RAS-ACS Symposium essays—Social media: Threat to professionalism and privacy or essential for current surgical practice?

Each year, the Advocacy and Issues Committee of the Resident and Associate Society of the American College of Surgeons (RAS-ACS) hosts a symposium at the Clinical Congress that features a debate on timely and controversial issues relevant to surgical training and practice. Based on input from RAS-ACS members across the nation, this year’s topic was Social Media—Threat to Professionalism and Privacy or Essential for Current Surgical Practice?

The ubiquity and importance of social media in our daily lives make it impossible to ignore these online tools and their applications in medical practice. Physicians in all practice settings may benefit from unprecedented opportunities to network with colleagues, engage patients, and participate in professional discussions and journal clubs. However, social media can also blur the boundaries between private and professional life, posing serious privacy challenges and even legal threats.

Resident members of the RAS-ACS participated in this discussion by submitting essays about the challenges and opportunities associated with social media use, and the winners of the essay competition were given the opportunity to participate in a live debate at the Clinical Congress 2015 in Chicago, IL. Following are the winning essays on this topic.

First-place essay—Pro: Social media: An essential tool for the academic surgeon

First-place essay—Con: The writing is on the (Facebook) wall: The threat posed by social media

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