Medical College of Wisconsin
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Erosion of Digital Professionalism During Medical Students' Core Clinical Clerkships. JMIR Med Educ 2017 May 03;3(1):e9 PMID: 28468745 PMCID: PMC5438450

Pubmed ID

28468745

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The increased use of social media, cloud computing, and mobile devices has led to the emergence of guidelines and novel teaching efforts to guide students toward the appropriate use of technology. Despite this, violations of professional conduct are common.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to explore professional behaviors specific to appropriate use of technology by looking at changes in third-year medical students' attitudes and behaviors at the beginning and conclusion of their clinical clerkships.

METHODS: After formal teaching about digital professionalism, we administered a survey to medical students that described 35 technology-related behaviors and queried students about professionalism of the behavior (on a 5-point Likert scale), observation of others engaging in the behavior (yes or no), as well as personal participation in the behavior (yes or no). Students were resurveyed at the end of the academic year.

RESULTS: Over the year, perceptions of what is considered acceptable behavior regarding privacy, data security, communications, and social media boundaries changed, despite formal teaching sessions to reinforce professional behavior. Furthermore, medical students who observed unprofessional behaviors were more likely to participate in such behaviors.

CONCLUSIONS: Although technology is a useful tool to enhance teaching and learning, our results reflect an erosion of professionalism related to information security that occurred despite medical school and hospital-based teaching sessions to promote digital professionalism. True alteration of trainee behavior will require a cultural shift that includes continual education, better role models, and frequent reminders for faculty, house staff, students, and staff.

Author List

Mostaghimi A, Olszewski AE, Bell SK, Roberts DH, Crotty BH

Author

Bradley H. Crotty MD Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin




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