Are medical trainees and doctors prepared for the new social media frontier?

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  • Hanssen Tulia says:

    So weird. I was just searching for information about this stuff and you popped up. You must be doing something right. Thanks by the way, this really answered some questions I was throwing around in the back of my mind.

  • Sara Taylor (@SaraTMD) says:

    Thank you for opening up an important conversation with excellent points and comments. I joined Twitter 5 years ago when social media was uncertain territory for physicians. I also started a blog at the same time and my interest and enthusiasm for physician voices in social media has only grown. Like Pat I have spoken to groups about this topic before, and from my experience, uncertainty still exists around social media, especially Facebook. Given Twitter is a public platform, overall I think it is the best for physicians and trainees to leverage for professional and personal use. I completely agree that more guidance is needed for medical trainees as they are in a unique situation given their professional formation. However, I have observed some great medical student and resident role models on Twitter. Some of the greatest lessons come from observing colleagues who are active on these platforms.

    The pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to physicians and medical trainees engaging on social media, in particular Twitter. One quick tip I would give anyone who is considering social media as a professional – don’t be anonymous. If you are concerned about what you are saying online, and therefore remaining anonymous, maybe it shouldn’t be said.

    Thanks again for the great article!

  • Pat Rich (@pat_health) says:

    As someone who has lectured to medical students and physicians on the appropriate professional use of social media I believe social media tools and platforms – and especially Twitter – can be very useful for those who take the trouble to learn how to use them appropriately. Being professional and respecting patient confidentiality and privacy are key … but these values are no different from those that physicians and students should bring to bear on our aspects of their professional life. More education in medical school is needed to help medical students and residents use social media without getting in to trouble. Social media are just forms of communication like any other but there are unique aspects that should be understood in order not to get into trouble. But as the CEO of the Canadian Medical Protective Association has said, every physician should have a better understanding of social media even if they choose not to use these platforms themselves.

    • Helene Retrouvey says:

      Thank you Pat Rich for your comment.
      We agree that all physicians and trainees should have an understanding of appropriate social media use regardless of their choice to use this platform. We hope this article will generate discussion and promote education in this field.


Helene Retrouvey


Helene Retrouvey is a third year resident in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Toronto.

Annie Wang


Annie Wang is a Resident physician in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at University of Toronto.

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