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0119 Staying professional on social media: The simulated facebook pages and a mock disciplinary hearing
  1. Sandra Collins,
  2. Kyron Chambers,
  3. Nicola Crowther,
  4. Kevin Jones
  1. The Great Western Hospital Academy, University of Bristol, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK


Background 100% of medical students use Facebook, 88% of whom have viewed a colleague acting unprofessionally on Facebook.1,2 Formal complaints of healthcare professionals acting unprofessionally on social media are rapidly increasing.3,4 However, only 26% of medical students were aware of any relevant advice or guidelines.1,2 Our aim was to increase awareness of the importance of staying professional on Facebook and of how to access support and advice

Methodology Our simulated tutorial was delivered to clinical medical students on placement in our Trust. Our faculty designed five fictional cases, based on real, high-profile cases, where a medic’s unprofessional use of social media has been investigated. We created a simulated Facebook page for each of the cases. After a tutorial, the students were allocated in small groups to one of the five cases. Once they had prepared their case, they came to a simulated disciplinary hearing, with a mock panel. They presented their case to the panel and the group debated key points.

Results Quantitative (10-point Likert) and qualitative (free text box) feedback was collected using an anonymous, paper questionnaire. Students (n = 26) feedback a 7.29/10 change in the way that they think about Facebook. Their awareness of what is considered unprofessional increased by 2.15/10 (from 6.26 to 8.42, p-value < 0.0001). Students’ awareness of implications of unprofessional use increased by 2.76/10 (5.53 to 8.30, p-value < 0.0001). There was an increased awareness of 2.88/10 (4.88 to 7.76, p-value < 0.0001) of how to access support and advice. Students who were not aware of their privacy settings stated that they would review them. Comments included; “excellent session, really useful,” “opportunity to apply principles to cases” and “very relevant session, will go and check my profile now!”

Recommendations We hope to deliver these simulated cases through high-fidelity, simulated disciplinary hearings to further undergraduate and postgraduate students in more trusts.


  1. Rileey B. The Social Media Highway Code, Royal College of General Practitioners. 2013

  2. Osman A. Is it time for medicine to update its Facebook status? Br Med J. 2011;343:d6334

  3. Rimmer A. Doctors’ concerns over social medical use continue to rise. BMJ Careers 2014

  4. Rimmer A. Use of Facebook and Twitter leads to 28 GMC complaints against doctors. BMJ Careers 2014.

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