Arizona Board of Nursing Edition 30 : Page 6

<<< continued from BON Implications Instances of inappropriate use of social and electronic media may be reported to the BON. The laws outlining the basis for disciplinary action by a BON VARY BETWEEN JURISDICTIONS&#0e; $EPENDING ON THE LAWS OF A JURISDICTION&#0c; A "/. may investigate reports of inappropriate disclosures on social media by a nurse on the grounds of: s s s s Unprofessional conduct; Unethical conduct; Moral turpitude; Mismanagement of patient records; Revealing a privileged communication; and Breach of confidentiality. may result in both civil and criminal penalties, including fines and possible JAIL TIME&#0e; ! NURSE MAY FACE PERSONAL liability. The nurse may be individually sued for defamation, invasion of privacy or harassment. Particularly flagrant misconduct on social media websites may also raise liability under state or federal regulations focused on preventing patient abuse or exploitation. If the nurse’s conduct violates the policies of the employer, the nurse may face employment consequences, future employers and regulators because of the patient-safety ramifications. The line between speech protected by labor laws, the First Amendment and the ability of an employer to impose expectations on employees outside of work is still being determined. Nonetheless, such comments can be detrimental to a cohesive health care delivery team and may result in sanctions against the nurse. Common Myths and Misunderstandings of Social Media While instances of intentional or malicious misuse of social media have occurred, in most cases, the inappropriate disclosure or posting is unintentional. A number of factors may contribute to a nurse inadvertently violating patient privacy and confidentiality while using social media. These may include: s A mistaken belief that the communication or post is private and accessible only to the intended recipient. The nurse may fail to recognize that content once posted or sent can be disseminated to others. In fact, the terms of using a social media site may include an extremely broad waiver of rights to limit use of content.1 The solitary use of the Internet, even while posting to a social media site, can create an illusion of privacy. s s If the allegations are found to be true, the nurse may face disciplinary action by the BON, including a reprimand or sanction, assessment of a monetary fine, or temporary or permanent loss of licensure. A 2010 survey of BONs conducted by NCSBN indicated AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF RESPONDING BONs (33 of the 46 respondents) reported receiving complaints of nurses who have violated patient privacy by posting photos or information about patients ON SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES&#0e; 4HE MAJORITY (26 of the 33) of BONs reported taking disciplinary actions based on these complaints. Actions taken by the BONs included censure of the nurse, issuing a letter of concern, placing conditions on the nurse’s license or suspension of the nurse’s license. Other Consequences Improper use of social media by nurses may violate state and federal laws established to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. Such violations 6 including termination. Additionally, the actions of the nurse may damage the reputation of the health care organization, OR SUBJECT THE ORGANIZATION TO A LAW SUIT or regulatory consequences. Another concern with the misuse of social media is its effect on team-based patient care. Online comments by a nurse regarding co-workers, even if posted from home during nonwork hours, may constitute as lateral violence. Lateral violence is receiving greater attention as more is learned about its impact on patient safety and quality clinical outcomes. Lateral violence includes disruptive behaviors of intimidation and bullying, which may be perpetuated in person or via the Internet, sometimes referred to as “cyber bullying.” Such activity is cause for concern for current and 1 One such waiver states, “By posting user content to any part of the site, you automatically grant the company an irrevocable, perpetual, nonexclusive transferable, fully paid, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part), distribute such user content for any purpose.” Privacy Commission of Canada. (2007, November 7). Privacy and social networks [Video file]. Retrieved from http:// continued >>> arizona STATE BOARD OF NURSING REGULATORY JOURNAL

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