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As much fun as Social Media has become, it can ruin your nurse career if you’re not careful. By following a few simple rules when conversing in online nurse forums and posting on Facebook, Twitter and others, nurses can freely enjoy Social Media and avoid common pitfalls that lead to conflict.

  1. Don’t post personal information.
    Outside of a basic online Profiles nurses use to network with employers, it is best to remain anonymous when participating in cyber discussion groups and posting on public and private Internet sites.  Anonymity can be effectively accomplished by utilizing avatars and clever pen names. Avoid using your real name (including just your first name) or actual thumbnail photos of you.
  2. Don’t post pictures or names of patients.
    Adhering to patient privacy and disclosure laws as mandated by state and federal governments (HIPPA) is paramount to avoiding conflict and liability as a nurse on the Internet. Avoid posting information that can potentially reveal who a patient is or where they’re being treated.  When sharing clinical information and experiences with others on the Internet; be sure not to refer to “a patient,” “the patient,” or “patient x.” In fact, don’t refer to a patient at all; just reference the clinical action, methodology or discovery you are sharing.
  3. Don’t bad mouth, discriminate or communicate unprofessionally.
    No healthcare provider wants a negative leader in the ranks, so it’s vital to remain positive and constructive when participating in online discussion groups and responding to other posts. Name calling, derogatory remarks, bad grammar, slang, slander, libel and hate speech must be avoided at all costs. If you feel yourself getting heated, it’s best to log off for the time being.
  4. Don’t discuss bad habits.
    Here’s one that can really get nurses in trouble: a perfectly innocent night on the town when either you or others took pictures and posted them online.  Sure you had fun, but does the whole world really need to know? Moreover, don’t reveal whether you smoke, drink or take medication.  Should an employer grasp this information, it could work against your current or next job.
  5. Don’t post times, dates, schedules or locations where you practice.
    When sharing clinical stories or disseminating nurse advice and information over the Internet, never disclose where you work or who you work with or for. Don’t discuss where a particular surgery took place or bash healthcare providers (If you have a legitimate complaint contact the state’s Department of Health). Don’t post your nurse schedule, places to meet on the premises or where you want to meet others after work or during the week.

Now that you know what not to do when engaging Social Media, take a moment to learn how to use Social Media to boost your chances of getting hired.

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4 Responses to “Top Five DON’Ts for Nurses Using Social Media”

  1. The Official Travel Nursing Blog - Social Media May Impact Nurse Jobs Search More than You Think Says:

    [...] Read Top Five Don’ts when Using Social Media [...]

  2. jenee Says:

    Actually, its’ against the law and against hospital’s codes of coduct to discuss any form of work related or patient related material. Nurses doctors and residents can not even discuss how their day was “I had this patient who told me this” or I saw this girl who had that” even at a bar after hours socializing or on the commute home. There was this nasty intrusive NP who violated a few patients’ privacy multiple times and was dumb enough to leave an electronic fingerprint, then had the nerve to post comments regarding patient’s surgeries on a social website like facebook, what an idiot.

  3. The Official Travel Nursing Blog - Nurses Leverage Social Media to Find Nurse Jobs Says:

    [...] Top Five “Don’ts” for Nurses Using Social Media [...]

  4. Arlyne Lincicum Says:

    Best article. I look forwards to reading much more. Many thanks

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