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JMIR Med Educ. 2016 Sep 12;2(2):e15.

Use of Social Media for Professional Development by Health Care Professionals: A Cross-Sectional Web-Based Survey.

Author information

1
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. hsobayel@ksu.edu.sa.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Social media can be used in health care settings to enhance professional networking and education; patient communication, care, and education; public health programs; organizational promotion; and research.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to explore the use of social media networks for the purpose of professional development among health care professionals in Saudi Arabia using a purpose-designed Web-based survey.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional web-based survey was undertaken. A link to the survey was posted on the investigator's personal social media accounts including Twitter, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp.

RESULTS:

A total of 231 health care professionals, who are generally social media users, participated in the study. Of these professionals, 70.6% (163/231) use social media for their professional development. The social media applications most frequently used, in the descending order, for professional development were Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. The majority of respondents used social media for professional development irrespective of their age group, with the highest proportion seen in those aged 20-30 years. Social media were perceived as being most beneficial for professional development in terms of their impact on the domains of knowledge and problem solving and least helpful for enhancing clinical skills. Twitter was perceived as the most helpful type of social media for all domains listed. Respondents most frequently reported that social media were useful for professional development for the reasons of knowledge exchange and networking.

CONCLUSIONS:

Social media are frequently used by health care professionals in Saudi Arabia for the purposes of professional development, with Twitter most frequently used for this purpose. These findings suggest that social media networks can be powerful tools for engaging health care professionals in their professional development.

KEYWORDS:

education, professional; health education; professional competence; social media

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