After a long nursing shift or stressful day of speaking with insurance companies, we would all like to express ourselves on social media. Whether that would include discussing the injustices of insurance companies, showcasing the world’s most awful tattoo, or sharing thoughts on why a child should not come to the school nurse, we owe it to ourselves and to our profession to check most of those expressions off our social media share list.  Today, let’s guide you on the trail of social media!

  • Maintain Professional Boundaries

Check your organization’s policy on allowing social media friendships with patients and their families. Do you find value in this relationship? Do you want patients and their families to connect with you after their time of healthcare service is complete? Where do you let work life and your social life cross over? Where do you not let it cross over?

If you get asked often by patients and their families to become friends on social media, then have a script prepared to answer this request. Such as, “thank you for the request but I do not accept friend requests outside of my family and friends.” And stick to it verbally and when accepting requests!

  • Be mindful of HIPAA

In healthcare, we have all completed hours of training on HIPAA. Well, use that knowledge to not get yourself in some hot water. For instance, I referenced an awful tattoo in the opening paragraph, because I know of a story where a healthcare worker posted a picture on social media of her patient’s interesting injury. A friend of a friend viewed it and immediately knew who the patient was because of the visible tattoo in the picture. Why get in trouble over something that you should not have done in the first place?

A generic post about your day may include “Thanks for the help today…it was crazy!” over a post like “Thanks for the help today….bed 2 was CRAZY!” Even if you use the generic post and commenters start discussing bed 2….DELETE them! Let you friends know that is against HIPAA, too. It doesn’t take much effort to figure out what organization you work for and to even dial down to a unit. Keep patient confidentiality in check – the world is more connected than you can imagine.

  • Protect your Reputation (personal and professional)

We are concerned about patient’s privacy, but what about your own? I search Facebook daily for people I am interviewing. I am not looking for things to say “got you” but rather a face to put with a resume. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t found things that alert me or give me false impressions of a candidate. Keep your social media site fun yet professional. Be yourself, but always remember future employers do watch. For example, many nurses from my unit went on an outing recently. They posted a fun picture of “watch out 5 nurses going out!”. All the nurses were happy and ready for a fun night on the town. No follow-up pictures were posted nor live feed from the outing was found. This was an A+ posting in my book.

  • Don’t Advise Patients through your Social Media Accounts

Let’s say you posted an article about the difference between a cold and the flu on social media. A follower comments what their symptoms area and wonders what they should do. The best way to answer someone is to let them know to “Seek a healthcare providers advice”. As a nurse, we cannot diagnosis patients nor prescribe medications. We have a lot of hunches and are probably correct more times than not, but without a thorough on-site assessment how can you adequately diagnose this person? When in doubt, seek out!

Remember to have fun and be professional on your social media trails. Let’s hit the nursing trail!

For original article via Medscape Nurses go to:

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