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Social Media and Professionalism

Dominique OConnell

Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

Mrs. Brownie

NUR 1101

March 3, 2017

Honor Code: I Pledge


Social Media and Professionalism

Over the past 20 years social media, or simply having an Internet presence, has

become more and more common. We now have the capability to express

ourselves in an open domain, communicate more freely and establish new

relationships with individuals we may not have had the opportunity to otherwise.

As social medias popularity has grown, controversy has formed over its spillage

into personal and professional usage. The difference in appropriateness for what

is acceptable on a personal account versus a professional page is very distinct.

Social media in the professional setting can easily carry a negative connotation,

however, there are a large number of positives as well. This paper will express

how nurses can utilize social media for purposes of professional networking and

the proper conduct, language and boundaries that go along with it.

Types of Social Media


A social networking platform since 2006, allows users to send, read and

follow current happenings, ideas or influential persons all from one screen.

Available from your desktop or mobile device, these 140-charaters tweets are

short, concise and easy to discern. According to the British Journal of Midwifery,

The key benefits of Twitter are that it is multifocal, immediate, connecting and

mobile (Twitters potential to enhance professional networking, 2015). Research

on the use of Twitter by health care workers revealed that 60% of respondents

stated Twitter as their preferred social media outlet (Twitters potential to


enhance professional networking, 2015). The reasoning behind this support can

be linked to four themes: support through information and connection; enhancing

practice; relationship and confidence building (Twitters potential to enhance

professional networking, 2015). Organizations such as the World Health

Organization, the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses

Association regularly use Twitter as a means to share new information, present

research, display press releases etc. This distribution of information not only

benefits health care providers, but the general public as well. In addition to

organizations facilitating new ideas and conversation themselves, live tweeting

has become a norm. Live tweeting at conferences is revolutionizing professional

networking and information sharing by providing non-attenders with the

opportunity to meaningfully engage with proceedings in real time, thereby

opening up the debate to a global audience (Twitters potential to enhance

professional networking, 2015).


A more business-aligned social networking site enables individuals to

create an online profile specifically used to establish their professional

relationships. Unlike forums such as Twitter, LinkedIn packages your personal

information, professional background and affiliated organizations into an account

that streamlines communication with individuals with like experience or interest.

In order to connect via LinkedIn a user must have a contacts email address

and/or search users within shared groups. Privacy settings on this site are unique

in the fact that they will not just allow you to connect with anyone. Viewing of

someones information requires approval, and even then there are varying

degrees of connection. 1st degree communication occurs when a user directly

accepts an invitation. 2nd degree communication takes place when the user is a

friend of a friend, and the 3rd is similarly down the line of association. (LinkedIn:

Facebook for professionals?, 2015).

Social Media and Professional Conduct

Though these resources can be beneficial, professional dialogue,

boundaries and language must allows be taken in consideration. Although social

networking sites claim a certain level of privacy or allow posts to be deleted, they

cannot fully guarantee the information will not be shared with others or has been

deleted completely. Conduct online may be judged negatively and carry heavier

disciplinary action if a nurses behavior includes sharing confidential information,

posting inappropriate comments about coworkers, using social media to bully or

intimidate colleagues or pursuing personal relationships with patients (Guidance

on using social networking websites and online conduct, 2014). While it is of

upmost importance to protect a patients privacy, it is also important to protect

your own; being careful of the type and amount of information shared on public

domain. It is also not uncommon for patients or family members to research their

nurses online behavior, forming opinions about that individuals professional

ability from what they see online (Guidance on using social networking websites

and online conduct, 2014).



In conclusion, social media can be a useful tool in many ways. When key

ideals are followed, usage of social media can be a safe and easy

communication outlet. Points an individual should take away are to always be

respectful of anothers dignity and privacy, although you may not mean harm,

always be mindful the language and media posted online, and you must

continually uphold the reputation of your profession.



ANA on Social Media. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2017, from


Guidance on using social networking websites and online conduct.

(2014).Journal of AESTHETIC NURSING,3(3), 139. Retrieved March 5,


LinkedIn: Facebook for professionals? (2015).British Journal of Midwifery,23(3),

196-198. Retrieved March 3, 2017.

Twitters potential to enhance professional networking. (2015).British Journal of

Midwifery,23(1), 65-67. Retrieved March 3, 2017.