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Social Media Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals

5 October 2017 By Vanessa

You may want to post a photo on Instagram of your favorite patient, or an anonymous odd medical situation – but it’s your best bet to take pause. Social media is a deeply ingrained part of our society, so when it comes to the use of it in the workplace, things get a little tricky. While every employer has their own policy, there are some good things to keep in mind as a professional in the healthcare field when using social media on the job. Here we’ll explore some social media guidelines for healthcare professionals!

The Biggest Consideration When Using Social Media
Privacy is crucial in the healthcare field. Patients are regularly signing HIPAA forms, ensuring their care provider protects their health information. As a part of ethically maintaining the standards laid out by HIPAA, all nurses, doctors, and other medical staff have to be wise about how they use social media. Even something like posting a photo where you can’t see the patient, or a post about someone’s medical condition can be a breach of privacy and HIPAA. Not only is this disrespectful to patients, but it can also risk your job and put a smudge on your career. Using social media with the utmost care and leaving the specifics of work off of your profiles can help maintain everyone’s dignity.

A Secondary Yet Crucial Consideration
When employees break the rules, it reflects on their employer. You’ve probably seen something like it in the news, a healthcare worker breaking confidentiality and slacking on professionalism. The reality is that even though their employers may not endorse the social media activity, it can create a negative association for those outside of the organization. One bad or seemingly harmless post and you could be driving people away from trusting their health to your employer. Poor choices on social media are often grounds for firing, as well.

Better Safe Than Sorry and a Better Alternative
Social media is a bit too complicated to mess with when it comes to working the medical field.  While maintaining privacy of your patients and respecting their dignity, you can use social media more positively in the form of blogging. Perhaps as a nurse, a medical assistant, or a doctor, you could use a blog as your way of sharing about what you do. Writing a blog can reflect your passion for your work, without leaving a negative impression or hurting anyone. In fact, it can have a positive impact!

When starting out in the medical field, be wise about your social media use, don’t let it harm your image in the eyes of a potential employer, and most importantly, be respectful of patients.
 
If you’re interested in pursuing an education that will lead to a career in the medical field, Pioneer Pacific College has lots of options! To learn more, visit our website and check out our healthcare programs.

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