Towards a framework for the use of Social Media in Health Professional Education

Authors: U21 Social Media Steering Committee, September 2015

The intention of this document is to inform the U21 Health Science Group of the literature findings such that they may then be considered by staff and students across the network as they engage with SoMe within the learning environment.
SoMe is already ubiquitous in higher education learning environments and has been harnessed to enhance learning. However, without the sharing of best practice or the development of appropriate guidelines, SoMe can also impede learning and may even lead to legal and professional issues for staff and students. Therefore, it is now a necessity for educational institutions to develop flexible and dynamic SoMe policies. The vital ingredients to the success of such policies is proactive implementation, awareness, training and compliance management that focus not simply on the issues associated with SoMe, but also the great benefits that appropriate use may bring. In addition, Universities should try to find the equilibrium between the rigidity and clarity which ensures that guidelines are obeyed whilst ensuring a certain flexibility to protect the values and principles of SoMe.

U21 Social Media and Assessment Tool Kit (website)

Authors: U21 Social Media Steering Committee (led by the University of Melbourne)


On this site you will find everything from academics (who use social media in teaching, assessment and researching) to university students (who voice their experiences with social media in T&L). There are literature reviews, abstracts of interest, checklists, exemplars and debates about social media as an assessment tool. 


Student-led Workshop: Social Media in Health Professional Education: Opportunities and Pitfalls

Authors: Michael Slater, Karan D'Souza, Kendall Ho, University of British Columbia

Finding a balance between exploring the possibilities for personal and professional growth within social media, while avoiding sharing material that may be perceived as unprofessional by peers, faculty, or the public, is an ongoing challenge. This session, designed by UBC medical students, engages participants in investigating institutional guidelines, examining opportunities for networking and sharing information, and reflecting on their own attitudes and usage patterns in order to help them navigate the constantly changing landscape that is social media.

Student-led Video: Guidance on using Social Media for Dental Students

Author: Razia Butt, University of Birmingham

This video was created by dental students for dental students. It shows how to handle situations involving Social Media in accordance with the latest recommendations of the General Dental Council (UK) such as:

  • Maintain appropriate boundaries in the relationships with patients and other members of the team
  • Treat colleagues fairly and with respect, in all situations and all forms of interaction and communication
  • Do not identify patients if using Social Media professionally to discuss anonymized cases
  • Comply with any Internet and Social Media policy set out by your employer

Presentations of interest from U21 members

- Social Media in Health Leadership
Authors: Lucy Henningham, Rebecca Klajnblat, Michael Phoon & Sarah Retica, University of Melbourne

- Review of Social Networks used at Tecnologico de Monterrey
Author: Nallely Sarahi Lopez Garza, Tecnologico de Monterrey

- Using Social Media in a Simulation Module in Pharmacy
Author: Claire Anderson, University of Nottingham

- Use of Social Media in Inter-Professional Education
Author: Sukhveer Singh, University of Nottingham

Examples of policies and guidelines on the use of Social Media

- Canadian Medical Association - Social media and Canadian physicians: Issues and rules of engagement (2011)
- College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia - Corporate Policy on Social Media (March 2015)

- Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland - Social Media and Social Networking Guidance (June 2013)

United Kingdom:
- General Dental Council - Guidance on Using Social Media (June 2016)
- British Medical Association - Social Media Use: practical and ethical guidance for doctors and medical students
- NHS employers - Social Media guidelines and tools
- University of Nottingham - Social Media: Think Before You Post (September 2012)

- Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Social Media Policy (March 2014)