Nurses Online: Social media do’s and don’ts
“Just got home. Feeling tired >.<” Nurse Hailey posts on her facebook page minutes after she arrived home from a very toxic duty. Just like others her age, she is an avid fan of social media. Facebook here, twitter there, Instagram here, snapchat there.
Living a busy life, she thinks that social media is the only way for her to get updated and to keep in touch with her friends and acquaintances. Why squeeze in an almost impossible get together with friends when you can just update them through twitter and Instagram. So, yeah. Post, post, post.
But wait, you can’t just post everything. As nurses, there are things that should be kept within the four walls of the hospital and need not be posted online. Below are do’s and don’ts when it comes to using social media sites:
- DON’T discuss or disclose sensitive or Protected Health Information (PHI).
Respect the patient’s privacy at all times, even when you’re off duty. Never post anything that relates to identifying patient information, including the patient’s name, social security number and address, as well as details about his or her condition. Also, do not take a photo of your patient and post it online (no matter how good looking your patient is). That is a violation of privacy.
It should also be noted that something as simple as adding the patient as a “friend” on Facebook or answering a health care question in a public forum such as Twitter can be a violation of patient privacy.
If you want to post about your day, make it as vague as possible.
- DO think twice before posting something.
Don’t just carelessly post anything on social media. Consider your audience, as well as the content of your post.
- DO present yourself in a respectable and professional manner online.
You may want to keep your profile on the highest privacy setting. A curious patient may look you up online and see pictures of wild party nights, or even simple family thingamajigs.
Also, act responsibly and professionally when posting on social media sites. Maintain professional boundaries with your patients.
If there is respect and a relationship of trust and professional boundaries, it is easier to work with a patient in deeply personal ways. Keeping your private life private maintains that boundary and a sense of professionalism. Also, keep in mind that it is not encouraged to maintain contact with a patient through social media.
- DO utilize social media on your own time and your own device.
You shouldn’t be facebooking/instagramminng/tweeting while working. When on duty, your focus must be on your tasks and nursing responsibilities. Also, there are certain policies enforced by organizations against the use of company time or resources for non-work activities like social media, even if you are posting about the industry.
- DON’T post if you have doubts about the content
Even if you deleted something, someone might have scree captured your post. Expect the worst when posing on social media. Not everything can remain private as your private post will always find a way to become shared with random strangers. So, if you’re not sure about what you’re posting, better not post at all.