Social media offers opportunities to extend and enhance nursing practice. Yet, as the number of social networking options increase, so does the chance of making a mistake.
The following are the expectations for nurses using social media:
Use technology in a way that is both ethical and appropriate. Keep up with social media's changing culture and technology and reflect on the intent and consequences of your online behaviour.
Use the same level of professionalism in your online interactions as you do in face-to-face interactions. Keep your personal and professional lives separate.
Do not share any client information on social media sites. Omitting details when you post information or images does not protect client confidentiality. Report confidentiality breaches at once to your workplace.
Manage your privacy settings to protect your personal information. Your information can still be shared without your permission, even with the strictest privacy settings.
Set and keep professional boundaries. This applies online, too. Don't accept "friend" requests from clients or former clients on personal social media accounts.
If you use social media for work, such as client teaching and resource-sharing, use a separate professional account. Ensure that your use of social media aligns with BCCNM standards and your workplace policies.
Use caution if you identify yourself as a nurse online. Others may ask for advice, which could lead to a nurse–client relationship. This expectation still applies even if you use a name that hides your real identity.
Uphold your integrity and that of the profession. Discuss, report, and resolve workplace issues through proper channels, not on social media. Before you share information, reflect on your intentions and the consequences. Even if you don't post, consider the impact of "liking" someone else's disrespectful comments.
Consider your intentions when sharing health-care information online and ensure the information is accurate and evidence-based.
If you choose to use social media or other technologies with clients, know and follow your workplace policies.
Be responsible and accountable for your actions. Reflect on why, how, and when it is appropriate to use social media and help others do the same.
Personal social media use during work can lead to client risks because of distractions and interruptions, and in some situations, could be seen as client abandonment. Keep your obligations to clients, colleagues, and your workplace front and centre.
Not willing to talk about your online behaviour with others? Take it as a warning sign.
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