Professionalism and Social Media

According to American Nurses Association (2011), social networking principles for nurses include six main entries. These are: protecting patient privacy, keeping the patient-nurse professional boundaries, separating professional and personal information, reporting potentially illegal or unethical content uploaded by colleagues, evaluating own postings, and participating in the development of policies. Based on the mentioned standards, I have no issues with the first and second principles, as I never published any information regarding patients and never communicated with patients in the social networks.

However, I did not always separate professional and personal information; for instance, I made a post about my experience in nursing and described some of my professional activities and feelings towards them. Secondly, I never paid much attention to postings that some of my colleagues uploaded; therefore, I couldn’t identify any potentially illegal or unethical content. Thirdly, I did not participate in the development of procedures in the organization for handling reports of online conduct that may raise legal concerns or be professionally unethical. Finally, I never evaluated my own postings from an employer or educational institution perspective, as I mainly concentrated on sharing experience, information, and emotions with my friends.

Every person has a right to their private life; however, in some cases, people ought to correct their behavior even in their personal life due to occupation. Nursing is one of such professions, as the potential harm from inconsiderate actions is high in this profession, even in social networks. For instance, as nurses have access to patient’s sensitive data, they may unintentionally leak it through their social networks (EveryNurse, 2018).

Moreover, in some cases, it is not only about sensitive data but also about patient identification through posting. HIPAA protects people’s individually identifiable information – “information that identified the individual; there is a reasonable basis to believe the information can be used to identify the individual” (Summary of the HIPAA privacy rule, n.d.). Therefore, even taking a photo or shooting a short video within a healthcare facility is not recommended, as any data leakage about a patient may be dangerous for both the patient and the nurse. For instance, accidentally recording a document with a patient’s data while shooting videos for Instagram may violate HIPAA. Concerning unethical behavior, it may be viewed as highly unprofessional to talk about one’s patients through social networks.

Regarding Christian values that relate to respecting human value and dignity for all individuals, I have to admit that I have never seen my social media posts from this perspective. From the angle of Christian values, most of the content of my social networks is neutral, as it is primarily a place for me to share selected moments of my life. Nevertheless, sometimes I may be judgmental and overly emotional in my social networks when I encounter stories or news I do not like. One such case happened when I was highly critical about some decisions made regarding the transport system in my hometown, and I may have been mean towards those who supported that decision.

I shared my feelings in an emotional way in my Instagram stories; after that, I also argued with some people about the matter. From the point of view of Christian values, I believe that it could be necessary for me to improve these areas of my social media activity.


American Nurses Association. (2011). ANA’s principles for social networking and the nurse: Guidance for registered nurses. Author.

EveryNurse. (2018). How nurses should be using social media. Web.

Summary of the HIPAA privacy rule. (n.d.). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Web.

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NursingBird. "Professionalism and Social Media." August 14, 2022.