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How Nurses Should Deal With Social Media

Social media can be a blessing and a curse. It is a major source of communication, which means that many people view the things that are posted. As a nurse, it is important to maintain a level of professionalism when using this medium. Besides guarding personal information, it is vital to protect patients’ privacy as well. According to the American Nurses Association, “Online content may enhance or undermine the entire nursing profession.” In other words, social media is a valuable networking tool, but it is crucial to use it in a responsible manner.

How to Use Social Media Correctly

  • Make Privacy a Priority. Most social media platforms provide privacy settings. Although these are not foolproof, they let you set limits for the people who can view your posts.
  • It is essential to use these features to your advantage. However, do not trust them completely. Oftentimes, they allow the wrong people to gain access to your posts.Be Discreet. Although it is fun to post comical screenshots of pictures, some items may be considered distasteful by certain people. Even if your privacy settings are limited to friends, these individuals may become your future coworkers who get offended easily. Always post information about you or your patients with discretion.
  • Networking Successfully. Social media is a great way to network with professionals in your field. LinkedIn is one of the best sites to connect with individuals in the medical industry. You can list your experiences and work history, join groups that share your interests, and follow people that you admire. In this way, you may appear like an expert and attract others to your profile.
  • Report Breaches. If you witness a coworker posting inappropriate information that compromises the privacy of a patient, it is essential to report this behavior. In the nursing profession, it is vital for patients to feel secure that their medical conditions are treated confidentially.

Incorrect Uses of Social Media

  • Posting Patient Information. Nurses must keep the background of patients private. This means that it is inappropriate to post names, addresses, or photos of patients without consent.
  • Posting Disparaging Remarks. Most people use social media as a place to vent frustrations. However, it is crucial to avoid posting disparaging remarks. Besides being unprofessional, it can be quite offensive and ruin your reputation in the industry.
  • Blurring Boundaries. Although social media platforms were made to help people connect with each other, nurses must maintain personal and professional boundaries. Making contact with patients may be unethical. To avoid problems, many professional nurses have separate personal and work-related social media accounts.
  • Capturing Patient Photos or Videos on Smart Device. HIPPA is a series of privacy laws that was created to protect patients’ rights. By taking pictures or videos of patients, a nurse violates these regulations and may face civil or criminal legal action.

Remain Professional

By using a bit of common sense, most nurses understand how to properly use social media. A nurse’s goal should always be to protect and respect the privacy of his or her patients. Maintaining a professional demeanor will ensure that a nurse enjoys positive communication and has the opportunity to get ahead in the industry.

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