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Educ Health (Abingdon). 2019 Jan-Apr;32(1):33-35. doi: 10.4103/efh.EfH_232_17.

Digital professional identity: Dear Internet! Who am I?

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Department of Anatomy, HBS Medical and Dental College, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto University, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Institute of Health Professions Education and Research, Khyber Medical University, Peshawar, Pakistan.
Riphah Academy for Research and Education, Riphah International University, Islamabad, Pakistan.



There is an emphasis on identity formation to complement the competency-based medical education in tomorrow's doctors, with a focus from "doing" to "being," to deeply learn the role as a health professional. Medical students spend a considerable time on internet-based online social networking platforms. These internet-based avenues can have certain implications in the formation of their identity.


The aim of this article is to discuss a highly significant way to form the professional identity that is through online social networking, which can be labeled as digital professional identity (DPI).


DPI is defined as "professional identity that develops through internet-based social interactions by utilizing online platforms and communication tools." Medical students develop certain constituents of professionalism as part of their lifelong professional identity during the course of their graduation. They learn the professional ways and means to communicate on internet-based social media platforms, which affect their professional identities.


We suggest to provide institutional guidance for the medical students regarding the usage of social networking sites and forming their DPIs as a medical professional by explaining the related advantages and disadvantages. In addition, accreditation bodies need to incorporate the aspect of DPI in their competencies for professionalism.


Digital; doctors; health professional; identity; identity formation; medical students; online social networking; professional

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