The world of social media continues to grow since it was first founded. In this technologically advanced era of digital culture, we have easier access to a plethora of digital communication and information sources. Social networking has been concentrated in all areas of industries, including the medical professions like nursing. Whether these social platforms are used to share experiences and hardships as a nurse or for professional purposes such as promoting hospitals and medical services, it is encouraged for nurses to utilize the cyber features to spark conversations with the public to answer health care matters, the current best practices, and many other exciting topics on the wonders of the nursing world.
Yes, social media is a versatile instrument made useful for the nursing community. However, any social means has its boundaries to abide by. As nurses explore social networking sites, chat rooms, blogs, and public forums, they may unwittingly cross a dangerously thin line between professional and personal online decorum, and they may even break federal and/or state laws which are already bad enough to handle. This further proves that the privilege we have with social resources comes with a great deal of responsibility.
Healthcare staff are responsible not only for ensuring patient confidentiality and privacy, but also for representing their workplace positively. Inappropriate use of social media can result in disciplinary action, which can have a detrimental impact on both a nurse’s career and licensing in the most egregious circumstances. Of course, controversial postings may result in people not being able to buy insta likes to depend on high engagement. But think about it, there are a number of people who lost their job for resorting to taking a step outside of those limitations, thus costing their career and reputation, including certain nurses.
Here is how social media can benefit or cause a drawback for nurses:
Pros: Inspires Future Nurses Who Are Interested In The Medical Field
Social media like Twitter and Instagram can act as an educational platform for aspiring future nurses to discuss minor nuggets about the medical profession, with nursing accounts already in place for male nurses, health advancements, industry concerns, nursing history like the famous Florence Nightingale, and so on. Even the American Journal of Nursing and the American Nurses Association have Twitter accounts to show the ropes via informational postings, threads and stories. Many students enrolled in nursing programs or who are already working as nurses may want to share their experiences or lessons learnt as well to these rookie communities.
Cons: Sometimes, Things Can Go A Little Too Much
We use social media as an escapism of sorts and are no strangers as a platform to let out our frustrations. Even nurses have difficulties to endure and, at some point, they might not bottle it up anymore. It could be a temper fit from the senior nurses, or a day full of mean, disrespectful patients, or if they mess up on using the apparatuses, and a lot more obstacles to name. They too can use social media to express difficult or emotional events, but they must avoid mentioning any identifying patient or geographical information to prevent negative consequences.
Pros: A Place Of Comfort For The Public Health
With the COVID-19 pandemic yet to be eradicated completely from the face of the globe, it became a struggle for most people to adapt to the new norms – wearing face masks, sanitize daily, obey social distancing laws, staying at home unless necessary to go out, and many more. With social media, nurses can create a healthy patient/nurse relationship by taking advantage of the pleasant interactions via social media that are good to ease the worries of the public who have been intimidated by the presence of the lethal virus. According to the Institute for Healthcare Communication, strong positive relationships between nurses and other healthcare workers assist patients and the general public follow through on medical team advice and even self-manage their health. Since the hospitals are packed with COVID-19 infected patients, the public can be independent in taking care of themselves.
Cons: It Can Potentially Damage Nursing Careers
To begin with, the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics states that “nurses should assess all their postings with the idea that a patient, colleague, educational institution, or employer may potentially view those postings.” Online material and behavior have the potential to help or hurt not only the individual nurse’s career, but also the nursing profession.” Many nurses may feel that information provided privately or on their personal page is exempt from professional examination. However, evidence of unprofessional behavior, such as unethical activity, may have a negative impact on their professional career. According to American Nurse Today, comments regarding drink, sex, drugs, or racism, for example, could result in claims of unprofessional behavior.