Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Beware Of Using Social Media As A Nurse

 

A registered nurse in Saskatchewan, Canada, posted a comment on social media regarding the care of her grandfather who had recently passed away at a long-term care facility.  The comment suggested the staff suffered from a lack of compassion and education.

To this nurse’s surprise, charges were filed against her license for harming the standing of the profession of nursing under Canada’s “Registered Nurses Act.”  She was found guilty and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine as well as an additional $25,000 for the costs of the investigation and hearing.

I take issue with this decision.  Why?  Because she was acting as a daughter in speaking her mind regarding her grandfather’s long term care experience.

However, nurses are considered to be professionals 24 hours a day.  For this particular nurse’s story, we can take away that whatever you put on social media can come back to haunt you.

Brittany Wilson, “the Nerdy Nurse,” was quoted in an article posted on nurse.org titled “Must Read Social Media Advice for Nurses” in which she discussed “dos and don’ts” for nurses using social media.  The following suggestions are very helpful:

  • Nurses should talk only about themselves, the nursing profession, their family, hobbies, and interests.
  • Never talk about patients or identifiable coworkers.
  • Avoid identifying your employer on your social media profile or in your postings.
  • Become keenly aware of your employer’s social media policies.
  • Don’t post online that you are at work as this could put you and your home at risk.
  • Don’t use the employer’s internet to post and don’t post to social media site while at work.
  • Don’t post anything online which you would not say in front of your boss or human resource director.
  • Don’t do anything that you would be embarrassed to say to your own mother, your clergy, your boss or potential employer.
  • Realize that nothing on line is ever really anonymous.
  • Don’t do anything that could degrade or embarrass the nursing profession.
  • Uplift the nursing profession.

Furthermore, NEVER talk about patients on social media!  In one situation, several nurses at a children’s hospital posted funeral arrangements for a long-time patient.  This could have and may have indirectly identified the deceased child to anyone who then would read arrangements for the child.

All the nurses were disciplined by the Board of Nursing.

Remember, you are a professional and want to represent your profession in a positive light.

What are your thoughts on social media and nursing?  Do you utilize it?  If so, what suggestions might you have to keep your license safe?  Please leave your comments below.

2 Comments

  1. Pam Wright

    What do you think of nurse bullying? A former co-worker of mine was home posting some stuff on FB. Her comment was screenshotted then posted with another photo that was 5 years old of her in scrubs and stethescope around her neck flipping the camera off. Even though the photo was 1 of those funny ones you do for friends and was during the show me your stethescope movement. The nurse that didn’t like her put them together in a new post to make it seem she was a horrible person. It got reposted and shared a ton of times and got her fired.

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