The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy (SOP) recognizes that online blogs, email lists and social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Pinterest, LinkedIn (hereafter collectively referred to as social media) are increasingly popular tools for communication and social interaction. The SOP does not actively monitor online activities of the student body but it does address issues related to unprofessional behavior brought to the attention of the Office of Student & Academic Affairs. The SOP student must understand that by identifying themselves publicly using social media, they are creating perceptions about the SOP, clinical/experiential sites, and/or their chosen health profession. Therefore, students must assure that all social media content is consistent with the values and professional standards of University of Wisconsin–Madison, the SOP, and their profession.
Individuals should make every effort to present themselves in a mature, responsible, and professional manner. Discourse should be civil and respectful while taking care to avoid displays of vulgar, disrespectful, unflattering, or inflammatory language or photographs that reflect poorly on the student.
Please be aware that no privatization measure is perfect and that undesignated persons may still gain access to your networking site. Future employers (e.g., residency or fellowship program directors, hospitals, managed care organizations, or pharmacies) may review these network sites when considering potential candidates for employment. Although posted information can be removed from the original social networking site, exported information cannot be recovered. Any digital exposure can “live on” beyond its removal from the original website and continue to circulate in other venues. Therefore, think carefully before you post any information on a website or application.
Unprofessional behavior towards patients, faculty, staff, peers, or the public is a significant consideration in the evaluation and academic promotion of School of Pharmacy students. Students who use social media must be aware that posting certain information is proprietary and illegal. Violations of existing statutes and administrative regulations may result in criminal and civil liability including fines and imprisonment. Offenders also may be subject to adverse academic actions up to and including dismissal. Any conduct which evidences a lack of knowledge or ability to apply professional principles or skills constitutes unprofessional conduct in violation of the professional standards for licensed pharmacists. The following actions are prohibited as unprofessional conduct in violation of the SOP Professional Behavior Standards as described in the Student Promotion Policies and Procedures and may also constitute a violation of the university’s academic and non-academic misconduct codes.
- You may not share the personal health information of other individuals. Removal of an individual’s name does not alone constitute proper de-identification of protected health information. Inclusion of data such as age, gender, race, diagnosis, date of evaluation, or type of treatment or the use of a highly specific medical photograph (such as a before/after photograph of a patient having surgery or a photograph of a patient from a medical outreach trips) may still allow the reader to recognize the identity of a specific individual.
- You may not report private (protected) academic information of another student or trainee.
- You may not represent yourself as an official representative or spokesperson for the institution.
- You may not represent yourself as another person, real or fictitious, or otherwise attempt to obscure your identity as a means to circumvent any prohibitions listed in the Professional Behavior Standards.
- You may not knowingly distribute false evidence, statements, or charges against another student or faculty/staff member.
- You may not contribute to or engage in any activity which disrupts or obstructs the teaching, research or extension programs of the School of Pharmacy or university, either on the campus or at affiliated training sites.
- You may not threaten or engage in acts of physical violence to SOP administration, faculty, staff, or students.
- You may not harass, in any form, SOP administration, faculty, staff, or students.
- You may not violate the confidentiality of a SOP committee.
The following actions are considered “best practices” and are strongly encouraged:
- Use privacy settings to limit unknown or unwanted access to your profile or application.
- Due to frequent updating of social media sites, regularly check your privacy setting to optimize privacy and security.
- Consider minimizing personal information on social media profiles. Don’t include address, phone numbers, social security numbers, PID numbers, passport numbers, driver’s license numbers, birth dates, or any other information that could be used to obtain personal records.
- If an email is listed in conjunction with a social networking site, use a personal email address (not a wisc.edu address) as the primary means of identification.
- Avoid displays of vulgar language.
- Avoid displays of language or photographs that imply disrespect for any individual or group because of age, race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
- Don’t present personal photographs or photographs of others that may be interpreted as condoning irresponsible use of alcohol, substance abuse, or sexually inappropriate.
- Avoid posting of potentially inflammatory or unflattering material on another individual’s website.
It is important to note that the University of Wisconsin–Madison Policy on Social Media also has a closely related social media policy for all students on campus. This includes pharmacy students in the DPH-4 year and all students who are engaged in introductory or advanced pharmacy practice experiences at UW–Madison or its affiliates. Violations of the UW–Madison Policy are generally referred to the UW–Madison’s Dean of Students Office; however, the School of Pharmacy may request that violations by SOP students occurring under the UW–Madison Policy be referred to the School’s Student Promotion and Academic Review Committee.
References: The University of Mississippi, School of Pharmacy, Student Social Media Policy, Student Handbook, 2012-2013, www.pharmacy.olemiss.edu/handbook2012.pdf. The University of Louisiana at Monroe, College of Pharmacy, Social Media Policy, Student Handbook, 2013-2014, http://www.ulm.edu/pharmacy/documents/ospa/socialmedia.pdf