Position Paper on the Nurse's Use of Social Media

It is the Position of APHON That

Nurses should be aware of their specific institution’s social media policies and procedures, and

recognize their obligation and responsibility to protect patient privacy in all areas of social

media. Our first and foremost priority and responsibility is to our patients. To ensure that nurses

do not breech confidentiality, share protected health information (PHI), or violate HIPAA


Nurses should

 recognize their ethical and legal obligation to protect and maintain patient privacy and

confidentiality at all times

 have awareness of what constitutes a HIPAA violation and have an understanding of

legal consequences and ramifications if violations occur

 strive to project an online persona that is characteristic of a professional nurse

 use good judgment when posting any personal information and activities

 enable privacy settings to minimize public access to personal blogs and social media

 understand their specific institution’s social media policies and procedure s.

Nurses should not

 initiate an invitation to patients or their caregivers, friends, or relatives to become social

networking “friends” or follower s of a personal blog. This act can compromise the

therapeutic relationship. Nurses should be prepared to decline such networking requests

from patients and their families with a professional and thoughtful response (Guseh et al.,


 make posts that discuss patients, including any patient PHI. This includes descriptions of

patients (such as name, medical record numbers, room numbers, sex, age, address,

location, etc.), their treatments or conditions, pictures, videos, or diagnostic images of


 participate in any online conversation with patients or regarding patients, even if it is the

patient who is initiating the contact or conversation

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