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Recommendations for health care educators on e-professionalism and student behavior on social networking sites

Authors Yap K, Tiang YL

Received 12 January 2014

Accepted for publication 25 July 2014

Published 14 October 2014 Volume 2014:4 Pages 25—36


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Bethany Spielman

Kevin Yi-Lwern Yap, Yi Long Tiang

Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, Republic of Singapore

Background: The blurring of private and professional lives on social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook has led to ethical and professionalism concerns for health care professionals and students.
Aim: Using Facebook as the main subject for discussion, this article provides health care educators with several recommendations on what their students should know regarding e-professionalism and their behavior on SNSs.
Methods: Literature searches were carried out in PubMed from May 2013 to July 2014 based on the keywords “Facebook” and “pharmacy”. Articles were screened and filtered based on their titles and abstracts for studies addressing concerns about e-professionalism. Based on the major concerns identified and a review of cases from published literature, a set of recommendations were devised.
Results: These recommendations are related to issues on accountability, employability, privacy, distinctions between personal and professional identities, fitness to practice, and the need for guidance on e-professionalism. Health care students should be aware of guidelines and policies of unacceptable/unprofessional behavior on SNSs and accept accountability for their own actions and behavior online.
Conclusion: These recommendations are structured for educators who are dealing with these issues in their teaching practices and experiences, as well as to inform the teaching pedagogies of those who are into e-learning and developing courses that utilize social media and SNSs.

Keywords: e-professionalism, Facebook, health care education, social media guidelines, social networking sites

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