Friday, January 12, 2018

Social Media Rules for Nurses

Well it is safe to say that society and nurses have come along way since the 1800's where smoke signals were a form of communication.   Then in 1844 the telegram was invented; and soon after came the telephone in 1876.


In 1978 the first email spam was sent to 393 users by Gary Thuerk. However, with the launch of Facebook in 2004 not to mention Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc, etc.  Nurses and other healthcare professionals have been in trouble for social media use at work and away from work.


The Risk



According to the Nurses Service Organization (NSO); social media is a "Real Risk" for nurses and healthcare professionals.  NSO presents real stories in which healthcare professionals are getting fired, or worse losing their licenses to work due to social media use/abuse.  




One story they present is about a physical therapy (PT) licensing board receiving complaints about a PT using his/her cell phone to send emails, texts, and used social media applications during the patients treatment sessions.

The actual complaint caused the board to issue a subpoena of the PT's telecommunication provider for the PT's cell phone use and activity.  This gave the PT board the information needed to confirm that the PT had in fact been using his/her cell phone during the entire Physical therapy session.   Due to this subpoena they also discovered fraudulent billing, and due to this investigation the PT was place on probation for 3 years and is now required to work supervised and have all treatments completed signed off.  


How to help Your Staff


It is probably safe to say that most of us are used to having our cells phone on us at all times and use it throughout the day without even realizing it.   If you as a company or leader want to help your staff; provided them with real life situations and cases on a regular basis.  Teach them how to avoid getting reprimanded or even fired; and in the worst case scenario losing their professional licenses.  Healthcare Professionals are governed not only by HIPPA and HITECH, but by local and state laws as well.  




Establish a Social Media Policy

A social media policy can go a long way to not only protect patients and the facility; but it will provide a guideline and set a tone in the workplace for when, where, and how to use social media. Diane Evans is Publisher of MyHIPAAGuide.com has developed an awesome continuing education course that will help healthcare professionals learn how to navigate the social media scene while working at the hospital, home care, or wherever you profession takes you.






Diane Evans is Publisher of MyHIPAAGuide.com, a news and information service that helps HIPAA-covered organizations understand their responsibilities.


MyHIPAAGuide.com offers resources for self-conducted Security Risk Assessment, templates for security policies and "Meaningful Consent" Patient Privacy Notices, and much more in an online catalog of 40+ carefully-picked federally produced resources.




Provide Education

As a leader you may feel that your healthcare professionals should already know the rules and regulations; but that is not a fair assumption.  There are so many laws and regulations to follow and they change often.  Providing education serves two purposes.  It educated the staff on what is new and relevant and it protects you as an employer.  Content of education should include:



  • Rules and Etiquette of using Social Media
  • Potential Legal Issues
  • HIPPA and Patient Confidentially
  • Disciplinary Actions for misuse of social media
  • Setting Boundaries for Social Media use



Discipline Consistently



If a leader and organization does not use consistency across the board it will lead to a culture failure and higher turnover rates.  Of course, it is human nature to like some and not others.  However, in business and the professional setting consistent discipline across the board will help alleviate any legal issues and help retain the highest functioning professionals in your area of expertise.






Social Media Expectations




Social media can benefit us all; including the workplace.  However, as a leader and company we must set the expectations before the employee begins working so there are no miscommunication errors or lost expectations.  Learn now how to navigate the social media rules for healthcare professionals and save yourself time and hassle of getting fired or worse going in front the board.