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Social media considerations


At BCCNP, the complaints we receive about nurses’ use of social media and technology relate to boundaries, privacy and confidentiality, professional integrity, and public trust. The issue is not social media or communication technology itself, but how it’s used—personally and professionally.

If you use social media, professionally or personally, consider:

Benefits and risks

Know the benefits and risks of social media. Build your competence. Know the technology and have the skills and judgment to use it appropriately and ethically. Be aware of social media's evolving culture and changing technology. Reflect on the intent and possible consequences of your online behaviour — before you blog, post, like, comment or tweet.

Professional image

Use the same level of professionalism in your online interactions as you do face-to-face. Keep your personal and professional lives separate. Use different accounts for personal and professional activities.

Confidentiality

Do not share any client information on social media sites. Leaving out details when you post information or images does not protect client confidentiality. Report confidentiality breaches to the right person, immediately.

Privacy

Set and maintain your privacy settings to limit access to your personal information. Be aware of your privacy settings and know that even if you use the highest privacy settings, others can copy and share your information without your knowledge or permission.

Boundaries

Set and maintain appropriate professional boundaries. Just as with face-to-face relationships, this applies online too. Communicate these boundaries to clients and end your professional relationships appropriately. Don't accept "friend" requests from clients or former clients on your personal social media accounts.

If you use social media with clients for work purposes, such as client teaching and resource-sharing, use a professional account separate from your personal one. Be clear about how your use of social media supports professional practice and make sure organizational policies addressing privacy and confidentiality are in place.

Expectations

Use caution if you identify yourself as a nurse online, outside of your employment. If you do so, others may ask for advice, which could lead to a nurse-client relationship. Using a name that hides your real identity does not release you from this expectation. Know this and practise accordingly.

Integrity

Protect yours and the profession's integrity. Use proper communication channels to discuss, report and resolve workplace issues — not social media. Refer to colleagues or clients online with the same level of respect as you would in the workplace. Before you blog, tweet or share information about your practice, reflect on your intentions and the possible consequences. Even if you don’t post yourself, consider the impact of "liking" someone else’s disrespectful comments.

Employer policies

Know and follow employer policies on using social media, photography, computers and mobile devices, including personal, at work. If you need to communicate with clients via social media, use a professional account and work with your employer to develop policies.

Accountability

Make sure you can answer for your actions. Reflect on why, how and when you use social media and help others do the same. Know that personal use of social media while working can create client risks through distraction and interruptions; and in some situations, could be viewed as client abandonment.

If you are uncomfortable discussing your online behaviour with others, consider this a red flag. Use professional judgment to keep your obligations to clients, colleagues and employers front and center.

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