Social Media and the Nurse Leader: What One Should Know Laurie Crider Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing April 21,

Social Media and the Nurse Leader: What One Should Know
Laurie Crider
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing
April 21, 2015
[Untitled illustration of heart and stethoscope]. Retrieved April 10, 2015 from
• Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn,
have become a platform for individuals to express ideas and views about
numerous topics, in both their personal and professional lives (Antheunis, Tates,
& Nieboer, 2013). While social media has its advantages, ethical and legal
implications exist, which should be considered prior to expressing one’s
thoughts, or posting that picture. Unfortunately for the nurse professional,
boundaries can be crossed, even when unintentional (Westrick, 2013).
Subsequently, crossing those boundaries carry the potential for legal
implications, which can be civil, criminal, or both (Westrick, 2013). Therefore,
this PowerPoint presentation has been created as a reference for the nurse leader.
The following power point presentation's aim is to educate the nurse leader and
nurses in those implications, and how social media can also be an advantage. The
power point presentation will be informative, and include the advantages,
disadvantages, implications, possible consequences, and how to avoid the pitfalls
of social media. The presentation will also express the views and positions, in
regards to social media, by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing
(NCSBN), the American Nurses Association (ANA), and The Texas Board of
Nursing (BON). Lastly, the presentation will exhibit, that with proper
management, education and support, professionals and patients will be ensured
social media “is a cure and not a curse” (Pillai, 2012, p. 55).
Keywords: implications, healthcare, position statements, social media,
social networks
With the popularity of social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and
YouTube, an increasing need for education of protecting patient healthcare information should be a priority
For nurse leaders.
While many pitfalls and disadvantages exist utilizing the world wide web, many advantages also
exist. Therefore, with proper education on how to avoid the pitfalls, the consequences and implications on
breaching patient privacy, the common misconceptions, these social networking platforms can actually be “a
cure and not a curse” (Pillai, 2011, p. 55).
[Untitled illustration of social professionals]. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from
First, we will look at common misconceptions of social networking among nurses and healthcare
workers, while surfing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Common Misconceptions
Nurses believe their postings
are private and can only be
viewed by their intended
recipient, however, “often
sites have a broad waiver of
rights to limit use of content.
Nurses often believe the
deleted statements or photos
are gone forever and no
longer accessible.
Nurses believe only a name
mentioned or a photo posted,
is a breach of patient
privacy, however, all
information used to identify
a patient is a breach of
(National Council of State Boards of Nursing [NCSBN], 2011)
Second, we will look at common disadvantages with social networking within the healthcare industry.
[Untitled illustration of cartoon patient and broken rib].
Retrieved April 21, 2015 from
Lateral violence may occur when
a patient’s confidentiality and
privacy have been disrespected
by communicating on social
media during nonworking hours,
which “affects bonding among
teammates” (NCSBN, 2011).
The inability to visualize the
“whole patient’s condition
online, thus the reason for the
monitoring of only minor cases
online (NCSBN, 2011).
A destruction in the nursepatient therapeutic relationship
occurs, as nurses forget
professionalism and become
social, discussing their personal
lives (NCSBN, 2011).
Nurses may destroy the
professional image of the
employer when online, forgetting
their professionalism (Journal of
Pioneering Medical Sciences,
Nurse recruiters often frequent a
prospective employee’s profile
and negative comments on a site
may result in a loss of
employability (Journal of
Pioneering Medical Sciences,
Next, the healthcare industry can utilize the many advantages of social networking platforms
transforming what may be called a “curse” by some, into a “cure”, which can be reached by many in a brief
period of time.
Advantages of Social Media in the
Healthcare Industry
Recruiters often view profiles on platforms
such as LinkedIn, which may be a valuable tool
for promoting one’s self for an offer of
Social media is a way to learn about the most
current treatment options available for various
diseases , medications, and procedures.
Social media is an excellent means of
exchanging ideas and providing education
among professional workers.
Social media is a means for, which healthcare
professionals can communicate with other
healthcare professionals, families, and friends of
the patient, in providing education or teaching.
Social media is advantageous for increasing the
awareness about diseases, precautions, or even
preemptive measures against diseases, which
may quickly turn pandemic to a wide audience.
One of the most advantageous uses of social
media is the ability to reach a massive audience
quickly (Journal of Pioneering Medical Sciences,
The importance of familiarizing and educating one’s self on the misuse of social media cannot be
stressed enough, as the implications and consequences are serious and not taken lightly by the Texas Board of
Nursing (BON).
Implications and Consequences of
Social Media
Unprofessional conduct may be an implication investigated by the Texas BON for
the misuse of social media.
Another implication is unethical conduct, which may lead the Texas BON to
investigate a nurse for misuse while on social media.
Mismanagement of patient records, revealing privileged patient communication, and
a breach of confidentiality are all implications for nurse misuse of social media,
which the Texas BON may investigate (Texas BON, 2014, p. 85).
Consequences, if determined misuse, may result in reprimand or sanctions by the
Texas BON.
An assessment of a monetary fine may also be a consequence for the misuse of social
Another consequence of social media misuse may be temporary, or permanent loss
of licensure.
If found to have violated federal or state laws, such as the Healthcare Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), fines, civil or criminal liabilities, and
even jail time might be the end result (NCSBN, 2011).
[Untitled illustration of twitter bird ].
Retrieved April 21, 2015 from
In order to accomplish the feat of advantages, the nurse leader should be prepared to educate nurses
and other members of the healthcare team on how to avoid the pitfalls of social media.
How To Avoid the Pitfalls
Social Media
Know and adhere
to your facility’s
privacy policies
and social media
Never assume all
of your postings
are private and
won’t be seen by
professionals or
[ Untitled illustration of a pitfall ]. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from
yourself with
your state’s nurse
practice acts and
rules and
Read and follow
the guidelines
provided by the
ANA and
regarding social
Don’t make
comments about
people or
never discuss
patients or give
out any
which would
allow one to
identify them.
Read closely all
of the terms of
any social
website and be
sure you
understand the
Know and
understand your
HIPAA laws
(Brous, 2013).
In summary, we as nurse leaders have a magnificent opportunity in which to take a social
networking platform such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and transcend nursing into a
successful realm.
A realm where healthcare professionals are able to communicate with one another, and the public
in the most unique ways. Providing bulletins, educational materials on diseases, disease control, disasters
and how to prepare for them, are only a few ways of such unique communication.
Therefore, nurse leaders have an innate opportunity to transform today’s new technology into an
everlasting friendship versus the dreaded foe lurking in anonymity, in anticipation of “that one moment,”
which could cost nurses their essence; their licensure.
So please, educate yourself and know the rules. Remember “ignorance is no excuse,” and
remember this mnemonic, SNAP, before taking “that photo” or “posting that comment” on the internet.
Protect Healthcare Information!
[Untitled illustration of jail bird]. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from]
American Nurses Association (ANA). (2012) Social networking principles toolkit.
Retrieved on 4/17/15 from
Antheunis, M. L., Tates, K., & Nieboer, T. E. (2013, September). Patients’ and health professionals’ use of social media in health care:
Motives, barriers and expectations. Patient Education and Counseling, 92(3), 426-431.
Brous, E. (2013, May). How to avoid the pitfalls of social media. American Nurse Today, 8(5). Retrieved from
Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. (2015). Retrieved , from
Journal of Pioneering Medical Sciences. (2013, July 30). Effects of social media on nursing [Blog post]. Retrieved from
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). (2012). Social media guidelines.
Retrieved on 4/17/15 from
Pillai, P. (2012, June). Social media in healthcare: Making the case. Modern Medicare, 49-55. Retrieved from
Pozgar, G. D. (2014). Legal and ethical essentials of healthcare administration (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Texas Board of Nursing. (2014). Texas board of nursing: Board position statements.
Retrieved from
Westrick, S. J. (2013). Legal and ethical issues in healthcare. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

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