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Postgrad Med J. 2013 Mar;89(1049):126-30. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2012-131283. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Influence of social networking websites on medical school and residency selection process.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, PO Box 016960 (D-40), Miami, FL 33101, USA. CSchulman@med.miami.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Social networking (SN) has become ubiquitous in modern culture. The potential consequences of revealing personal information through SN websites are not fully understood.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess familiarity with, usage of, and attitudes towards, SN websites by admissions offices at US medical schools and residency programmes.

METHODS:

A 26-question survey was distributed in autumn 2009 to 130 US medical school admissions officers and 4926 residency programme directors accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

RESULTS:

A total of 600 surveys were completed, with 46 (8%) respondents who self-identified as reviewing only medical school applications, 511 (85%) who reported reviewing residency programme applications and 43 (7%) who reported reviewing both. 90/600 (15%) medical schools or programmes maintain profiles on SN websites and 381/600 (64%) respondents reported being somewhat or very familiar with searching individual profiles on SN websites. While a minority of medical schools and residency programmes routinely use SN websites in the selection process (53/600; 9%), more than half of respondents felt that unprofessional information on applicants' SN websites could compromise their admission into medical school or residency (315/600; 53%).

CONCLUSIONS:

SN websites will affect selection of medical students and residents. Formal guidelines for professional behaviour on SN websites might help applicants avoid unforeseen bias in the selection process.

PMID:
23139411
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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