This may have been a conscious decision in some cases, but more likely it reflects a widespread ignorance of the enhanced privacy settings that are available.
Students are using these networking tools to show their support for causes, exchange answers to exam questions, and disseminate course notes, in addition to sharing the mandatory photos of alcohol fuelled antics.
“Without it you wouldn’t know what was going on,” said a student at St George’s Medical School, London.
There are no prizes for guessing that the default situation is to share information with users and advertisers alike.
Aside from the risk of identity theft (two in five Facebook profiles reveal information that can be used to set up bank accounts and so on), it is the professional implications that are of greatest concern to the medical community.
Some include: The majority of current expert opinion advises caution in the use of social media, emphasizing that the risks of interacting with patients in online social forums may outweigh potential benefits.
In fact, some contend that absolute separation of personal and professional life is virtually impossible and recommend only a professional presence online. “Protect general practice” groups had 5,000 members from diverse clinical and non-clinical backgrounds, including some of the few specialist registrars making use of the technology. In a quick survey, 36 regional groups of trainee general practitioners were found, and these are often open to all to observe, interact with, and market to.You could even join the General Medical Council’s Facebook group and continue the discussion there, Similar recommendations have been previously endorsed or suggested by others from disciplines that include surgery, psychiatry, internal medicine, and pediatrics.A number of practical suggestions for the social networking savvy professional can be found in the multitude of articles on this topic available in the literature.Recently the Highland Deanery suspended a trainee in general surgery for “scatological” comments made about a senior medical colleague in an online discussion, which was seen by a concerned friend who felt duty bound to take action.