A Nurse’s Guide to the Use of Social Media
A nurse must understand and apply these guidelines for the use of social media.
A Nurse’s Guide to the Use of Social Media The use of social media and other electronic communication is expanding exponentially as the number of social media outlets, platforms and applications available continue to increase. Individuals use blogs, social networking sites, video sites, online chat rooms and forums to communicate both personally and professionally with others. Social media is an exciting and valuable tool when used wisely. The very nature of this medium, however, can pose a risk as it offers instantaneous posting opportunities that allow little time for reflective thought and carries the added burden that what is posted on the Internet is discoverable by a court of law even when it is long deleted. Nurses are welcome to use social media in their personal lives. This may include having a Facebook page, a Twitter feed or blogging on various websites. Nurses can positively use electronic media to share workplace experiences, particularly those events that are challenging or emotionally charged, but it is imperative not to mention patients by name or provide any information or details that could possibly identify them in order to protect patients’ right to privacy.
Social Media in the Workplace
Social media can benefit health care in a variety of ways, including fostering professional connections, promoting timely communication with patients and family members, and educating and informing consumers and health care professionals. Social media provides nurses with a way to express their feelings, and reflect or seek support from friends, colleagues, peers or virtually anyone on the Internet. Journaling and reflective practice are recognized as effective tools in nursing practice, and the Internet provides an alternative media for nurses to engage in these helpful activities. Without a sense of caution, however, these understandable needs and potential benefits may result in the nurse disclosing too much information, and violating patient privacy and confidentiality.