Professional Use of Social Media Among Surgeons: Results of a Multi-Institutional Study

Justin P. Wagner, Amalia L. Cochran, Christian Jones, Niraj J. Gusani, Thomas K. Varghese, Deanna J. Attai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective: Among surgeons, professional use of social media (SM) is varied, and attitudes are ambiguous. We sought to characterize surgeons’ professional use and perceptions of SM. Design: Surgical faculty and trainees received institutional review board-approved e-mail surveys assessing SM usage and attitudes. Regression analyses identified predictors of SM attitudes and preference for professional contact. Setting: Surveys were administered to surgical faculty, fellows, and residents at 4 academic medical centers between January and April 2016. Participants: Of 1037 surgeons, clinical fellows, and residents e-mailed, 208 (20%) responded, including 132 faculty and 76 trainees. Results: Among 208 respondents, 46 (22%) indicated they preferred some form of SM as their preferred networking and communication modality. A total of 145 (70%) indicated they believe SM benefits professional development. The position of clinical resident predicted preference to maintain professional contact via SM (p = 0.03). Age <55 predicted positive attitude (p = 0.02) and rank of associate professor predicted negative attitude toward SM (p = 0.03). Lack of time as well as personal and patient privacy concerns were cited most commonly as reasons for not using SM. Conclusions: Most of surgeons responding to our survey used some form of SM for professional purposes. Perceived barriers include lack of value, time constraints, and personal and patient privacy concerns. Generational differences in surgeon attitudes suggest usage of SM among surgeons will expand over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-810
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of surgical education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Education


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