Social media is a wonderful platform for sharing ideas, keeping in touch with family and supporting friend’s defining life moments. With sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, nearly anything can be shared in an instant, and the world is your audience.
While social media is used to share, promote and connect, as a nurse, you should be extra weary about what you do and don’t post. Just because your travel assignments take you from place to place, your posts don’t go away with a new assignment. To stay professional and savvy, follow these social media do’s and don’ts.
What Nurses Should & Shouldn’t Do on Social Media
DO promote a positive image of nurses
Project yourself to be caring, empathetic and nurturing. Social media is an great place to promote exactly what a nurse is—a caregiver. Make your online presence one that is kind and approachable. After all, someone on your friends list could need your help or advice.
DON’T post photos or information of patients
Regardless of whether or not you and a patient became close during their stay, posting a photo or video of them would violate patient confidentiality and be potential grounds for a lawsuit. Even if the patient gives you permission to take and post a photo, as a their caregiver, deny their request and respect their privacy.
DO talk about what’s new in the healthcare field
Talking about current events makes you appear knowledgeable and well-informed. Sharing advances in nursing and healthcare shows that you are truly passionate about what you do and can spark some great discussions.
DON’T post compromising information about yourself, patients, bosses or co-workers
This goes with any job but should be taken especially seriously in a field that promotes health and wellness. Even though posting about how drunk you were after a grad party, or how awful your boss’ new haircut is, may seem harmless, these actions could affect your job. Be mindful of your words and actions.
DO remain professional
Whether you are interacting with a fellow nurse or a patient, always maintain a strong level of professionalism. Remember that you represent your place of employment, so remain honest and loyal to patients and employers alike.
DON’T assume your posts and profiles are protected
If you work in a specialty of nursing where you deal with potentially dangerous patients, take extra precautions with posts and profile privacy. With just a name, nearly anyone can find you trough a search, and nearly anyone can screenshot what you post, so consider your audience and your content before posting—The internet has a long memory.
DO respect patient-nurse confidentiality
Keep names and cases off social media. Patients place their trust in you to take care of them without the fear of someone else knowing they’re seeking help. Even if you don’t name names, keep stories off social media as well; it’s only be a matter of time before someone puts the pieces of the puzzle together and figures out which case or patient you’re talking about.
DON’T complain about work or patients
So you don’t like your job? That’s alright, you can take a permanent leave of absence. Nursing is one of the fastest growing fields in the U.S. right now, and while it takes time to build a successful team of nurses, there are other qualified nurses that could take your spot if you complain. Save the venting for wine night, not social media.