A new wave of urologists? Graduating urology residents’ practices of and attitudes toward social media

  • Kunal Jain Queen's University
  • Michael B. Fuoco Queen's University
  • Gagan Fervaha Queen's Unviersity
  • Michael J. Leveridge Queen's University


Introduction: Social media (SoMe) have revolutionized healthcare, but physicians remain hesitant to adopt SoMe in their practices. We sought to assess graduating urology residents’ practices of and attitudes toward SoMe.

Methods: A close-ended questionnaire, employing five-point Likert scales, was distributed to all final-year residents (n=100) in Canadian urology training programs in 2012, 2014, and 2016 to assess SoMe usage and perceived usefulness.

Results: All (100%) questionnaires were completed. Respondents frequently used online services for personal (100%) and professional (96%) purposes. Most (92%) used SoMe. Many (73%) frequently used SoMe for personal purposes, but few (12%) frequently used SoMe for professional purposes. While a majority (59%) opposed direct patient interaction online, most supported using SoMe to provide patients with static information (76%) and collaborate with colleagues (65%). Many (70‒73%) were optimistic that novel solutions to privacy issues in online communications will arise, making SoMe and email contact with patients conceivable. Few (2‒8%) were aware and had read guidelines and legislations regarding physician online practices; however, awareness of medical associations’ and institutional SoMe policies significantly increased over time (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Despite their active online use, graduating urology residents rarely used SoMe in professional settings and were wary of using it in patient care. Nevertheless, they were optimistic toward its integration in urology and supported its use in physician-physician communication. Considering SoMe’s increased influence on urology and graduating residents’ limited awareness of guidelines and legislations, postgraduate medical educators should encourage residents to become more familiar with current online communication recommendations.

Author Biographies

Kunal Jain, Queen's University

BMSc (Hons)

MD Candidate, 2019

Queen's University School of Medicine

Michael B. Fuoco, Queen's University


Urologist, Brockville General Hospital

Gagan Fervaha, Queen's Unviersity

BSc, PhD

MD Candidate, 2020

Queen's University School of Medicine

Michael J. Leveridge, Queen's University


Assistant Professor

Department of Urology

Department of Oncology

Kingston General Hospital

Queen's University

Empire 4, 76 Stuart Street

Kingston, Ontario, K7L 2V7


Tel: (613) 548-2502  

Fax: (613) 545-1970


How to Cite
Jain, K., Fuoco, M. B., Fervaha, G., & Leveridge, M. J. (2018). A new wave of urologists? Graduating urology residents’ practices of and attitudes toward social media. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 12(7), E298-313. https://doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.5042
Original Research