Nurses Use of Social Media


Nursing has changed dramatically over the years.  Today we wear scrubs, not whites.  Our environment is more automated.  We use machines to dispense medication and take vital signs. It is now appropriate to use cell phones in the hospital.  Remember the days when it would affect the equipment and cause disruption?

With so much access to the web and social media, there is always the temptation to post patient info or situations.  I recently had a situation where I posted something on my personal page that caused a furry.  What I posted was my personal opinion and yet those who did not agree searched my information to see that I was a nurse.  Several people contacted my employer to complain about my view on a social issue.  I was asked to remove my post or take down the information that I was a nurse working for this employer.

Recently we saw the video posted by a nurse after her shift dealing with flu patients in the ED. Her video went viral and was seen over 9 million times.  She allegedly was reported to the Board of Nursing and her hospital for a possible breach of regulations and HIPPA concerns.  While she did not mention names she did mention situations that would easily identify someone.

Social Media Poses Tremendous Potential

If you are a frequent user of Facebook to connect with other nurses then you know how it strengthens relationships.  The information you can gather is helpful when you are making decisions on your next assignment.  I find that when you are a member of a group of like-minded people there is a wealth of information available.

I follow many travel nursing sites and it is great to see you all reaching out to other travelers for much-needed information.  You can Google to get answers to your travel questions but it is best coming from another traveler.

Protect Privacy

Of course, as nurses, we are well aware of a patient’s right to privacy and confidentiality.  Employers and nursing organizations are concerned about inappropriate use of social media by nurses.    We know to be cautious about posting information regarding patients or their family.  You also need to be very careful about what you say regarding employers or your profession.

Social media can be a very effective way of communicating with nurses, but guidelines for use by healthcare providers must be followed.

Must Read Social Media Advice

Check out Must-Read Social Media Advice by Carlton G. Brown, Ph.D., RN, AOCN, NEA-BC, FAAN.  the article mentions things not to do on social media.  You will also see why you might want to be on social media sites.  Using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin are great for staying connected and up to date.

Guidelines for appropriate use of social media by nurses need to be developed at the organizational level and educational programs.  Be sure to check the policy of use at each of your assignments as they may differ from site to site.


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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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