consider approaches beyond simply providing guidelines or policies, and students should be regularly prompted to reflect on their activities, to evaluate their online behaviours, and to temper them if appropriate."

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