Nurse SocialmediaNurses are the foundation and lifeblood of any medical practice and hospital. Whether nurses are working with a patient or in medical software, it’s important to remember social context, and also that someone is always listening.
During a recent visit to my wife’s 92 year old grandma at a hospital near Blue Ridge, GA, two nurses discussed another patient’s condition –aloud with me only 4-5 feet away. Granted, Grandma’s room was adjacent to the nurse’s station making privacy a challenge, but there is always the opportunity to speak at a lower volume. My wife is a country girl, and if you’re married to a country girl, you know how gregarious they are and how nearly impossible it is for them to speak quietly; even whispering they can be easily heard.
So, with that being said, there remains the constant need to be aware of how social context can impact patient privacy matters –whether we are working in EHR software, providing direct care to a patient, or conferring amongst the medical staff, not being cognizant of whose standing within ear or eye shot can have unintended HIPAA ramifications. To that end, here are few solid tips for nurses who use social media or consider using social media during the work day:

  1. Don’t Do It. Yes 1.3 billion people are on Facebook. So? Stand out against the crowd and swim upstream. Delete your Facebook account or don’t get on Facebook if you haven’t yet. There are thousands upon thousands of better things you can be doing with your time than mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed. Think of where all that Facebook energy could be going.
  2. Don’t Post It. Running an AHLS-HAZMAT test? Testing new lab equipment in your office? Friends visiting you and your Doc for the day? Don’t post a pic of it. You may accidentally be including a patient or patient information –or even making your patients think that you’re spending more time posting pictures online than tending to them.
  3. Don’t Say It. We’ve all seen it. Complaints about work. Complaints about staffing. Complaints about hours. Complaints about patients. Nurses have gotten fired for these things.
It may be a wee bit obvious that I’m not a big FB fan, but when it comes to work vs. social media, sometimes the best action is no action. Maybe the best motto is “Just DON’T Do It.”

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Last Updated on May 15, 2014