There is no doubt that nursing presents a sphere that involves a lot of important problems and some of them are related to the rapid development of modern means of communication (Hood, 2014). The discussed changes should be analyzed concerning nursing practice to develop new approaches to ethical and professional use of social media platforms in healthcare settings. The necessity of such research is supported by the fact that the way healthcare information is presented may influence the wellbeing of patients (Henderson & Dahnke, 2015). Due to that, healthcare specialists should develop skills allowing them to use social media focusing on benefits for patients.
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Confidentiality of Patients in the Use of Social Media
The topic of professionalism is strongly related to the use of social media platforms to ensure the confidentiality and privacy of patients.
To begin with, there are certain rules that nursing specialists may follow to pay attention to patients’ right “to be treated with dignity and respect” (Henderson & Dahnke, 2015, p. 63). Most importantly, nurses should not post information related to their patients’ cases and personal problems without their permission. If they are given permission, it is also recommended to take additional measures to protect patients’ secrets and omit any information making it possible to identify the person. To manage such cases, special policies related to privacy were implemented and nurses are supposed to review them before using such information in social media.
Limitations that healthcare providers are supposed to take into consideration while using information related to their patients are supposed to protect the latter from unwanted consequences, especially if the patient’s story includes facts associated with inappropriate or immoral behavior.
There is no doubt that nurses following these rules gain certain benefits when it comes to collaboration and trust in their relationships with patients. In fact, with the help of such measures, nursing specialists may not only gain patients’ confidence that influences outcomes of the treatment but also enhance their image and, therefore, become key employees.
Professional Integrity in the Use of Social Media
Another topic that needs to be studied is the use of social media platforms that do not affect the professional integrity of nursing specialists.
As it is clear from the policies used in healthcare organizations, nurses are recommended to follow certain rules to ensure professional integrity. Using the given rules, nursing specialists should avoid posting information containing the discussion of other specialists’ decisions and mistakes. Apart from that, the use of social media platforms to comment on other people’s behavior and statements is inappropriate.
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Professionalism also involves nurses’ ability to maintain boundaries while communicating with patients via social media. To demonstrate the proper use of social media, in this case, specialists are recommended to avoid being overly familiar while exchanging messages with patients. To do that, it is necessary to refrain from being too emotional and sharing news that is not related to the case of the patient.
Also, nurses should avoid posting inappropriate content on social media. According to Henderson and Dahnke (2015), nursing specialists are supposed to evaluate the posts of their colleague’s ad constantly reflect upon the role of social media platforms and the ways they may influence professional integrity.
Although there are certain risks related to the use of social media in healthcare settings, the opportunities provided by these platforms also allow nursing professionals to improve outcomes of treatment and disseminate trustworthy information related to healthcare. Thus, ensuring patient privacy and confidentiality together with safeguarding professional integrity remain the primary tasks related to proper social media use.
Henderson, M., & Dahnke, M. D. (2015). The ethical use of social media in nursing practice. MedSurg Nursing, 24(1), 62-65.
Hood, L. J. (2014). Leddy & Pepper’s conceptual bases of professional nursing (8th Ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.