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How medical students are using social media in 2024

Today, social media networks offer valuable opportunities for med students to enhance their education, writes Margo Winter, OMS III. She also shares some of the challenges and risks of using social media as a medical student.


In an era when social media has become an integral part of daily life for many people, the influence of social networks extends beyond sharing memes and updates on personal adventures. Particularly in the medical field, social media has emerged as a dynamic tool for medical students, offering avenues for learning, networking and professional development.

Social media platforms provide spaces for students to engage in discussions, share resources and access educational content. Hashtags like #MedEd (medical education) and #FOAMed (free open access medical education) facilitate the dissemination of journal articles, podcasts and case studies, enriching students’ learning experiences.

Below is a breakdown of how medical students are using social media to enhance their education.

Benefits and challenges

The use of social media in medical education offers numerous benefits, including learning opportunities, expanded professional networks and increased visibility within the medical community. Social media enables students to stay updated on the latest developments in health care, collaborate with peers and experts and showcase their work to potential employers. 

However, using social media also poses challenges and risks for medical students. When using social media, medical students must be mindful of privacy concerns and take care to be professional. They also need to avoid spreading and/or being taken in by misinformation. Medical students are often cautioned about the content they post online, as it can have professional implications and impact their future careers.

Many students opt to maintain separate personal and professional accounts to mitigate these risks and ensure clarity regarding their professional status. Additionally, disclosures in bios and disclaimers about the nature of their expertise help mitigate confusion among patients and followers.

Day-to-day documentation

Beyond academia, sites like Instagram provide a platform for students to document a behind-the-scenes journey through medical school, sharing insights into their experiences, challenges and triumphs. For instance, students might share details about their clinical experiences, such as struggling through a first day in a surgical operating room (OR) or navigating a challenging specialty. These posts foster a sense of community and camaraderie among medical students across the country.

Furthermore, they give premeds a window into real medical students’ lives and foster the opportunity for premeds to interact directly with current medical students.


In the same vein, mentoring is another significant aspect of medical students’ presence on social media. By offering advice on navigating the application process, preparing for exams and exploring different specialties, they play a crucial role in guiding aspiring physicians on their journey to medical school.

Especially for students with a nontraditional experience or a unique journey to medical school, these student accounts can offer valuable inspiration and advice to premeds from all over. 

Professional networking

Social media also serves as a platform where medical students can showcase their work and connect with residency programs. By sharing research projects, clinical experiences and professional achievements, they enhance their visibility and demonstrate their commitment to their chosen field. For example, students will often share photos from conferences and poster presentations using hashtags or tag industry leaders to call attention to that field of research.

Additionally, social media facilitates communication with residency programs, providing students with opportunities to explore different specialties, connect with program directors, attend virtual open houses and gain insights into the residency application process. 

Earning potential

In recent years, social media has emerged as a way for medical students to earn income through endorsements and sponsored content. Students with significant followings can leverage their platforms to promote products, events or health care initiatives, earning money in the process. Popular accounts like this include MD medical student Joel Bervell’s Instagram page. Bervell calls himself a “Medical Mythbuster” and has been featured on TV shows such as the Today Show.

While this can be a lucrative opportunity for students, it also comes with ethical considerations and the need to maintain professionalism and transparency in sponsored posts.

Opportunities abound

Social media has revolutionized the way medical students learn, collaborate and engage with the broader health care community. By leveraging these platforms responsibly and ethically, students can enhance their education, expand their professional networks and contribute meaningfully to the advancement of medicine. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, medical education must embrace the opportunities afforded by social media while addressing its inherent challenges.

Through mindful and responsible use, social media can empower the next generation of health care professionals to make a positive impact on patient care and medical practice.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

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