The Effectiveness of a Brief Social Media and E-Professionalism Educational Session for Physical Therapist Students

Purpose : With the rapid growth of social media (SM) in the past 10 years, concerns have arisen about the implications of SM related to confidentiality and professionalism, particularly with regard to health care students. College students and health care students have both been shown to have high levels of SM use and awareness of available privacy controls, but much lower utilization of privacy controls. Several studies have revealed high levels of unprofessional behaviors by health care students on SM sites. Currently, it is recommended that academic programs educate students regarding the possible impact of social networking on their professional image. However there are no published research studies investigating the impact of SM and e-professionalism education sessions (EES) on the behavior and perceptions of physical therapist students. The purpose of this study is to describe the impact of a brief EES on students in an entry-level educational program.Description : An EES was developed as part of a first semester professional issues course. Session content included: scope of internet use and relation to health care information/services, professionalism in electronic communications, response to inappropriate online postings, confidentiality issues, and digital footprint management. The 75 minute session was conducted using lecture, discussion, demonstration, and Facebook case analysis. A Facebook profile was developed to illustrate lapses of professionalism and confidentiality. Descriptive data was obtained from pre- and post-session surveys regarding student SM usage, observation of online unprofessional behaviors, and understanding of PT program classification of unprofessional online behaviors.Summary of Use : Of the students who responded to the survey, 76.7% (56/73) reported observation of unprofessional online behaviors prior to the EES. The most frequent behaviors identified included: drinking/drug use 96.4% (54/56), profanity 69.6% (39/56), sexually suggestive content 37.5% (21/56), and inappropriate comments about faculty 28.6% (16/56). While 100% of students (73/73) reported being aware of the privacy settings for their chosen form of SM and 97.3% (71/73) chose to use privacy settings prior to the EES, 55.7% (39/70) reported a change in online behavior after the EES. The most frequent changes reported were: checked privacy settings (34.3%, 24/70), changed privacy settings (30%, 21/70) , and Googled themselves (28.6%, 20/70) after the EES. In response to the question ÒI understand what the PT program would classify as unacceptable online behavior,Ó 62.5% of students (45/72) indicated that they agreed or strongly agreed berfore the EES while 84.3% of students (59/70) agreed or strongly agreed after the EES.Importance to Members: An EES may be useful to impact student online behavior and student understanding of the academic programÕs classification of inappropriate online behavior.

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  • Control #: 1725114
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Karen K. Morren, Kimberly Steinbarger
  • Keywords: social media|online behavior|professionalism education

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