Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by Laura Turner
Authors: Jovin Lezeau, PharmD, Raechel Moore, PharmD, BCACP, Kim Finley, PharmD, BCACP
Do you find yourself scrolling through your social media platforms when bored or stressed as a means for entertainment and pleasure? Accessing social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. can serve as a fun mental break from studying but can quickly become a distraction. According to BroadbandSearch, social media usage has risen from 90 to 153 minutes per day from 2012 to 2019, and the expectation is for this number to continue to rise. Not only is the time spent on social media rising but so is the amount of people using it. According to BroadbandSearch, less than 2.5 billion people used social media worldwide in 2017 and this number has risen to 3.8 billion people in 2021. The increase in social media platforms, users, and minutes continue to increase by the year. Therefore, less time is being spent on other aspects of life such as studying for an upcoming exam or preparing for your boards. The idea of spending less time on social media could be beneficial but what if I proposed a different idea. Instead of limiting your time on social media or cutting it out entirely, what if you used social media to your advantage as an opportunity to improve your knowledge?
Social media can be a great tool to connect people, share information, and conduct business. Social media accounts are free to create, and accessibility to information by users is endless. As millennials (Generation Y: 1981-1996 and Generation Z: 1997-2012) continue to grow and pursue careers in pharmacy, a main component of their lifestyle will be social media. So, the time to incorporate social media into your learning is now! As evidenced by Prudencio et al, pharmacy students who followed an ambulatory care pharmacy educational account on Instagram over 16 weeks scored 15% higher on their post-test analysis compared to those who did not. This study demonstrates the positive association between social media pharmacy educational accounts and student learning. Attention spans have shortened and the older way of teaching via chalk and whiteboard may not be the best learning method for the newer generations. It is time to adapt to new methods of learning and begin incorporating social media as a tool for pharmacy students to enhance their knowledge.
How to start?
Your first objective will be to create a social media account. You can do either option listed below:
- Add or follow pharmacy or healthcare social media accounts on your already existing account.
- Create a new social media account on the platforms you use most and dedicate it to following pharmacy or healthcare educational accounts.
Either option can be used, but the most likely option to improve your learning will be adding or following accounts on your main account. Because as you continue to scroll through your Instagram or Twitter feed on your main account your timeline will present you with different educational posts by individuals who seek to engage and motivate students and other healthcare professionals to learn. The design of these posts is also created to attract your attention and reel you in for a quick educational lesson.
How to Incorporate?
Repetition is a common, key strategy used by educators for students to refresh their memory or improve retention. Thus, repetition needs to be used to your advantage as a pharmacy student to improve your learning. The fast pace of pharmacy school will have you continuously moving on to new subjects, drugs, and disease states. However, you can utilize social media to your advantage to re-learn previous challenging topics or enhance prior learning via repetition.
The best way to incorporate educational social media accounts is by incorporating the social media platforms into your normal daily routines. For example, the easiest and most simple task may be to start by adding educational platforms to your drive to school via a podcast or YouTube video. Let’s say you live 30 minutes away from school and you have classes 5 days a week. That’s a minimum of 5 hours a week you can use to your advantage to enhance your clinical knowledge, simply by switching your music to educational programming.
Another option is to utilize your daily scrolling time to enhance your learning. While following pharmacy and healthcare educational accounts, your timeline will show not only what your friends, family, and favorite celebrities are doing but also include some “infographics”. Each infographic that you come across may take a few minutes to review. This may seem like a small investment, but if you did this every time you accessed social media accounts, you may be shocked at how much your clinical knowledge will grow.
What are the benefits?
As a recent pharmacy school graduate, I understand you’re probably thinking “this isn’t fun” or “why should I do this?” “I can just read or watch class lectures and be done.” Yes, that’s true but how much of us truly retain that information? In my experience, most of the clinical knowledge I gained has been from outside of the classroom. For this reason, during my P4 year, I began incorporating social media learning into my day-to-day activities. Utilizing social media as a health communication and education tool helped me feel less guilty about being on social media and enhanced my clinical knowledge exponentially. Incorporating social media learning into my daily lifestyle has helped with responding to preceptor questions, journal clubs, residency interview clinical cases, and NAPLEX preparation. It’s amazing how much of an impact just 5 minutes a day can have. Therefore, I created a summarized step-by-step guide with recommendations on social media accounts I have used to assist in developing my clinical knowledge and I believe would be of benefit to you on your journey.
Summarized Step-by-Step Guide with Recommendations:
Create a social media account. You could use your existing account or you could create another free account on your platform of choice.
Search, add, and follow/subscribe to pharmacy and healthcare educational profiles on your accounts. (Some options are listed below)
Podcasts to listen to:
- CorConsultRx is a great resource for pharmacy students who are interested in learning more about chronic disease states, evidence-based medicine, and ambulatory care pharmacy.
- The Elective Rotation provides a simple quick clinical discussion on a current topic in under 10 minutes!
- HelixTalk is another great resource that is produced by the faculty of a college of pharmacy to assist in student learning and provide relevant pharmacy topic discussions.
Instagram accounts to follow:
- CorConsultRx provides pharmacy infographics including charts, tables, and treatment outlines/algorithms to supplement their podcasts episodes to assist in student learning. They even provide clinical cases and quizzes that you can respond to and test your clinical knowledge on.
- AmbCareRx provides ambulatory care-focused pharmacy infographics to enhance pharmacy students’ knowledge on ambulatory care topics.
- RxKeySlides provides colorful and artistic charts and pharmacy infographics that are simple to read and follow to make learning easy and fun for pharmacy students.
YouTube accounts to subscribe:
- Ninja Nerd is an account run by physician assistants who go in-depth on the pathophysiology of disease states and discuss a baseline overview of treatments for disease states. It is a great option to have for some of the more complicated disease states such as diabetes and heart failure and for those of us who are visual learners. However, this account’s videos do tend to run long around 1 hour so it may not be best for those with shorter attention spans.
- MedCram is a great channel that provides condensed content on medical concepts. These videos are usually less than 30 minutes and are great for those with a shorter attention span.
- Osmosis is another channel that provides content on medical concepts such as epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment options for disease states which can be beneficial for patient case presentations.
Incorporate social media learning into your daily tasks:
- Driving – listen to a podcast or YouTube videos
- Gym – listen to a podcast or YouTube video
- Social media scrolling – spend 5-10 minutes each time you access one of your social media accounts
- Schedule 15 minutes a day to dive deeper into an educational post on a social media platform of your choosing.
You’ll notice an improvement in disease state knowledge, pharmacotherapy options, and guidelines by utilizing social media to repetitively learn. You’ll notice this by having improved test scores leading to a higher GPA, responding better to questions from preceptors, being more prepared for clinical case questions during potential residency interviews, and feeling more confident going into the NAPLEX!
- Average time spent daily on social media (latest 2022 data). (2022). BroadbandSearch.net. https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/average-daily-time-on-social-media
- Age Range by Generation. (2020). Beresford Research. https://www.beresfordresearch.com/age-range-by-generation
- Prudencio, J., Wongwiwatthananukit, S., Lozano, A., & Xu, Y. (2021). Instagram as a tool to enhance pharmacy student learning of ambulatory care pharmacy. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 13(2), 134-138.
Dr. Jovin Lezeau is a current PGY-1 Ambulatory Care Resident at AdventHealth Celebration in Celebration, FL. Dr. Lezeau completed his pharmacy training at the University of Florida (UF) College of Pharmacy Lake Nona campus. Upon completion of residency, Dr. Lezeau plans to pursue a career in transitions of care or ambulatory care with an emphasis in pharmacogenomics.
Dr. Lezeau is passionate about entrepreneurship, continued innovation within the field of pharmacy, and being of service to others. These passions led to the creation of his podcast, Capsule Production Podcast (follow us on Instagram @capsuleproduction), to bring awareness to unique pharmacy careers and provide guidance to current pharmacy students and recent graduates.
In his free time, Dr. Lezeau enjoys eating out and trying different cultural dishes (check out his Instagram food blog: @foodie101_iq), traveling, watching movies, reading self-help or financial books, and listening to podcasts!