Smartphone Use and the Perception of Professionalism Among Medical Students and Surgical Faculty

Silka Patel, Anne Lidor, Abanti Sanyal, Alice R. Goepfert, Nancy Hueppchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To understand the perception of professionalism surrounding smartphone use (wards/educational activities) among medical students and surgical faculty. Design: A prospective cohort study was conducted using an electronic survey and distributed to third- and fourth-year medical students, obstetrics/gynecology, and surgery faculty members. Five cases were randomly presented; participants were asked to review and rate the clinician's behavior on a 5-point Likert scale. Setting: The study was completed at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a tertiary care institution, in the departments of gyn/ob and surgery. Participants: A total of 123 medical students (51% response rate) from the class of 2015/2016 along with 73 surgical faculty in the departments of gyn/ob and surgery completed the study. Of the surgical faculty, 48% were ob/gyn (54% response rate) and 52% were surgery (21% response rate). Of note, when quarrying the department of surgery all surgical faculty were included, however, only those with direct student interaction were asked to complete the survey leading to the lower response rate. Results: In 3 of 5 scenarios, students and faculty had significant differences in perception of professionalism (p<0.05). Faculty were more likely to find behaviors unprofessional compared to students. The acceptability of certain behaviors was significantly correlated in some case scenarios with how participants reported using their smartphones. Personal use of technology appears to influence the perception of acceptable behavior in certain scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-325
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of surgical education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Professionalism
  • medical education
  • professionalism
  • smartphone
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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