Nursing Professionalism and Social Media

Professional Associations in Nursing
April 24, 2024
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Nursing Professionalism and Social Media

Technology and social media play a vital role in the lives of nurses both professionally and personally. Beyond the personal benefits of social media, nurses are also able to utilize it for networking with other nurses and health providers. However, just like any other technology, if not used appropriately, social media exposes nurses and patients to personal and professional boundary violation, patient confidentiality violation, licensing and legal issues and risk of ruining a professional reputation (Charalambous, 2019). This paper addresses the aspects of social media (SM) that may be detrimental to the professional nursing practice.
A review of my SM activity has revealed instances that may be inappropriate in the nursing profession. In one tweet, I complained about how some patients seem to come to hospital with a diagnosis from popular medical diagnosis sites online thereby rendering a physician’s diagnosis as a second opinion. In another Facebook post, I complained about how no one seems to be addressing nurse burnout despite it being rampant in most health facilities. Although both of these posts have some truth behind them or represent how I truly felt at the time, they are inappropriate according to professional nursing standards. Nurses and health providers should not portray patients in a disapproving way even if they do not identify or name them. Furthermore, it is unprofessional and irresponsible for nurses to publicly voice their dissatisfaction with occupational aspects of the nursing profession that may expose their employer or their health organization to mockery or damage the reputation of the healthcare fraternity.
It is the responsibility of nurses to professional standards at work and in their personal lives. Any activity on SM reflects on the overall nursing profession and healthcare facilities and may influence public opinions on matters nursing and health (Al-Balushi, 2020). Inappropriate posts may have consequences such as job termination, fines and license revocation. Some of these inappropriate behaviors on SM include use of profanity or vulgar language, sexually suggestive content, violating patient confidentiality, inappropriate images such as intoxicated people and disapproving posts concerning patients, employers or the nursing profession. Disclosing confidential health data on SM is an infringement of HIPPA guidelines, whether done intentionally or unintentionally. Nurses should beware of breaching patient privacy through the information they share on SM for example by posting pictures of patients or by revealing patient information that may expose their identity such as their treatment plans or the medical condition they are suffering from.
As a nurse, I am dedicated to honoring the dignity and values of all patients and I am bound by nursing ethics to be compassionate when providing care. Refraining from sharing patient information on social media is a reflection of Christian values grounded in respect for human dignity regardless of the patients’ age, gender, nationality or medical condition. When a patient’s privacy is infringed upon whether intentionally or unintentionally, it may result to patients losing their dignity and with it the patient-nurse relationship required for healthy outcomes (Shahriari et al., 2017). After reflection, one of the social media behaviors I need to improve on include being aware of criticizing areas of healthcare that I feel are inadequate. Instead, I will seek professional avenues to voice my opinions and frustrations. Furthermore, I will refrain myself from communicating with my patients on SM even if the discussions are pertinent to their healthcare interventions and instead establish professional boundaries that are more secure to minimize the risk of violating patient privacy (Edge, 2017).



Al-Balushi, A. (2020). In the Era of Social Media: Is it time to establish a code of online ethical conduct for healthcare professionals?. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal [SQUMJ]20(1), 25.

Charalambous, A. (2019). Social Media and Health Policy. Asia-Pacific Journal Of Oncology Nursing6(1), 24.

Edge, W. (2017). Nursing Professionalism: Impact of Social Media Use among Nursing Students. Journal Of Healthcare Communications02(03).

Shahriari, M., Raee, Z., & Abedi, H. (2017). Nurses’ commitment to respecting patient dignity. Journal Of Education And Health Promotion6(1), 16.