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Etiquette for medical students’ email communication with faculty members: a single-institution study

Cited 4 time in Web of Science Cited 7 time in Scopus
Authors
Kim, Do-Hwan; Yoon, Hyun Bae; Yoo, Dong-Mi; Lee, Sang-Min; Jung, Hee-Yeon; Kim, Seog Ju; Shin, Jwa-Seop; Lee, Seunghee; Yim, Jae-Joon
Issue Date
2016-04-27
Publisher
BioMed Central
Citation
BMC Medical Education, 16(1):129
Keywords
Email writingemail etiquettecommunicationgraduate-entry program
Description
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Abstract
Abstract

Background
Email is widely used as a means of communication between faculty members and students in medical education because of its practical and educational advantages. However, because of the distinctive nature of medical education, students’ inappropriate email etiquette may adversely affect their learning as well as faculty members’ perception of them. Little data on medical students’ competency in professional email writing is available; therefore, this study explored the strengths and weaknesses of medical students’ email etiquette and factors that contribute to professional email writing.


Methods
A total of 210 emails from four faculty members at Seoul National University College of Medicine were collected. An evaluation criteria and a scoring rubric were developed based on the various email-writing guidelines. The rubric comprised 10 items, including nine items for evaluation related to the email components and one item for the assessment of global impression of politeness. Three evaluators independently assessed all emails according to the criteria.


Results
Students were identified as being 61.0 % male and 52.8 % were in the undergraduate-entry program. The sum of each component score was 62.21 out of 100 and the mean value for global impression was 2.6 out of 4. The results demonstrated that students’ email etiquettes remained low-to-mediocre for most criteria, except for readability and honorifics. Three criteria, salutation (r=0.668), closing (r=0.653), and sign-off (r=0.646), showed a strong positive correlation with the global impression of politeness. Whether a student entered a graduate-entry program or an undergraduate-entry program significantly contributed to professional email writing after other variables were controlled.


Conclusions
Although students in the graduate-entry program demonstrated a relatively superior level of email etiquette, the majority of medical students did not write emails professionally. Educating all medical students in email etiquette may well contribute to the improvement of student–faculty relationships as well as their email writing.
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/100634
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-016-0628-y
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College of Medicine/School of Medicine (의과대학/대학원)Internal Medicine (내과학전공)Journal Papers (저널논문_내과학전공)
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