People rely on the internet and lean heavily on devices for both work and recreational purposes. As social distancing guidelines changed the way people live in 2020 and into 2021, the importance of technology has never been more apparent.
Individuals utilize social media to keep in touch and connect with others, while businesses and industries rely on the far-reaching impact of social media to connect with customers.
Social media is often used for humorous purposes, but it’s important that professionals use social media responsibly. That’s especially important for people working in certain disciplines, including health care. Health care employees, such as nurses, must be mindful of how they use social media. Inappropriate use may result in disciplinary action and even compromise a nurse’s career.
The following tips can help nurses use social media responsibly
• Social media can be an important platform for discussing issues related to patients and educating the public on disease prevention. However, patients should never be mentioned by name, nor should specific information be provided. Such information may lead to the inadvertent identification of patients.
• The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 has rules that protect health information, including anything transmitted in any form of media. Nurses must be careful not to breach patient confidentiality or privacy intentionally or inadvertently through the sharing of videos or photos of patients, room numbers, patient records or descriptions of patients’ medical conditions.
• Use social media to positively share workplace experiences, particularly events that are challenging or emotionally charged. Social media can be an effective outlet for generating support for important causes or disseminating information about serious issues.
• Remember that anything posted on social media, even if it is immediately removed, has resonance, according to the National Council on State Boards of Nursing. Servers save information forever and it could be retrieved later. Furthermore, someone could take a screenshot and post it on another social media account or public website.
• Nurses should not speak on behalf of their employers unless authorized to do so. When allowed, comments should adhere to social media policies already in place.
The following are some other tips for nurses to follow
• Only talk about yourself, the profession, hobbies, and interests.
• Don’t identify your employer on social media profiles.
• Never post anything you wouldn’t comfortably say in front of a boss or the human resources department.
• Never disparage patients or the profession of nursing.
Technology and social media are components of daily life. Nurses must use social media wisely and cautiously.