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Nurses and Social Media

I have to post my opinion on Use of Social Media in Nursing profession In this discussion forum, I have to share your thoughts on the use of social media, ANA guidelines for social media, and HIPAA. A response will include specific examples to the articles, websites, and my feelings regarding the nurses’ actions.

Nurses and Social Media

Social media is one of the recent technological advancement that have changed the way people communicate. In nursing, social media is an important communication tool. Social media is both a personal and professional communication tool for nursing. However, personal and professional etiquette must be observed while using social media as a communication tool.

One of the most important compliance issue for nurses to observe is to ensure that patient privacy and confidentiality is not compromised in their online communication. For example, it is wrong for a nurse to post the genitals of a patient on social media pages. Many nursing professional bodies including the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), asserts that patient confidential information can only be shared with their consent (Anderson and Puckrin, 2011). Nurses breach patient confidentiality by posting patient photos or videos, and their personal identifiable information. Nurses must also be aware that sharing confidential and sensitive information is a crime under the HIPAA act.

However, nurses can also use social media to build and maintain a support network. Interactions with colleagues on social media can provide a relief from job stress. The American Nurse Association (ANA) has issued a number of guidelines that guide nurse’s conduct in online environments. These guidelines can help nurses to use social media in a manner that does not compromise patient confidentiality and privacy.

Nurse must remember that social media is a public communication forum. Any post on social media may have serious consequences on the nurse’s career, the profession, and the institution. Therefore, nurses must use social media in a way that protects patients, themselves, their employers, and their professional from irresponsible use of social media.


Anderson, J., & Puckrin, K. (2011). Social network use: A test of self-regulation.  Journal of Nursing Regulation, 2(1), 36-41.

Navigating the World of Social Media

The number of individuals using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube is
growing at an astounding rate. Facebook reports that over 10% of the world’s population has a Facebook
presence while Twitter manages more than 140 million Tweets daily. Nurses are making connections using
social media. Recently, the College of Nurses of Ontario reported that 60% of Ontario’s nurses engage in social
networking (Anderson & Puckrin, 2011).
Social networks are defined as “web-based services that allow individuals to 1) construct a public or semi-public
profile within a bounded system, 2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and 3) view
and traverse their lists of connections and those made by others within the system” (Boyd and Ellison, 2007).
These online networks offer opportunities for rapid knowledge exchange and dissemination among many people,
although this exchange does not come without risk. Nurses and nursing students have an obligation to understand the nature, benefits, and consequences of participating in social networking of all types. Online content
and behavior has the potential to either enhance or undermine not only the individual nurse’s career, but also the
nursing profession.
• Networking and nurturing relationships
• Exchange of knowledge and forum for collegial interchange
• Dissemination and discussion of nursing and health related
education, research, best practices
• Educating the public on nursing and health related matters
• Information can take on a life of its own where inaccuracies
become “fact”
• Patient privacy can be breached
• The public’s trust of nurses can be compromised
• Individual nursing careers can be undermined
ANA’s Principles for Social Networking

  1. Nurses must not transmit or place online individually
    identifiable patient information.
  2. Nurses must observe ethically prescribed professional patient — nurse boundaries.
  3. Nurses should understand that patients, colleagues, institutions, and employers may view postings.
  4. Nurses should take advantage of privacy settings and seek to separate personal
    and professional information online.
  5. Nurses should bring content that could harm a patient’s privacy, rights, or welfare
    to the attention of appropriate authorities.
  6. Nurses should participate in developing institutional policies governing online
    Anderson, J., & Puckrin, K. (2011). Social network use: A test of self-regulation. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 2(1), 36-41.
    Boyd, S., & Ellison, N.B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer Mediated
    Communication, 13(1), 210-230.
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