Brown cited the 2014 case of a registered nurse in New York City who was fired for posting a picture on Instagram her emergency room caring for a man who was hit by a subway train. She never mentioned the patient’s name or other information, but the unusual circumstances and news reports made it easy to identify the man.
The nurse, Brown wrote, wasn’t fired for a HIPAA violation or for breaking hospital policy; she was fired for being insensitive.
What to do instead
Award winning author and national speaker Brittney Wilson, RN, BSN, is known on social media as the Nerdy Nurse. She is an expert on social media issues, bullying and informatics, and gave Brown tips for nurses to use social media effectively and positively.
- Talk about yourself, the nursing profession, your family, hobbies and interests
- Never talk about patients or identifiable co-workers
- Avoid identifying your employer
- Don’t post anything you wouldn’t say in front of your boss or human resources
- Lift up the nursing profession
Wilson further recommends that nurses:
- Don’t say you’re at work; this could put you and your home at risk
- Don’t post while at work
- Don’t forget that nothing online is anonymous
- Know your employer’s social media policies
- Don’t identify your employer on your personal profiles
- Don’t do anything that could degrade or embarrass the nursing profession
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