How should nurses act on social media platforms?

in Social Media by

It was an exciting opportunity to talk about healthcare social media to our nurse colleagues during the Philippine Nurses Association Annual Convention held in Davao City last October 21, 2015 . I zeroed in on this- “Social Media: A Powerful Tool for Health Care and Its Ethical Implications and   Responsibilities”  in the 30 minutes I’m allocated. I don’t have permission (yet) to post my full speech here so, I’ll just summarise the important points for those colleagues who weren’t able to attend the convention. Basically, these points should be the foundation of your answer to the question “How should a nurse, act on social media platforms?”

  1. Nurses are healthcare professionals. Professionalism is the basis of healthcare professional’s contract to the society. He or she is expected to act professionally, every time, everywhere, privately or publicly.
  2. Nurses have the moral and legal obligation to yourselves, your profession, the patient and society to upheld your profession every time, everywhere, publicly and even privately.
  3. Internet and social media are public, irregardless of your privacy settings. There’s really nothing private once it goes into the net.
  4. Primacy of patient privacy and confidentiality is above anything else in the profession, even that of the healthcare professional itself. As a healthcare professional, we are legally and morally bound to protect this, every time, everywhere, even on social media.
  5. Professional boundaries should always be maintained whenever, wherever, every time we engage our patients, and society in general.
  6. The absence of social media policy for your healthcare institution does not mean it’s we can set aside “professionalism”. You should initiate steps to come up with your own policies regarding use of social media.
  7. Social media can be a powerful tool for the nurses professional organisation- engagement, leadership and communication. Use it well to promote and achieve organizational goals.
  8. Social media is a very good tool to promote social justice by promoting equal access and voice to healthcare. Use it wisely!

I agree these are not very easy points to ponder, much less follow. But who said being a nurse is easy? Kudos to all the superhuman nurses!

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (