In my last post I explained how social networking sites can help connect nurses and nursing students to hospitals and clinics. Many places of employment are connected on Facebook and Twitter and post employment opportunities and events to connect with their communities. With this great resource for finding a job and researching potential places to work, there is also the flip side of the coin: they can also research you on the internet. This could be a good thing or a scary thing for 2-Stage ADN students.
Jennifer Larson, contributor for nursezone.com, lists a variety of do’s and don’ts when it comes to the world wide web. “Many health care leaders are calling for an increase in awareness about the appropriate use of social media by health care professionals. And many hospitals are beginning to issue guidelines—and in some cases, stringent policies—in an effort to shape or limit their employees’ use of social networking sites.
“In addition, certain professional organizations are beginning to issue guidelines for social media use to help health care professionals learn what’s appropriate to post online and what could leave room for a dismissal or even a lawsuit.”
One incident that comes to mind is when the Kansas nursing students posed with a placenta that they were observing in class. One student posted pictures of it on her Facebook account and the group was expelled. Another incident involves five nurses who were discussing a patient’s case online and they too were fired from their positions.
Here are a few guidelines that Larson mentions:
“DO make a distinction between your personal life and your professional life online.
“’You really need to have two separate (online) personas for yourself. I follow that rule myself,’ said Pamela Ressler, BSN, RN, who administers and moderates the Twitter and Facebook pages for the University of Massachusetts (Boston) College of Nursing and Health Sciences, noting that she even set up different Twitter accounts for her university position and for her own consulting company, Stress Resources.”
“DO use social media for educational and professional purposes.
“Amanda McGauley, RN, believes that social media outlets are a great tool for nurses who want to learn more and to share their knowledge with others.
“DO be mindful of HIPAA.
“Even if you’re posting professionally, be mindful of privacy regulations and keep the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines in mind.
“DO set your privacy settings as high as possible.
“Facebook, for example, lets users customize their privacy settings so that they can limit what others can view on their page. Twitter also allows users to block people from seeing their tweets unless they’ve been approved by the user.
“DON’T be lulled by false security.
“DON’T discuss your patients or your colleagues.”
If you’re a 2 -Stage ADN student in the San Francisco Bay Area, think before you type.
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