Shadowing a Doctor

January 15, 2014

It was inevitable – with everybody across the world ‘exposing’ their true selves on social networking sites, sooner or later their online profiles were bound to become the go-to places for potential employers to find out more about the individuals before hiring them. It wasn’t long before school admission committees got into the act too and began digging around for insider information on applicants in order to help them make their admission decisions. While some may argue that this is unethical and an unfair means of selection, medical schools argue that a social networking site is open to everyone and they have a right to access this information. This is still a grey area from legal and ethical standpoints so not much can be done to prevent it from happening. The best that you can do is to know how to manage your online profiles so they are least damaging to your credibility.  

Why use social networking sites at all?

A social networking site is an outlet for a lot of students. Here, they can express their feelings freely and communicate easily with people all around the world. An online profile essentially reflects your personality. For admissions committees looking for ideal students, students’ online profiles allow them to take a peek into the mind of the different applicants.

Nursing students learning from their mentor in Iringa Regional Hospital in Tanzania. What should you do about your social networking?

Just because schools are checking your profile, it does not mean that you should completely give up networking online. The two most important things you need to do are to be careful about what you post on your pages and to make sure that your pages are selectively accessible. Set your Facebook profile privacy settings in such a way that an outsider cannot access them. Get a non-controversial Twitter handle. Set up a LinkedIn profile. Not only can you put up your achievements and have an online professional profile on LinkedIn but you can also use this site to connect with other professionals in your field.

Whichever social networking site you use, make sure that there is no unwanted junk on any of your profiles. Clean up your profiles and make them as neat as possible. On Twitter, delete abusive or unethical tweets. On Instagram, try not to post pictures which will make you come across as weird, immature or unprofessional. If you started a blog that you never updated, delete it. You do not want your past mistakes to put a spoke in your future career.

Why should you keep a clean profile?

You may argue that your personal life is not any admission committee’s business. But think about it this way. If the admissions committee of a medical school found a post on Twitter by you which used abusive language and criticised their medical school, they wouldn’t want someone like that studying in their school.

Online profiles reflect the personality of an individual and it is important to make sure that everyone sees the good and positive things about you instead of the negative side. If you want medical schools to view you as a professional, you need to make sure that your online profiles show you as one. In fact, with a little bit of online management and the right strategy, you could actually increase your chances of getting into a good medical school by proclaiming your passion and interest in medicine for everyone to hear.