Capital and Coast District Health Board logo

Social media for nursing and midwifery

Photo of Andrea McCanceA message to all registered nurses and midwives from Andrea McCance, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery

17/05/2014

 

Treating health consumers, families and colleagues with respect is an essential component of our professional practice. Treating someone with respect means behaving towards that person in a way that values their worth, dignity and uniqueness. It is a fundamental requirement of professional nurse/midwife relationships and ethical conduct. This is the cornerstone to being a health professional and is an integral part of the Code of Conduct for nurses and midwives.
Treating health consumers, families and colleagues with respect is an essential component of our professional practice. Treating someone with respect means behaving towards that person in a way that values their worth, dignity and uniqueness. It is a fundamental requirement of professional nurse/midwife relationships and ethical conduct. This is the cornerstone to being a health professional and is an integral part of the Code of Conduct for nurses and midwives.

One must consider these values and responsibilities, when we use social media/Facebook even in our personal capacity.

When using Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites it is easy to forget that these sites are an open public forum, and what we post can be viewed by any number of people, including people who may not be looking out for your, and our, best interests.

When placing information on these public sites, even if you do not name the people, you breach the trust and confidence of your patients.

As staff of Capital and Coast District Health Board, we have all signed a Code of Conduct agreement which states that we will not do anything to bring CCDHB into disrepute, that we will maintain a patient’s right to confidentiality and show respect to all our patients, their whanau, and our colleagues.

Because of this, we ask that you reconsider what you use your Facebook, Twitter and other social networking profiles for. In particular we need to refrain from:
  • Uploading images obtained in any clinical area
  • Discussing clinical cases in a public forum (i.e. wall posts)
  • Discussing professional relationships and colleagues in a manner that could cause offence, defamation or discomfort.

We need to think about what we post on these sites in relation to our work and use common sense. As recent media reports have shown, it is very easy for someone you don’t know to copy material out of your restricted pages and redirect it somewhere else for wider viewing. When posting material ask yourself:
  • Would I want to see it in the Media?
  • Would I want my mother to read it?
  • Would I want my boss to pull me up on it?

If you answered "no" to any of the above then it's probably not appropriate to put it online.

It is important to remember that your obligations to act professionally in relation to information you have gathered through work does not end when you leave the workplace.

All RNs and RMs are advised to ensure their behaviour reflects professional standards at all times when engaging in electronic social networking behaviour. Any inappropriate reference to patients, colleagues and/or the profession will be treated seriously, particularly if the reference brings any of the above into disrepute. Anything that is considered a breach of privacy or confidentiality will also be viewed very seriously. Where such behaviour comes to the attention of CCDHB, disciplinary proceedings may be initiated.

If you have any queries or need further clarification do not hesitate to contact your ADON/ADOM or myself. There will be further information about this important topic during Privacy week (May 5th).

 

Some good references for all staff to refer to, include:

Regards,

Andrea and the Nursing and Midwifery Leadership team.

A new code of conduct for nurses

The Nursing Council of New Zealand has published a new Code of Conduct setting out the standards of behaviour that nurses are expected to uphold in their professional practice. The Code both advises nurses and tells the public what they can expect of a nurse in terms of the professional role. It also provides a yardstick for evaluating the conduct of nurses.

Guidelines: Professional Boundaries has also been published. This document is designed to be read alongside the Code as it discusses the sometimes challenging but critical issue of professional boundaries in more detail. The key message of both documents is that nurses must make the care of patients their first concern and to do this effectively they must maintain professional boundaries. Nurses are expected to familiarise themselves with the Code and Guidelines and to ensure the standards are incorporated in their practise.

Code of conduct professional development

With the online Code of Conduct course offered by Canterbury District Health Board no longer available for non-CDHB employees, we have been receiving enquiries from nurses about how to complete professional development on the Code. The following options are available:
  • Contact NZNO or the College of Nurses to see if they have any plans to offer a workshop in your area.
  • Download the Code of Conduct guideline, the Professional Boundaries guideline and the Social Media guideline from the Nursing Council of New Zealand website. Read the documents and reflect on situations you may have come across that relate to one of the Standards in the Code and then have your Nurse Educator (or Manager) to verify that you have done the reading and reflection. This can be done on an individual basis or with a group of nurses. All the relevant documents can be found on the Nursing Council website.
Last updated 10 January 2017.