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Nursing Professionalism in Social Media


As a rapidly growing networking platform, social media is an interactive way of sharing information, learning news, and connecting with others that became an integral part of modern society. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram are regarded as beneficial tools for professional networking and education of its users and are widely used by nurses and health care providers in general. However, a careless usage of social media might have irreparable damage to nursing license and career, as well as the patients affected. Therefore, by analyzing personal social media accounts according to the standards governing the profession of nursing, one may trace the consequences and the risk a nurse is responsible for due to its negligent use.

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Analysis of Personal Social Media Accounts

The majority of information on social media is shared via text and visual materials, namely messages, photos, and video content. As a nurse, I should be responsible for any information exchanged as it may be harmful to the patients I work with, and it can undermine their trust. When considering text message conversations with other colleagues or friends, commenting and complaining about patients is inappropriate in the nursing practice. Social media is viewed as a platform that maintains the privacy of its users; however, it is also the fastest way to spread the information and its accidental leakage. This may damage the patient’s perception of a nurse and lead to overall mistrust. Speaking of the visual content, sharing images of the work environment, especially including patients in the background or being negative about it, is a serious mistake of a nurse; this might result in the dismissal. Besides, sharing too much of the personal life, such as partying or drinking, using profanity, might also jeopardize the professional image of a nurse practitioner.

Upholding a standard of conduct consistent with the standards governing the profession of nursing

Every health care provider should be aware of the professional standards that have the same authority on the networking platform. According to Ventola (2014), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulates the “permitted use and exposure of patient information by covered entities, including HCPs and hospitals that levies heavy fines and potential criminal charges” (p. 496). For instance, Balestra (2018) mentions the widely publicized case that occurred in 2013 concerning an emergency department nurse at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. A nurse posted a photo on Instagram of an “empty trauma room where a patient was treated after getting hit by a subway train” (Balestra, 2018, p. 20). The photo, however, did not break the HIPAA rules, or the hospital’s social media policy, the nurse was still fired for insensitive attitude.

Reflection of Christian values and Improving the Social Media Activity

From a religious point of view, caring for patients has to be perceived as worship and service. It is essential to treat each patient with equal value and worth in God’s eyes. Taking care of the bodily, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of the patients, as well as keeping their privacy and integrity directly reflects fundamental Christian values by acknowledging that Christ values our physical, mental, and spiritual welfare. With that said, one should consider different aspects of social media use and its application for a notable improvement. Social media can be used for professional networking, clinical education improvement, and organizational promotion. Furthermore, it may be helpful in proper patient online care and education through individual support or even public health programs. To conclude, a nurse and every health care provider should use social media intelligently and cautiously as a chance to sustain individual and public health, as well as professional growth and development.


Balestra, M. (2018). Social media missteps could put your nursing license at risk. Career Sphere, 13(3), 20-23.

Ventola, C. (2014). Social media and health care professionals: benefits, risks, and best practices. P&T: a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 39(7), 491-520.

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