Social media is a part of everyday life and, for most of us, it’s also seeped into the workplace. Many healthcare employees use it to network, stay informed, and make friends with colleagues. These are all safe, responsible approaches to social media than can help educate, inspire, and further your professional growth.
However, using social media inappropriately can get you into major trouble, especially if you’re a nurse. Remember, it’s your professional responsibility to protect your patients’ privacy and your company’s reputation – and violating either of those could cost you your job.
To make sure you’re using social media correctly, follow these 4 key rules for nurses:
1. Never post anything that could identify someone as a patient.
Even a seemingly innocent post with a friendly patient could violate their privacy rights. This includes:
- any images or videos where patients are visible
- any text, image, video, or other media that shows a patient’s name or info
- any response to a patient’s negative review of your practice
2. Maintain ethical boundaries with patients.
While an important part of being a nurse is being friendly with patients, it’s inappropriate to have a relationship with them outside of the workplace – including on social media. Don’t let them follow you on any private accounts. You also shouldn’t exchange numbers or spend time together outside of work.
3. Keep your personal social media accounts private.
Otherwise, it’s impossible to control who sees your content – and a hiring manager, coworker, or patient may come across it. Also, make sure to never post anything negative about your workplace or coworkers. If you’d like to post about your company on professional sites, like LinkedIn or public nursing forums, you should only post content that’s been approved by your employer.
4. Stay on the safe side.
Playing it safe is the best approach for using social media wisely. Always consider your patients and employer before posting. If you think there’s a chance something might cross the line, it’s probably not a good idea. Trust yourself to exercise caution and use social media to further your career, not hinder it.
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