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Use Social Media Responsibly as a Nurse

Social media has transformed the way the world communicates and consumes information. With immediate access to local and global updates, people can use social media as a useful platform for learning, collaboration, and innovation. At the same time, the anonymous nature of social media can sometimes enable unreliable sources to share false or negative information that can quickly spread to millions of users and have widespread consequences. 

Therefore, there is a fine balance between using social media to network with others responsibly and using it to intentionally or accidentally share misinformation. 

So, what about nurses on social media? As a nurse, it is particularly important to use social media responsibly to protect patient confidentiality and maintain professional boundaries. This can mean refraining from posting or discussing a specific patient’s case. Furthermore, nurses should consider keeping their professional social networking separate from their personal social networking. 

If you are a nurse, keep reading for the best tips to be mindful while using social networking platforms and how to use social media responsibly. 

Social Media and Nursing

person using phone

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are some of the most popular social media platforms of our day. These social media platforms provide individuals and organizations with a powerful virtual network to share meaningful information. As a nurse, social media can help spread awareness of important health issues and create groundbreaking dialogue within the medical field. On the contrary, nurses’ posting on social media carries certain risks, such as the spread of misinformation. What’s more, nurses who post on social media can experience backlash, cyberbullying, and false allegations related to their work. In fact, research by a Massey University Ph.D. graduate showed that cyberbullying in nursing is a growing problem and found that “nurses not only experience bullying by other staff but also by patients and their families.”

Ultimately, nurses on social media need to be aware of both the benefits and risks of using social networking platforms. Below are a few guidelines nurses can follow to use social media responsibly:

Social Media Guidelines for Nurses

The online world moves at a fast pace and allows people to share news, insights, and videos instantly. Nurses posting on social media can use social networking platforms as an efficient and intelligent way to spread information. The American Nurses Foundation (ANA) has outlined a few guiding principles on how nurses can interact and engage on social media responsibly:

Be Mindful of Your Audience

If you are a nurse posting on social media, it’s important to be mindful of the content you share with your audience. This means being aware of content that could be controversial and shared with others. For this reason, many nurses posting on social media decide to separate their personal social media profiles from their professional ones. 

Be Professional 

If you decide to create a professional social media page as a nurse, you must uphold professionalism related to your field. This means fact-checking information and only sharing information that calls for meaningful engagement. Furthermore, as a nurse, it is never appropriate to post pictures or videos of patients or colleagues without their consent, especially if the content contains the disclosure of confidential information. 

Be Familiar with Social Media Employer Policies

Sometimes an employer will outline a concrete social media policy in nursing settings as a way to protect the reputation of nurses, patients, and the employer. Therefore, nurses posting on social media should familiarize themselves with social media policy in nursing according to their place of employment.

Keep Social Media Profiles Secure

Unfortunately, hacking on social media is a common occurrence. Hackers, who are also considered “cybercriminals,” use phishing scams, send spam, and spread malware by hacking into and compromising social media accounts. Therefore, nurses should make sure all their social media accounts are secure by changing passwords regularly, enabling two-factor authentication, and reporting any suspicious activity. 

Only Share Credible Information

A nurse can use social media responsibly by only spreading credible information. Credible information can be fact-checked or backed by credible sources such as peer-reviewed journals, scholarly journals, dictionaries, and encyclopedias.

Share Respectful Content

A nurse posting on social media should never engage in or post content that is derogatory, violent, racist, or disparaging. Not only could this type of content negatively affect the reputation of a nurse, but it could also result in job termination. 

Final Thoughts 

people holding phones

Social media is here to stay; that’s a fact. Therefore, using social media responsibly as a nurse means being wise and intentional when posting or engaging in content online. From there, social media (with a responsible approach) can be a compelling way to spread positivity, education, and awareness. 


Blog published on:
May 10, 2023

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