Healthcare professionals have an ethical and legal responsibility to maintain patient privacy at all times. This requires really good professional boundaries and a clear understanding about patient privacy. One way to think about patient privacy is to consider all information that we have about patients as THEIR information. We have access to it in our role as nurses etc, but it is not ours to share except in the course of providing care. Navigating these sometimes intimate but not mutual relationships in a professional and compassionate way is part of the “Art of Nursing” (Don’t miss this innovative way to celebrate Nurses’ Week btw:
Social Media has blurred the boundaries of friendship and privacy somewhat and healthcare professionals must be vigilant about appropriate use of it. There have been cases of nurses and nursing students facing serious disciplinary actions because of they posted something on Facebook or other media and even though names were not mentioned it was traced back to the nurse.
Here are a couple of examples from a google search:
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) as a great 5 min video that highlights guidelines for using Social Media and an excellent White Paper on Social Media Guidelines that includes 7 case scenarios that are very effective teaching tools.
Kudos to NCSBN for their great work in helping nurses understand implications of Social Media use and maintain the highest standards of professionalism!