Today social media embraces all spheres of people’s life; however, there are professions within which social media should be used with caution not to do irreparable harm. Nursing is one of such professions since disclosure of any medical information may seriously damage both sides: the patient and the nurse. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, maintaining the patient’s privacy and dignity lies at the core of the professional relationship between patients and nurses. The patient may only trust their nurse if they are sure that their personal information will go no further. Breaching, even by chance, the patient’s privacy through disclosing some information on social networks, nurses damage the nurse-patient relationship. Moreover, such actions may erode trust in the nursing profession on the patient’s part.
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For a nurse, disclosure of professional information can lead to a fine, disciplinary action, or even loss of licensure. Moreover, a nurse can face legal action for libel and harassment if private information is disclosed. That is why professional guidelines must be strictly followed not only when using media in professional settings but at home as well. The nurses must in no way disclose patients’ personal information in media either through images and comments or otherwise (National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2011). Even when a former patient finds their nurse on social networks, it is wise to refrain from talking on professional topics or about new patients that have arrived. A nurse must never forget that there is a clear demarcation line between the private and the professional and under no conditions cross it.
Some examples provided in the video and a Nurse’s Guide to the Use of Social Media are very informative for understanding what actions nurses should avoid not to get into trouble. At first glance, these violations may seriously damage the patient’s privacy and, as such, are punishable according to State and Federal laws. In all cases, the nurses must be guided by HIPPA regulations and the nurses’ Code of Practice, which provide a perfect basis for professional conduct.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing. (2011). White Paper: A nurse’s guide to the use of social media. Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Web.