94.01 Medical Student Utilization of Social Media

D. Ruter1, L. A. Shirley2, C. Jones3  3Johns Hopkins University School Of Medicine,Department Of Surgery,Baltimore, MD, USA 1The Ohio State University College Of Medicine,Columbus, OH, USA 2The Ohio State University College Of Medicine,Department Of Surgery,Columbus, OH, USA

Introduction: A wide variety of social media platforms exist and are believed to be heavily utilized by medical students. However, although studies on professional student social media use have been conducted in other fields, professional and educational use of these platforms by medical students remains unknown. Medical schools have attempted to incorporate social media platforms into their curricula without adequate knowledge of the platforms students utilize for education purposes and their views on its use. As such, we sought to understand the usage patterns and opinions of social media by medical students for educational and professional purposes.

Methods: A ten question online survey was created and disseminated to the Deans of Student Affairs at all allopathic American Association of Medical College member schools for approval of participation. Upon approval, a short description of the study and survey link was emailed to the participating school’s students by the Dean. In addition to brief demographics, survey questions elicited what social media platforms students utilized for personal, educational, and professional purposes. Reasons for not utilizing social media for educational and professional purposes, and the perceived effect of social media on professional development were assessed. This study was approved by our institutional review board.

Results: Eight institutions agreed to participate and 715 students responded, a response rate of 14.5%. Ninety-one percent of respondents were between ages 21 to 28, and respondents from each of the four years of medical school made up at least 20% of the responses. The top three social media platforms used for any purpose were Facebook (94%), YouTube (77%), and Snapchat (72%). For educational purposes, 74% utilized YouTube and 48% used Facebook, with all other platforms used by less than 8% of students. Ten percent of respondents did not use social media educationally, citing a lack of perceived value and unknown quality of information. Forty percent of students responded that social media was not incorporated into their medical school curriculum. Forty-five percent of students do not use social media for professional networking, with two thirds of those respondents preferring a more traditional method of communication.

Conclusions: Social media platforms are used by 99% of medical students, with 90% doing so for educational purposes, and 55% for professional networking. Despite this large usage rate, many students state that social media is not incorporated into their curriculum. With this information, medical schools have the opportunity to improve incorporation of the specific social media platforms medical students already use into their education and professional development.