JOURNAL ARTICLE

Attitudes and practices of surgery residency program directors toward the use of social networking profiles to select residency candidates: a nationwide survey analysis

Pauline H Go, Zachary Klaassen, Ronald S Chamberlain
Journal of Surgical Education 2012, 69 (3): 292-300
22483127

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether residency program directors (PDs) of general surgery and surgical subspecialties review social networking (SN) websites during resident selection.

DESIGN: A 16-question survey was distributed via e-mail (Survey Monkey, Palo Alto, California) to 641 PDs of general surgery and surgical subspecialty residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

SETTING: Institutions with ACGME-accredited general surgery and surgical subspecialty residency programs.

PARTICIPANTS: PDs of ACGME-accredited general surgery and surgical subspecialty residency programs.

RESULTS: Two hundred fifty (39%) PDs completed the survey. Seventeen percent (n = 43) of respondents reported visiting SN websites to gain more information about an applicant during the selection process, leading 14 PDs (33.3%) to rank an applicant lower after a review of their SN profile. PDs who use SN websites currently are likely to continue (69%), whereas those who do not use SN currently might do so in the future (yes 5.4%, undecided 44.6%).

CONCLUSIONS: Online profiles displayed on SN websites provide surgery PDs with an additional avenue with which to evaluate highly competitive residency applicants. Applicants should be aware of the expansion of social media into the professional arena and the increasing use of these tools by PDs. SN profiles should reflect the professional standards to which physicians are held while highlighting an applicant's strengths and academic achievements.

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