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Social Media Tips for Nurses (Part 2)

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Hopefully, you read part one. If you didn’t, find it here.

Now you know the dos and don’ts regarding social media posts about patients. But take one look at Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook, and you will see plenty of medical providers making videos and posts about healthcare.

Some of these posts are fantastic tips on how to help new nurses learn to place IVs, funny parodies on the reporting process from ER to ICU, or how the unit responds to different situations.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets their feelings hurt.

Generally, posting stories using common stereotypes can be pretty funny, though they don’t help dispel the stereotype as a whole. Just look at Nurse Blake, whose light-hearted parodies gave him so many views he now tours around the country for comedy shows.

The key to his success is that there is enough truth in his videos, but no pointing fingers.

While you likely won’t be joking with sold-out venues soon, you can post similar videos on your social media pages without much threat of retaliation.

This practice gets dangerous when you mock a specific person or hospital. Be careful not to put key identifying features of a person or hospital in your posts. If no one can precisely say you are mocking an individual, no one can complain (someone still will, though).

But here are some other vital things to think about BEFORE you post that hilarious skit you spent hours splicing together.

Things NOT to do:

  • Don’t wear your actual badge. Put something over it or take it off entirely. You don’t want to be identified as an employee of a specific hospital or healthcare agency.
  • Don’t make fun of likenesses. If your arch-nemesis is the blonde charge nurse on floor three named Becky, you shouldn’t be wearing a bad blonde wig with a Becky name tag in your video. This should be a “duh” statement….. but it isn’t.
  • Don’t film in the hospital. If you absolutely insist, make sure there is absolutely nothing in your video that gives away where you work. No hospital signs, no monogrammed scrubs, no posters or policies posted. Don’t get us wrong, there are some hilarious hospital videos, but do your diligence to make sure there are no details.
  • Don’t film on the clock. Yep, that’s a misuse of company time unless the corporation asked you to make a TikTok to boost education or morale, meaning the activity was sanctioned by the people who pay your check. There are security cameras everywhere. Trust us, if room 407 codes while you are making a hilarious video in 410, your administration IS gonna know about it.
  • Don’t bad mouth your company and expect to still work there. Your boss may not know how to post a video on Facebook, but her friends probably know how to share it. If you have a problem with your policies or procedures, take it up with your system. Creating a PR nightmare for the company is likely to get you fired and make it hard to get hired somewhere else.
  • Follow all the HIPAA rules in the first part of this post!
  • Make sure you are posting accurate information.  If you aren’t willing to double-check your information using reliable sources, you probably shouldn’t be speaking for the profession, especially if you are giving medical advice.  Your bad advice can come back to bite you (and remember, the internet is forever).

Also, read the morality and social media parts of your handbook before you decide to share. Violating a morals clause may look like posting a video full of curse words or biased commentary. Even if you don’t mention where you work in the video or aren’t discussing nursing, it reflects poorly on you.

Remember, if you make the profession look bad, it doesn’t take long for someone to figure out where you work. Even if your social accounts are private, your company can use the morality clause to fire you. There may also be language on what is allowable in social media posts. Most hospitals aren’t that specific, but it pays to know the rules before you accidentally break them.

Finally, there is no such thing as a private account. If you share it with one friend, there is a chance the whole world (including your hospital administrators) will see it. Good things AND bad things go viral, and there is no going back once they do. So think before you speak and think even harder before you post!

 

Amanda Ernst, DNP, RN, CEN

Amanda Ernst, DNP, RN, CEN

Author

Amanda is an ER nurse with 10 years of healthcare experience. She currently works as a nurse educator and as an adjunct professor for several schools. She also works as a freelance healthcare writer in her spare time. Amanda thinks the greatest thing about nursing is the endless possibilities and opportunities to learn. What have you learned today?

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