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Should Hospitals and Clinics Post on Facebook?

I’ve written about health care and its participation in the social media realm, but with this new platform interesting issues keep coming up. As a student in a vocational nursing college, check out what the local hospitals in your area are saying.

On FierceHealth.com, editor Karen M. Cheung reports on a controversial event that happened at a hospital in Rhode Island. “the media relations officer at Rhode Island Hospital through Facebook addressed recent charges against a physician, letting readers know that the physician left the institution and his privileges were suspended, wrote Nancy Cawley Jean, senior media relations officer at Lifespan health system, on Hospital Impact. A patient responded accusing the hospital for a lack of discretion about an ongoing criminal and internal investigation. The event highlights whether Facebook is the appropriate forum for such news and comments.”

Facebook and Twitter are great forums to voice opinions and announce events, but the etiquette rules are not clearly established with this new use of technology. What seems an obvious breach of taste to one person is another person’s shared post. (Example: I had a friend post her grandfather’s funeral pictures on Facebook. That is so disrespectful and tacky I’m not even going to get started sharing all of my feelings.)

“’Being up front, honest, and transparent in social media is vital to its success and to the reputation of your brand, whether it be a hospital, a small B2B business, or your own personal page,’ Jean wrote. ‘A social media policy is absolutely vital,’’ reports Chueng.

As a student in a school of vocational nursing, you could use this technology to your advantage. This is a great way to find out how the hospital that you are planning to work at feels about certain matters such as the future of health care, how they are planning on succeeding during this time of economic difficulty and what goals they have to achieve in the future. You can also view comments from patients and others involved with the specific institution.

As a new employee, you may also want to ask if the hospital or clinic that you will be working for has a social media policy in place. It’s wise not to comment on your place of work or co-workers on a social site, but it’s nearly impossible not to include your fellow employees as “friends.”

Technology as well as health care is ever changing. In both areas, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit