Let Twitter and Facebook improve rather than ruin your practice

As social media mushrooms, so do its pitfalls. But online communities can offer invaluable sources of knowledge and support. Stephanie Jones-Berry reports

As social media mushrooms, so do its pitfalls. But online communities can offer invaluable sources of knowledge and support. Stephanie Jones-Berry reports.

Abstract

Even though social media is a part of everyday life, many nurses seem wary of using it in their practice.

A Nursing Standard survey shows more than three quarters (76%) of people polled say nurses should never discuss work matters on social media.

This is a more dogged stance than even the regulator takes.

Nursing and Midwifery Council guidance says social networks can benefit nurses, for example by giving them somewhere to discuss specific issues, research and clinical experiences. It goes on to advise nurses how to do this while maintaining patient confidentiality.

But the fact that some nurses have fallen foul of the Code because of their social media use might be responsible for nervousness among healthcare professionals.

A request to the NMC under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that 20 nurses underwent fitness to practise proceedings because of social media misuse between 2012 and 2015.

These cases resulted in eight nurses being removed from the register and three being suspended. The other nine received lesser forms of disciplinary sanction.

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This article was first published in print in Nursing Standard: volume 30, issue 24

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