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Is it ethical for a medical student to film Youtube vlogs?


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 Being a med school student can be seen as quite unique in our society, considering how selective the system tends to be.

If a student begins a Youtube channel showing his or her life as a med school student on film, some may see that the person is capitalizing on how "unique" or "rare" the position is. That in and of itself is not ethical, but given how the purpose of medical school is to produce doctors, or people who are supposed to take care of the diseased, hurt, or socially marginalized populations, would it be ethical for a med school student to seek fame using his or her position? Obviously he or she may have started a vlog even if they weren't in medical school, but without beating around the bush the viewers and subscribers will be attracted to the fact that the position is so unique and well respected.

What do you think?

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I believe that it all depends on what the channel is for.

I am sure you can think of unethical ways to use the platform (be disrespectful to other health care professions, do things that would compromise the image of the medical profession, use subs for selling shady pills, etc). Generally speaking, I imagine vlogs don't involve that and we talk of basically showing what your life is like. I think we have to remember that medical students and eventually doctors are human too, and they will do things others do too, like go to the beach, eat out, have fun, etc. If having a channel to broadcast your life is not something frowned upon in other fields, as long as the med student doesn't break basic behavior rules or medically misinforms his/her subscribers, etc,  I do not see a problem. Additionally, many professions are "unique and well respected", not just being a medical doctor, so it is a relative thing to some extend. In that sense, limiting social media presence of medical students and not those of future lawyers, PA'S, business owners, pharmacists or dentists because they are respected and admired in society would not be consistent in my opinion, although I completely understand your point and where your dilemma comes from.

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There are tons of med student youtubes/instagrams, even here in Canada. I think most of the "lifestyle" ones come off as cringy if you're in medicine, but people outside of health care may enjoy it. The comedy/meme ones (dr glaucomflecken) can be good. The most important thing, if you're thinking of jumping in, is to understand that your classmates/colleagues/school admin will 100% know about everything you say and almost certainly will be seen by the programs you're applying to in residency/fellowship/for a job, so think long and hard about everything that you put out there. That means absolutely no personal info about anyone else, classmates, staff, patients, and no pictures/video of colleagues without their consent or patients EVER. And basically avoid all drama/controversy unless you're ok talking about it during residency interviews lol

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1 hour ago, bearded frog said:

There are tons of med student youtubes/instagrams, even here in Canada. I think most of the "lifestyle" ones come off as cringy if you're in medicine, but people outside of health care may enjoy it. The comedy/meme ones (dr glaucomflecken) can be good. The most important thing, if you're thinking of jumping in, is to understand that your classmates/colleagues/school admin will 100% know about everything you say and almost certainly will be seen by the programs you're applying to in residency/fellowship/for a job, so think long and hard about everything that you put out there. That means absolutely no personal info about anyone else, classmates, staff, patients, and no pictures/video of colleagues without their consent or patients EVER. And basically avoid all drama/controversy unless you're ok talking about it during residency interviews lol

Do you think it would be "safer" if the Ytb channel is for the Korean audience? I just think there would be a marker for a foreign med school student concept aimed at the Korean audience. 

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14 hours ago, samproholdings said:

 Being a med school student can be seen as quite unique in our society, considering how selective the system tends to be.

If a student begins a Youtube channel showing his or her life as a med school student on film, some may see that the person is capitalizing on how "unique" or "rare" the position is. That in and of itself is not ethical, but given how the purpose of medical school is to produce doctors, or people who are supposed to take care of the diseased, hurt, or socially marginalized populations, would it be ethical for a med school student to seek fame using his or her position? Obviously he or she may have started a vlog even if they weren't in medical school, but without beating around the bush the viewers and subscribers will be attracted to the fact that the position is so unique and well respected.

What do you think?

Medicine is not “unique” or “rare”, it’s another career just like any other. This mentality coupled with a social media platform is a recipe for a truly cringey content. If you want to match to anything competitive or be respected within the medical community, I would strongly suggest against this.

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8 hours ago, samproholdings said:

Do you think it would be "safer" if the Ytb channel is for the Korean audience? I just think there would be a marker for a foreign med school student concept aimed at the Korean audience. 

Your classmates/colleagues are still going to know about it. You're right who knows what people may like, you may end up with a successful youtube channel, but its possible that it could hurt your medical career, personally I would be very hesitant to accept a "medinfluencer" or whatever to my program if I was a PD, because how do I know that their doing the best for their patients, and how do I know if they are letting what sort of things they could blog about later influence their medical practice. And you and I both know that these blogs have carefully crafted fake personas that the people who work with them know is completely fake so they may have online fans but lose respect from the actual people around them.

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4 minutes ago, bearded frog said:

Your classmates/colleagues are still going to know about it. You're right who knows what people may like, you may end up with a successful youtube channel, but its possible that it could hurt your medical career, personally I would be very hesitant to accept a "medinfluencer" or whatever to my program if I was a PD, because how do I know that their doing the best for their patients, and how do I know if they are letting what sort of things they could blog about later influence their medical practice. And you and I both know that these blogs have carefully crafted fake personas that the people who work with them know is completely fake so they may have online fans but lose respect from the actual people around them.

I agree there's a tendency to conservatism in medicine.. but funnily enough there's a really popular McMaster IM/rheumatology vlogger - the 'Violin MD'.  Not sure it's hurt her career at all  -It looks like she almost 1 Mill followers and even had some positive press.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiamy6DLsjIeCgfz8TLXg9Q

https://healthydebate.ca/special-series/violinmd-youtube/

Good suggestion with Dr glaucomflecken haha.  

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2 minutes ago, indefatigable said:

I agree there's a tendency to conservatism in medicine.. but funnily enough there's a really popular McMaster IM/rheumatology vlogger - the 'Violin MD'.  Not sure it's hurt her career at all  -It looks like she almost 1 Mill followers and even had some positive press.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiamy6DLsjIeCgfz8TLXg9Q

https://healthydebate.ca/special-series/violinmd-youtube/

Good suggestion with Dr glaucomflecken haha.  

I know her well, she was in my year. She had the advantage of being one of the first one the scene (in Canada at least) and not doing it seriously until already in Residency, and she targets a non-medicine audience and doesn't try to be an "influencer" so I think trying to follow in her path is probably the most reasonable, but I think the market likely saturated and stained by the medinfluencers.

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yeah, and honestly, I get good vibes from her videos. Compared to a certain DO in the States who ran his mouth about social distancing and all yet was caught red-handed in a Miami party (and used a bull excuse "we did not use masks because we were on a yacht and we can't let masks get wet" (then wtf were you doing on a yacht??)), and tried to do an apology video but only posted it on his dump channel and not the main one...

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Another perspective here: I’m 23 and having grown up in the age of YouTube and vloggers and internet stars, I spent more time watching my fave YouTubers more than I watched movies or TV shows. Watching “medfluencers” actually played a part in inspiring me to enter medicine as career and I’m grateful for the ones I came across in my mid-to-late teens. Since I don’t have any connections in my family or social circle to medicine/doctors or even any forms of higher education, it made me feel like I had a “friend” or at least someone I’ve grown up watching a trusting that would give insight into the field. Of course, as previously mentioned, not all of these personas are real and they may be glamourized, but I think the attitude around these sorts of things is very generational (for lack of a better word) too. Of course I would still be cautious about what I share and also there is a high likelyhood of cringe, but it can be done right I believe. 

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