Pharmacy students' Facebook activity and opinions regarding accountability and e-professionalism

Am J Pharm Educ. 2009 Oct 1;73(6):104. doi: 10.5688/aj7306104.


Objective: To assess pharmacy students' Facebook activity and opinions regarding accountability and e-professionalism and determine effects of an e-professionalism education session on pharmacy students' posting behavior.

Methods: A 21-item questionnaire was developed, pilot-tested, revised, and administered to 299 pharmacy students at 3 colleges of pharmacy. Following a presentation regarding potential e-professionalism issues with Facebook, pharmacy students with existing profiles answered an additional question concerning changes in online posting behavior.

Results: Incoming first-year pharmacy students' Facebook usage is consistent with that of the general college student population. Male students are opposed to authority figures' use of Facebook for character and professionalism judgments and are more likely to present information they would not want faculty members, future employers, or patients to see. More than half of the pharmacy students planned to make changes to their online posting behavior as a result of the e-professionalism presentation.

Conclusions: There is high social media usage among pharmacy students and many do not fully comprehend the issues that arise from being overly transparent in online settings. Attitudes toward accountability for information supplied via social networking emphasize the need for e-professionalism training of incoming pharmacy students.

Keywords: Facebook; e-professionalism; online social networking; professionalism; technology.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Friends / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internet / ethics*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Professional Role
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Social Desirability
  • Social Perception
  • Social Responsibility
  • Social Support*
  • Software Design
  • Students, Pharmacy / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure
  • Young Adult