Responsible Nurse Social Media Usage

Responsible Nurse Social Media Usage

Social media is probably the most powerful and widely used communication tool in the world today. We use it to contact friends, find out what’s happening in the news, watch videos and post quirky images of our pets. For nurses, sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are great for keeping up to date with the latest developments in the healthcare sector and for networking with other nurses or taking advantage of various support organisations. One of the problems with social media, however, is that a word or two out of place can quickly go viral. What might seem like an innocent post can, in actual fact, be something that contravenes the nursing code.

While we all need to engage with it responsibly, for any nurse, social media can be potentially dangerous. That’s why the Nursing and Midwifery Council have come up with guidance to help nurses navigate the pitfalls of posting online to their friends, family and other work colleagues.

 

What is the Code of Nurse Social Media Usage?

If you are thought to be acting in an unprofessional or even unlawful manner, it can affect your registration with the NMC. Where social media is involved, this can include:

  • The sharing of confidential information about a patient, either intentionally or through negligence
  • Posting comments about individuals, including patients, that is inappropriate
  • Posting images of patients or people receiving care without their permission
  • Pursuing inappropriate relationships with patients online

The NMC already has a code of conduct and the new guidance on social media falls in line with this. Paragraph 5 of the code, for example, clearly states: “As a nurse or midwife, you owe a duty of confidentiality to all those who are receiving care.” That, of course, includes what is transmitted over social media.

 

How Social Media Can Be Dangerous for Nurses

Sharing confidential information online may be problematic mainly because you can’t always be sure who is reading it. Let’s say that you wanted advice on how to deal with a particular patient – normally you would talk to another nurse or a doctor, all in confidence. If you ask that same question or have a discussion online, however, you are risking that information being seen by your entire following.

Communicating on social media goes beyond the simple confidentiality of the patient. Nurses, according to the code, should always practise in line with the best evidence. They should not be giving advice on medical matters on social media if it falls outside their competency, even if they are simply trying to help a friend.

Should a patient follow you on Facebook, for example, you may also be contravening the NMC code of conduct, even if it’s perfectly innocent. You have a duty to act professionally and building a relationship on social media can mean that this line becomes blurred.

Nurses have a responsibility to protect and respect the patients under their care but they also have a duty to guard their own professional reputation. The NMC suggests that all nurses should ensure they can competently use any social media platform and understand how it works. You should think carefully before you post anything and consider how it may affect your professional standing and whether it goes against the NMC code. Finally, you should also be careful about who you associate with on social media and realise this could be detrimental to your career.

While it is undoubtedly a very useful tool and a great way to communicate, make sure you are diligent and responsible when using social media. You can read the guidance from the NMC here.

 

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Communicating Effectively with Doctors

Communicating Effectively with Doctors

In hospitals, there seems to be an unspoken hierarchy where doctors reign supreme. It may be understandable for some since they make the diagnosis and treatments. However, some nurses find this social ladder quite intimidating making communicating effectively with doctors a frustrating task.

According to a study published by Christine Jones, et al. in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, a lack of communication between hospital physicians and primary care providers leads to a higher risk of readmission. Therefore, if we are to deliver the best care to our patients we should seek ways in which we can improve our interactions with the doctors we work with. Below are tips you can utilise to develop your techniques for communicating effectively with doctors.

Communicating Effectively with Doctors – Top Tips

Prioritise

Before making a call to your patient’s doctor on call it is important to know which crucial facts you want to talk to them about, especially if they have multiple issues. Is the patient’s condition deteriorating and you need the doctor to give out an order or change in the medication? Knowing which problems to resolve first can greatly affect patient outcomes.

Collect and organise your data

As nurses, we should never assume that doctors are familiar with our patient’s case. Doctors see hundreds of patients everyday, so be prepared to give a brief history of your patient and anticipate other questions especially an on call doctor might have. One suggestion, always have the patient’s chart as well as the patient’s medication record and lab results. Also, make sure that you have done a recent set of ‘obs’ because it may be asked from you.

Use SBAR

SBAR which stands for Situation – Background – Assessment – Recommendation may be the on-point type of communication for handovers and rapid updates. This method has everything a doctor needs to know from the information that you have on the patient. How the condition or illness of the patient started. What is currently happening to your patient. What you want the doctor to do regarding the situation. Use this to your advantage because you can never go wrong with this fantastic tool for pushing information.

Keep Your Cool

Some doctors may not be receptive to a nurse’s call, especially at night. They may be irritated or worse angry since you caught them in an inconvenient hour, but don’t lose your temper and respond to their ill behaviour. Rise up from everything and still be respectful as they will generally calm down. Moreover, never apologise for interrupting their activities because after all you are calling about a patient and this is important. If they shout at you or worse, hang up before you have relayed information, then document this accordingly.

Document

This may seem obvious when communicating effectively with doctors, but we can never be complacent when it comes to our patients. Write everything down because this is the only way you can not only protect your patient, but yourself.

 

Go Nurse is The Stress Free Nursing Agency for London nurses. Is it time you made a change? Register online today for nursing shifts across London.