Objective: To characterize unprofessional content on public Facebook accounts of contemporary US urology residency graduates.
Methods: Facebook was queried with the names of all urologists who graduated from US urology residency programmes in 2015 to identify publicly accessible profiles. Profiles were assessed for unprofessional or potentially objectionable content using a prospectively designed rubric, based on professionalism guidelines by the American Urological Association, the American Medical Association, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Content authorship (self vs other) was determined, and profiles were reviewed for self-identification as a urologist.
Results: Of 281 graduates, 223 (79%) were men and 267 (95%) held MD degrees. A total of 201 graduates (72%) had publicly identifiable Facebook profiles. Of these, 80 profiles (40%) included unprofessional or potentially objectionable content, including 27 profiles (13%) reflecting explicitly unprofessional behaviour, such as depictions of intoxication, uncensored profanity, unlawful behaviour, and confidential patient information. When unprofessional content was found, the content was self-authored in 82% of categories. Among 85 graduates (42%) who self-identified as a urologist on social media, nearly half contained concerning content. No differences in content were found between men and women, MD and DO degree-holders, or those who did or did not identify as a urologist (all P > 0.05).
Conclusion: The majority of recent residency graduates had publicly accessible Facebook profiles, and a substantial proportion contained self-authored unprofessional content. Of those identifying as urologists on Facebook, approximately half violated published professionalism guidelines. Greater awareness of trainees' online identities is needed.
Keywords: graduate medical education; professionalism; residency; social media; unprofessional behaviour.
© 2017 The Authors BJU International © 2017 BJU International Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.