Social networks and the Internet allow opportunities for rapid knowledge exchange and information dissemination among many people. This exchange does not come without risk. Nursing students (and nurses) are obligated to be aware of the benefits and potential consequences of engaging in the use of all types of social networking.
Students at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University are expected to comply with professional behaviors outlined per the student handbook, professional nursing standards, and ethical conduct in all online communication, in addition to face-to-face interactions. The nature of social networks often contributes to the blurring of lines between private, personal, and professional information. The information posted or shared online by students is NOT confidential. Anything posted by a student, or anything a student is tagged by, is visible to the “world-at-large” and may impact student standing in the nursing program and may affect a student's professional reputation.
Regardless of if occurring in “real” world or “virtual/online” world, students must keep in mind that behaviors that are illegal (e.g. violations of HIPAA, patient privacy, confidentiality) or in violation CSB/SJU behavior expectations will also be illegal or violate CSB/SJU nursing policy. While it is not the policy of CSB/SJU faculty to monitor students' on-line activities, if a report of inappropriate postings are brought to the department's attention, members of the APR committee will investigate the report and follow established disciplinary procedures.
In addition to adhering to professional behavior expectations, outlined by the CSB/SJU Nursing Student Handbook, in online interactions, CSB/SJU nursing students are expected to follow the principles and guidelines listed below.
CSB/SJU Nursing students are expected to adhere to the American Nurses’ Association’s Principles for Social Networking:
- Nurses must not transmit or place online individually identifiable patient information.
- Nurses must observe ethically prescribed professional patient-nurse boundaries.
- Nurses should understand that patients, colleagues, institutions, and employers may view postings.
- Nurses should take advantage of the privacy settings and seek to separate personal and professional information online.
- Nurses should bring content that could harm patient's privacy, rights, or welfare to the attention of appropriate authorities.
- Nurses should participate in developing institutional policies governing online conduct.
CSB/SJU Students are expected to adhere to The National Council of State Boards of Nursing guidelines to avoid problems on social media:
- Remember that standards of professionalism are the same online as in any other circumstance.
- Do not share or post information or photos gained through the nurse-patient relationship.
- Maintain professional boundaries in the use of electronic media. Online contact with patients blurs this boundary.
- Do not make disparaging remarks about patients, employers or co-workers, even if they are not identified (this includes clinical sites).
- Do not take photos or videos of patients on personal devices, including cell phones.
- Promptly report a breach of confidentiality or privacy.
For additional information on responsible use of social media, please review and reference the following:
- NCSBN’s Nurses Guide to Using Social Media:
- American Nurses Association’s Fact Sheet and Tips for Using Social Media:
- Video presenting examples of responsible social media use based on NCSBN guidelines: https://www.khareach.org/content/national-council-state-board-nursing-%e2%80%93-social-media-guidelines-nurses
American Nurses Associations. (2011). Principles for social networking and the nurse. Silver Springs, MD: American Nurses Association.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing. (2011). White Paper: A nurse's guide to the use of social media. Chicago, IL: National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Approved by Faculty Organization 3/14/16. Changes made to web site and students notified 9/1/16.