Login  |  Register

New guide helps nurses navigate Facebook, Twitter

By Karen Keast | Date Updated:


Nurses and nursing students have been warned to think carefully before allowing employers, other nurses, doctors and allied health professionals access to their personal information on social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace.

The warning is outlined in a new draft guide developed to help New Zealand nurses and nursing students maintain their professional standards online.

Statistics show more than 1.8 million New Zealanders are communicating via social networking sites, ranging from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, blogs and forums to personal websites but nurses are being warned inappropriate online behaviour can damage their integrity and their relationship with patients and colleagues while jeopardising future employment opportunities.

The guide, Social Media and the Nursing Profession: A Guide

to Online Professionalism for Nurses and Nursing Students, outlines examples and case studies of nurses and health workers who have landed in hot water for breaching professional standards.

In one case, seven nurses and doctors in the United Kingdom were suspended from a hospital after posting photos of themselves on Facebook playing the ‘lying down game’ on hospital premises.

The guide also covers issues of confidentiality, defamation, nurse-patient boundaries, colleagues’ online conduct and privacy settings.

It also warns that employers, universities, polytechnics and wananga can access online information about nursing staff or students with “potentially career-damaging outcomes”.

“This is not to say that nurses should avoid using social media, because their use can be personally and professionally beneficial,” the guide states.

“But traditional expectations regarding the conduct of the nursing profession still apply in this non-traditional context; nursing students and nurses always have a duty to patients and the community to maintain professional standards, including when using online social media.”

An NZNO spokesperson said the guide was being finalised and would be submitted to the organisation’s board for approval before the final guide was released.

“NZNO received very constructive and supportive feedback from throughout our membership groups,” she said.

The draft guide can be accessed at: http://www.nzno.org.nz/home/consultation/articletype/articleview/articleid/1168/social-media-and-the-nursing-profession-a-guide-to-online-professionalism-for-nurses-and-nursing-students

Share your thoughts
Like NCAH on Facebook

Featured Jobs

Physiotherapist/Occupational Therapist

RSL LifeCare Sydney North - (18-07-2014)


As a leading aged care provider, our investment in caring for Veterans and seniors has led to our growth across New South Wales. RSL ANZAC Village, Narrabeen have positions available for you!
You will enjoy benefits, including an excellent salary package, ongoing professional development and the opportunity to participate in leading edge aged care research in conjunction with the Australian Catholic University. You also get to make a difference caring for those who have served our country.


Director of Nursing

Queensland Health Toowoomba - (23-07-2014)


As the Director of Nursing - Education and Research you will provide strategic direction and leadership to the nurse and midwifery educators as well as design, develop, implement and evaluate the Educational Framework


Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery

Queensland Health Toowoomba - (23-07-2014)


You will be a dynamic, strategic Executive who will lead the nursing services of the Hospital and Health Service (HHS) and will maximise the potential of the nursing profession to enhance health outcomes.


Related job opportunities

Enrolled Nurse
Edmen Community Staffing Solutions


Registered Nurse Bugalwena General Practice
North Coast NSW Medicare Local


Registered Nurses
Southern Health


Enrolled Nurse, Endorsed
Southern Health


Registered/Enrolled Nurses
Southern Health


Search more opportunities