Every action from now on will reflect on your professional career as a doctor. All your behaviours should be modified with this in mind, and this will include the way in which you interact with others (patients, lecturers, librarians, colleagues) as well as in the way in which you dress. There are dress codes for students - if you have not already received this, please ask at the Faculty Offices. What you do now as a student doctor may have severe consequences for you later on in your professional careers. This will include your use of social media.
Take a few moments to reflect on the following questions, and ask yourself if your social media history is appropriate to your career as a medical student:
Doctors and medical students have an ethical obligation to protect patient confidentiality, even on the Internet through social media, on blogs or on web forums. Medical students often have privileges and responsibilities that are different from those of students in other subject disciplines, and different and more stringent standards are expected of them in consequence. Social media can blur the boundaries between private and professional lives, and the lines between free speech and inappropriate or unprofessional behaviour are increasingly fuzzy.
In particular, medical students who post comments expressing profanity, discriminatory or racial remarks, or photographs showing illegal substance abuse or intoxication may find themselves subject to disciplinary action. Organisations are also increasingly using the web to scan for information about prospective employees.
Consult the SAMA/BMA Guide, Using Social Media: Practical and Ethical Guide for Doctors and Medical Students for excellent guidance on this topical but controversial issue.
The Internet has blurred the boundaries not only between what is public and what is private, but what is "mine" and what is "yours" - in other words, what can be used freely because it is in the public domain, and what needs to be acknowledged (referenced or cited) because although it is published on the Internet or electronically, the content belongs to someone else.
Avoid plagiarism at all costs! Click on the drop down arrow on the tab Using Social Media Responsibly, or click on the link below to find more information on how to avoid plagiarism.