SLUser11

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I stumbled across the attached article in this month's Journal of Surgical Education. I admit that I had previously dismissed student fears that PDs are looking at the facebook pictures/posts and passing judgment. I guess they really are doing this.

Well, one thing is for sure: Medical Students should change their privacy settings to "Friends Only" and clean up any sketchy material prior to the interview season.

I'm sort of laughing internally as I post this because I know it is going to increase paranoia and general anal tone on this forum (re: poster anonymity), but I thought the group would want to know.

:oops:
 

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filter07

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Many of my med students change their name to reduce this behavior. My attending from 5 years ago told me he had a Facebook account to look up applicants.
 
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SLUser11

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My attending from 5 years ago told me he had a Facebook account to look up applicants.
Sounds like a forward thinker....a true innovator. He was cruising facebook while most other caveman PDs were still yahoo-searching applicants.

It brings up an interesting dilemma. It's becoming increasingly difficult to separate our personal lives from our professional lives. However, I think it's fair to expect a certain level of professionalism from residency applicants....maybe take down the pictures of the funny-but-inappropriate Halloween costume, or pics from your college trip to Cancun. Even if your privacy status is "friends-only" I think some things might otherwise slip through.

The hardest part for some people will be putting a lid on all the super-interesting things they want to share, simultaneously funny and profound, on Facebook and Twitter....be it politics, pop culture, or whatever. Social media has convinced the common man that he is witty and his opinion is necessary...at least among my facebook friends.

On the next level, we have to deal with the same thing, as patients and employers are utilizing the same websites to determine if we're competent physicians.
 

Picchu127

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Pretty much everyone I know changed their name--at least getting rid of last name in some form for the interview season---Im slowly seeing them change back now that the match is over
 

Oxer45

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At my program, we've looked up applicants. It's part of the new world.
The new fad is to pay online search companies for "complete profile" which takes all social websites, including facebook, blogs, twitter, and compiles that info.

Pretty much everyone I know changed their name--at least getting rid of last name in some form for the interview season---Im slowly seeing them change back now that the match is over
A smart PD would go to facebook lists like "Univ of ___ Class of 2012" and look up the student even if the name changed. (obviously this is only doable for few candidates)

Are we also forgetting that facebook is a great marketing tool for candidates. You can show off your volunteer work in 3rd world countries by having photos. Indicate that you're a well rounded person by having a good "about me" section. I though the whole point of candiate interviews was to show you're a normal person who would work well with others. Facebook can help you in that respect.
 

LucidSplash

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I didn't change my name for interview season 2 years ago, but many of my friends did. The fad seemed to be going with your middle name and your mother's maiden name for your pseudonym. There isn't really anything picture or opinion-wise of facebook that I wouldn't want a superior to see, but mine tends to be pretty locked down anyway.

I did, however, leave the residency "group" that our PC maintains for keeping in contact with alumni and residents and removed the name of my program and hospital from the "employment" section after a new social media policy was released by the hospital last fall. It has many "common sense" requirements for avoiding HIPAA violations and maintaining professionalism but it also has some fairly draconian features such as requiring that, for anyone identified as an employee, resident, etc of the institution in any way, all independent opinions expressed on any social media site (including this one) be followed with a disclaimer that "my thoughts and views are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC hospital or residency." Since I'm not about to start appending this disclaimer to every post I make on facebook, I cleansed my profile (as much as possible with an entity that logs everything you do) of any association with the hospital or program. I have considered removing my location from my SDN sidebar and being more reticent about naming my program/area, all of which is unfortunate as I am almost unfailingly positive about both. However, I know there have been posters on SDN that had to suspend activity due to pressure from their PDs and I'd rather not get into a situation where I feel like I'm getting that kind of pressure. I tend to get my hackles up about that sort of thing and limiting my ability to express my opinion about anything just because I'm also a resident is just the kind of battle I would probably pick (admittedly to my detriment).

"The views expressed on this post [especially those related to the draconian nature of certain policies] are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of [my program or any of the hospitals where I train]."
 

Winged Scapula

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Social media has convinced the common man that he is witty and his opinion is necessary...at least among my facebook friends.
Just what are you saying here? Don't you find my status updates witty and relevant? :laugh:

When you first stated that you thought FB lock down was unnecessary, I disagreed with you, assuming that if *I* was looking up candidates years ago (and continue to do so), then I couldn't possibly be the only forward thinker.
 

turkeyjerky

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So here's a question for you all. Do you think that trolling facebook to check out applicants actually adds anything significant to the decision making process? I mean, outside of frankly illegal (eg snorting coke) or disgusting (flashing swastikas) behavior, should any of those facebook photos or comments make a difference?
 
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SLUser11

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Just what are you saying here? Don't you find my status updates witty and relevant? :laugh:

When you first stated that you thought FB lock down was unnecessary, I disagreed with you, assuming that if *I* was looking up candidates years ago (and continue to do so), then I couldn't possibly be the only forward thinker.
Your FB stuff is good....it's my friends that use it as a political soapbox, outlet for angry rants, or a template for their recycled jokes that bother me.

I will admit that I was completely wrong about Facebook and the match. I just didn't think PDs were using it...it would take so much time to research people on there. I would hypothesize that PDs are mostly looking at their TOP candidates to make sure there are no red flags...so Facebook can likely only hurt you.

So here's a question for you all. Do you think that trolling facebook to check out applicants actually adds anything significant to the decision making process? I mean, outside of frankly illegal (eg snorting coke) or disgusting (flashing swastikas) behavior, should any of those facebook photos or comments make a difference?
According to the paper I cited, more than 30% of PDs trolling facebook have altered their rank lists based on their findings. There's plenty of pictures and quotes/rants that PDs would deem inappropriate or unprofessional without involving Nazis or cocaine use.

Potential red flags (fair or not):
1. Sexual posts/pics
2. inappropriate jokes
3. excessive drinking/partying
4. Anything that somehow contradicts how you portrayed yourself in the interview...after all, inconsistency in itself is a red flag.
 

cpants

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So here's a question for you all. Do you think that trolling facebook to check out applicants actually adds anything significant to the decision making process? I mean, outside of frankly illegal (eg snorting coke) or disgusting (flashing swastikas) behavior, should any of those facebook photos or comments make a difference?
It probably doesn't add meaningful information to your file, but it may indeed significantly alter the decision process. And it's fair game. You have to assume that anything you put out there on the internet can and will be accessed by potential employers. I think a lot of people think there is nothing on their facebook page that could be construed as negative. For almost everyone that is probably not the case. You don't realize how much content is actually on there, including stuff that other people posted on your page, videos, links, comments, old photos, etc.

It's also your personal content and has emotional meaning to you. It's hard to be objective about it. You look at those photos/links and think "oh that was a fun family reunion/weekend with friends/trip to the beach" or "yeah, Obama did a great job endorsing gay marriage". An observer who doesn't know you might think something like "This guy always has a beer in his hand" or "she seems really political" or some other judgment.

Best bet is to lock it down with privacy settings and fake names or delete it altogether.
 

OtoHNS

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Applicants also should make sure the email address they list on their residency application is different from the one they use to login to FB. The easiest way to find somebody on FB is to search for their email...

Or you could just make sure only your friends can see your profile. Not that hard to do.
 

coldleg

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Or you could just make sure only your friends can see your profile. Not that hard to do.
This. Never understood the whole name change thing when you can just adjust your privacy settings to lockdown mode.
 

SnowyRox

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This. Never understood the whole name change thing when you can just adjust your privacy settings to lockdown mode.
Because that is not foolproof and some paid searches somehow penetrate that restriction.

... I don't know how they do it and don't care how true it is because it's not a big deal for me to edit my name.
 

45408

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So here's a question for you all. Do you think that trolling facebook to check out applicants actually adds anything significant to the decision making process? I mean, outside of frankly illegal (eg snorting coke) or disgusting (flashing swastikas) behavior, should any of those facebook photos or comments make a difference?
I don't.

According to the paper I cited, more than 30% of PDs trolling facebook have altered their rank lists based on their findings. There's plenty of pictures and quotes/rants that PDs would deem inappropriate or unprofessional without involving Nazis or cocaine use.

Potential red flags (fair or not):
1. Sexual posts/pics
2. inappropriate jokes
3. excessive drinking/partying
4. Anything that somehow contradicts how you portrayed yourself in the interview...after all, inconsistency in itself is a red flag.
Which is lame, because you really can't tell some of those things from pictures on someone's profile. People take pictures when they're out with friends, not so much when they're studying hard, working long hours, paying their taxes or mowing the lawn. I perused my profile pictures just now, and I would definitely come off as much more of a skier/vacationer/partier in years past than reality would remotely reflect. My pictures now of course are liberally dowsed with my children...

I have considered removing my location from my SDN sidebar and being more reticent about naming my program/area, all of which is unfortunate as I am almost unfailingly positive about both. However, I know there have been posters on SDN that had to suspend activity due to pressure from their PDs and I'd rather not get into a situation where I feel like I'm getting that kind of pressure. I tend to get my hackles up about that sort of thing and limiting my ability to express my opinion about anything just because I'm also a resident is just the kind of battle I would probably pick (admittedly to my detriment).
It's usually a good idea to keep a low profile, IMO.
 

Winged Scapula

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I don't.


People take pictures when they're out with friends, not so much when they're studying hard, working long hours, paying their taxes or mowing the lawn. I perused my profile pictures just now, and I would definitely come off as much more of a skier/vacationer/partier in years past than reality would remotely reflect.
Exactly. I've had people comment, "wow, you're always on vacation, do you ever work?"

I've reminded them that 2 weeks a year is hardly "always on vacation" and that in general, I don't take pictures of me in the operating room, or cleaning up cat vomit (which seems like all I ever do).
 

tussy

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I tried to fail a junior resident that posted very nasty comments on her facebook account about me and other members of our department. Unfortunately I did not take a screen shot of the comments and she later deleted them when she learned that we saw it (she forgot one of the secretaries in the dept was on her friend list). We tried to nail her on unprofessional behaviour (she was a very borderline resident in all other regards and was on the verge of failing anyway). It was a big eye-opener. After that incident I have become more conscious of my own privacy settings and who is on my friend list and avoid commenting on work at all.
 

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Exactly. I've had people comment, "wow, you're always on vacation, do you ever work?"

I've reminded them that 2 weeks a year is hardly "always on vacation" and that in general, I don't take pictures of me in the operating room, or cleaning up cat vomit (which seems like all I ever do).
That is absolute insanity. I take 8 weeks a year and am taking 12 next year and forever after because I felt that 8 weeks isn't enough. Granted, I'm an anesthesiologist but 2 weeks!?! Life is too short to take 2 week vacations....
 

dpmd

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That is absolute insanity. I take 8 weeks a year and am taking 12 next year and forever after because I felt that 8 weeks isn't enough. Granted, I'm an anesthesiologist but 2 weeks!?! Life is too short to take 2 week vacations....
And here I felt like I was a slacker because I have taken 2 weeks of vacation (on top of the occasional three day weekend off) every year of residency.
 

LucidSplash

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And here I felt like I was a slacker because I have taken 2 weeks of vacation (on top of the occasional three day weekend off) every year of residency.
I must be even worse then if that's the bar... we get 2 weeks plus 5 days at Christmas or New Years....
 

45408

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And here I felt like I was a slacker because I have taken 2 weeks of vacation (on top of the occasional three day weekend off) every year of residency.
Really? I don't feel guilty at all for 3 weeks of vacation. My marriage and my sanity really need it...
 

Smurfette

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We had four weeks in residency. I find it harder to take off now that I'm in practice.
 

dpmd

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Ah, see we earn 21 days per year plus we arrange it so there is an unofficial week off for new year's or christmas (I didn't count it as a vacation since I didn't go anywhere usually. Most of the other residents only have been using a week or so each year (although one person is on a 2 week vacation right now). Next year I will earn 4 (plus I will have my accrued weeks-at least 5 but possibly more since I used "comp days" often instead of vacation days, we earn a day off for every holiday we work). I fully plan to use as many as I can get away with.
 

Winged Scapula

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I agree that 2 weeks a year isn't much . However:

1) I'm in PP; I don't work, I don't make money
2) I have a very heavy cancer practice. While patients may have an anesthesiologist preference it's nothing like their preference for me which I'd based on a long term relationship. Every time I go on vacation I'll get patients who panic at the thought of me being gone, delaying surgery, or worried about needing me. My partner can cover but they want ME.
3) 2 weeks doesn't include long weekends or conference time
4) I never said I only took 2 weeks a year but never ever more than 2 weeks at a time
5) if I'm gone, my partner has to cover. That means she has to see patients in the global for which she doesn't get paid (nor do I at least I got paid for the original surgery and consultation). Thus I don't feel lengthy period off are fair to her.
6) finally, it may come as a surprise to you but most surgeons like to work.
 

maxheadroom

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I agree that 2 weeks a year isn't much . However:

1) I'm in PP; I don't work, I don't make money
2) I have a very heavy cancer practice. While patients may have an anesthesiologist preference it's nothing like their preference for me which I'd based on a long term relationship. Every time I go on vacation I'll get patients who panic at the thought of me being gone, delaying surgery, or worried about needing me. My partner can cover but they want ME.
3) 2 weeks doesn't include long weekends or conference time
4) I never said I only took 2 weeks a year but never ever more than 2 weeks at a time
5) if I'm gone, my partner has to cover. That means she has to see patients in the global for which she doesn't get paid (nor do I at least I got paid for the original surgery and consultation). Thus I don't feel lengthy period off are fair to her.
6) finally, it may come as a surprise to you but most surgeons like to work.
Listen to WS, children. She knows the truth.

I think I get 4 weeks of vacation, plus "reasonable" educational leave. I didn't use all of my vacation last year, but I'll probably do a bit better this year.

And yes, surgeons like to work.
 

Consigliere

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I agree that 2 weeks a year isn't much . However:

1) I'm in PP; I don't work, I don't make money
2) I have a very heavy cancer practice. While patients may have an anesthesiologist preference it's nothing like their preference for me which I'd based on a long term relationship. Every time I go on vacation I'll get patients who panic at the thought of me being gone, delaying surgery, or worried about needing me. My partner can cover but they want ME.
3) 2 weeks doesn't include long weekends or conference time
4) I never said I only took 2 weeks a year but never ever more than 2 weeks at a time
5) if I'm gone, my partner has to cover. That means she has to see patients in the global for which she doesn't get paid (nor do I at least I got paid for the original surgery and consultation). Thus I don't feel lengthy period off are fair to her.
6) finally, it may come as a surprise to you but most surgeons like to work.
Comes as no surprise to me whatsoever. To each his/her own.....I just choose to live and enjoy life while I am young, fit and able. I don't want to toil away and retire when I'm 65 only to die a couple years later, never having fully enjoyed life. Enjoy your work - just remember: no one on their deathbed has ever said "you know.....I wish I worked more."
 

Winged Scapula

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But why does it have to come down to what appears to be a judgment about each other's choices? I am happy for you that you appear to have a great job which affords you the luxury of taking off as much time as you would like. The reality is that I could not afford to take eight or 12 weeks off per year, nor would I want to. I don't think I'll regret working that much on my deathbed because I find a great deal of joy and satisfaction in caring for my patients during a difficult portion of their life.

Just because I enjoy working does not mean that I don't enjoy life. As maxheadroom can attest to, I enjoy vacations in exotic places, eating at good restaurants, and have a large circle of friends and family with whom I spend a great deal of time.
 

maxheadroom

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I work harder as an attending than I did as a resident, but I have more ability to manage my schedule. That means that when I put a Crossfit class on my calendar, no one gets to bitch at me about being gone at a certain time. But they do ask why I have blisters on my palms. Ouch!
 

Winged Scapula

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So max, that brings up an interesting point:

Do you really put specifics about personal activities on your calendar?

It's not like I have anything to hide from my office and I'm not sure that they need to know that I'm at Bikram yoga, getting a pedicure or shoe shopping. We recently had a meeting with another small group about merging our practices. I blocked off time on the schedule and the girls were very nosy about what it was for especially when i asked them to make sure they clean up their workspaces.
 

maxheadroom

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It's worth the effort to get there.

The thing that I hated most towards the end of training was the feeling of helplessness when it came to my schedule. I never felt like I could schedule important personal matters without taking a full day of vacation. At this point in my career/life, I feel very comfortable putting things on my calendar that are part of me having a healthy and balanced life. I figure that since I take call Q6-ish and one weekend in five or six, it's reasonable for me to schedule some important appointments during my day.

And I'm not blocking out time routinely in the middle of the day -- it's more like 5 or 6 pm will frequently have a scheduled "meeting" so my staff knows not to book me working late. But all the stuff that was such a pain in training: dentist/doctor appointments, vet appointments, important personal errands . . . all get scheduled into my day when necessary.