As medical schools become more competitive, it is expected that social media will have an increasingly important role to play in admissions and orientation.
Currently med schools are using social media in a variety of ways including:
- sharing information & resources
- collaborating on projects
- promoting activities & events
- sharing employment opportunities
In 2010, researchers at The George Washington University School of Medicine reported that 126 of 134 (95%) U.S. medical schools have a Facebook presence, with either a school-supported page, a medical student formed group, or alumni group, and social networking guidelines are useful tools to appropriately outline what is expected of students
Here’s a quick look at what one med school is doing.
University of Michigan Medical School
While many med schools have begun using social media in their application process, the University of Michigan has enjoyed a successful experience on several social sites. Their Twitter account and Facebook page are fun places to hang out with various pop quizes, tips, questions and other interesting content to keep students enthused and engaged with life at Ann Arbor.
The school also has regular chats with potential applicants to answer any questions they may have. Lisa Rudgers, the University of Michigan’s vice president for global communications stated that, “Universities are talking to and communicating with younger audiences. And for younger audiences, social media are the platforms.”
Potential Issues for Med Schools
Despite the many positive ways in which social media can be used in medical school communities, there are potential problems that come with the territory:
- Ethical considerations (i.e. privacy issues, inappropriate posts and pictures, faculty/student interactions, physician/patient interactions)
- What is shared on social media is public knowledge – how will this affect a school’s professional image? There have been instances where students posted content (including pictures) that were not only inappropriate, but also seriously undermined the professionalism of respectable graduate schools.
Med School Social Media policies
Medical schools and their students are using social media. Almost all US medical schools have a Facebook presence, yet most do not have policies addressing student online social networking behavior.
While social media use rises, policy informing appropriate conduct in medical schools lags behind. Developing social media policies at medical schools can provide sound guidelines for students to adopt, while also preventing or reducing future crises from happening.
Over to you: What potential do you see for social media in U.S. medical schools?