#3 Blogging and professional nursing standards

In an attempt to become a member of a nursing learning collective I searched “nurse educator and blog” on Google.  I was quite disappointed with my search results.  Most blogs were outdated and did not have a community of followers.  I than searched “perioperative nurses and blogs”, with simmilar results.  It turns out that blogging is not very popular with nurses, and that some areas of nursing are more popular than others in the blogosphere.

Nursing blogs that have made the top 10 and top 50 lists include emergency room nursing, labour and delivery, intensive care and student nurse blogs. Nursing education and perioperative nursing do not have an established on-line learning collective.

The College of Nurse of Ontario (CNO) has been very cautious of using social media for professional purposes. Only in the last year has there been a move to use social media for professional development and as a reflective practice tool. CNO’s quarterly professional nursing publication, The Standard in the Fall 2011 focused on the use of social media in nursing. When blogging, nurses must consider their professional standards, mainly ethics, therapeutic nurse-client relationship, and confidentiality and privacy standards.
The ethics standard requires nurses to conduct themselves in a matter that reflects well on the profession. When posting nurses must regard themselves and their colleagues with respect in order not to undermine their healthcare team and thei profession as a whole. The therapeutic nurse-client relationship standard requires nurses to set and maintain
appropriate bounaries within a relationship and help patients
understand when their requests are beyond the limits of it. The line can be blurred when clients start to comment on a nurse’s blog, start following it, or request to be friends on Facebook. The confidentiality and privacy standard requires nurses to maintain boundaries and build nurse-clinet relationships based on trust by respecting clients’ rights around confidentiality and privacy. This means that sensitive information about a patient collected during a
therapeutic nurse-patient relationship should not make it into the blogosphere. Information posted on ablog should never identify a patient. Patients are a vulnerable population and have a right to privacy.

Being consciencious of professional standards might make blogging about work encounters appear difficult for nurses. When blogging, nurses must use a professional filter, realizing that anything they post is, or can easily become public with their name attached to the information. Keeping this in mind when posting calls for erring on the side of caution and should help nurses stay professional and on-line.

References
College of Nurses of Ontario, (2011). Nursing 2.0. The Standard, 36(3), 10-13. Retrieved from: http://www.cno.org/Global/pubs/mag/TSMvol36no3ENG.pdf

2 Responses to “#3 Blogging and professional nursing standards”

  1.   Brent Thompson-Wade
    October 17th, 2012 | 10:06 am

    Hi Joanna,

    Your post was very interesting to read and raised several excellent points relative to ethics. Like all professions respecting professional and personal boundaries is critical in establishing and maintaining a standard of care as required by the college. A number of my personal friends who work in medicine have decided not to blog or author anything online regarding their practices citing confidentiality and privacy as the main reasons. Yes, it is true no patient should ever be identified online it is also important to realize that publication of any comments relating to that relationship which could potentially identify a patient could be seen as a serious breach of ethics possibly resulting in disciplinary action against the person who posted it. I think in general most medical professionals are discrete but there are those who may from time to time cross a professional boundary and not realize they crossed it until it is too late. Blogging on medical technology, advances in medicine, and best practices are ok but everyone must maintain a professional filter when blogging about subjects outside these domains.

    thanks..
    Brent

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