Background Social media(SM) use is increasing in doctors and patients, leading the GMC to publishing guidance in 2013. Complaints related to SM use are steadily increasing, with the harmful effects of complaints of physicians well recognised.
Aims To explore the current usage and observed behaviours in paediatric registrars and report unprofessional behaviours observed
Methods Survey of paediatric registrars attending regional study day. Data collected on 1) current usage of SM and 2) reportedbehaviour perceived as unprofessional by others
Results All 52 completed the survey, response rate of 100%. Of these 96% reported using SM (50/52). 33% (17/52) reported observed unprofessional behaviours in colleagues. 10/17 of these completed free text descriptions outlining the unprofessional behaviour; which 50% (5/10) reported breaches of patient confidentiality (such as patient details and identifiable details posted), 10% (2/10) offensive language, 30% (3/10) affiliation with deanery/profession such as ‘moaning about the job’ and public complaints about colleagues, 20% (2/10) comments relating to industrial action. 12% (2/17) were aware of professional effects as a result of inappropriate social media usage such as complaints or reprimand by deanery/GMC.
Conclusion Most doctors from this group used SM; higher than previous studies. The rate of unprofessional behaviour within this cohort is significantly higher than previous reports. The type of unprofessional behaviour reported is more commonly associated with patient confidentiality compared with previous US studies. Given the increasing complaints to the GMC regarding SM usage, there is a current need to increase awareness of published guidance and potential professional and personal effects of SM misuse. Further studies are needed to further explore the 1) awareness of published guidance, 2) understand the current usage of social media 3) explore potential benefits of social media in postgraduate educational training.
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