To Post or Not To Post: Navigating Social Media
Here are some tips to keep in mind before posting something on social media:
- Nothing is private. Do not assume that if you send any health information electronically that it will go only to your intended recipient. Anything sent online (even if something is posted and then deleted) can be held on a server or disseminated to others.
- As a nurse you have an ethical and a legal obligation to keep patient private information safe at all times. This includes discussing an individual patient or their care, even if all identifying information is removed.
- Nurses must not speak in a disparaging manner of any patient at any time, even if there is no patient information in a post or comment.
- Nurses may not "gossip" about other patients, or share any photographs without written consent from a patient. Nurses should not take any photos, at any time, on their personal cell phones.
Remember, a breach of HIPAA can result not only in termination from your job, but also heavy fines and loss of your medical license. For additional information about HIPAA and social media for nurses, you can read a pamphlet put forward by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing here.