Teaching Digital/E-Professionalism: Reflections for deepening understanding of professional identity on social media
Nicholas Knowland, TUSM-Maine Track Program, M18
Ensuring the public trust in the medical profession is the reason for promoting professionalism as a key component of medical education. Therefore medical curricula place significant emphasis on the development of professional behaviors.
Digital professionalism, or e-professionalism, describes the increasing interaction of medical professionalism with the greater public through social media outlets. The terms are new but the reality that online images or postings can reflect on students or practitioners has been present for some time and is usually associated with negative connotations. This has resulted in what some authors have described as a ‘hidden curriculum of digital unprofessionalism’ in which digital unprofessionalism is punished but rarely overtly taught. Despite the consequences that digital unprofessionalism lead to for a clinical student or clinician, the academic literature is increasingly focusing on the positive opportunities associated with professional physician social media use, such as using social media to actively share quality information.