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Use of Social Media while studying/practicing Medicine

Written by Conrad Hayes · Monday 25th March 2013

This guidance was released today in the UK and if you haven't read it, it comes into effect in April and essentially is saying: we are allowed to maintain private online social profiles but must be aware if patients can access these and how we handle it if they contact us; any opinions voiced we have to make it clear it is our own and conduct yourself online as you would face to face with regards to confidentiality and boundaries.

This is quite interesting for me, as in our medical school there have been select cases of social media being used in disciplinary processes and I know myself that some of the photos I had on Facebook (I have deleted it) were not exactly portraying myself as the 100% professional doctor the GMC would love me to be.

But then reading the guidance, it makes no mention of content from when you were younger. When I'm an F1 will anybody really care about the drunk photos of me from freshers week 6 years ago and will these be taken out of context? I get the impression most people won't, but some might.

I really think they should have put a summarising take-home message in there somewhere: don't take the p**s, think before you post, don't give out medical advice as anything but your opinion and you'll be fine.