Arizona Board of Nursing Edition 30 : Page 9

<<< continued from s A mistaken belief that content that has been deleted from a site is no longer accessible. A mistaken belief that it is harmless if private information about patients is disclosed if the communication is accessed only by the intended recipient. This is still a breach of confidentiality. A mistaken belief that it is acceptable to discuss or refer to patients if they are not identified by name, but referred to by a nickname, room number, diagnosis or condition. This too is a breach of confidentiality and demonstrates disrespect for patient privacy. Confusion between a patient’s right to disclose personal information about himself/herself (or a health care organization’s right to disclose otherwise protected information with a patient’s consent) and the need for health care providers to refrain from disclosing patient information without a care-related need for the disclosure. The following guidelines are intended to minimize the risks of using social media: s First and foremost, nurses must recognize that they have an ethical and legal obligation to maintain patient privacy and confidentiality at all times. Nurses are strictly prohibited from transmitting by way of any electronic media any patient-related image. In addition, nurses are restricted from transmitting any information that may be reasonably anticipated to violate patient rights to confidentiality or privacy, or otherwise degrade or embarrass the patient. Do not share, post or otherwise disseminate any information, including images, about a patient or information gained in the nurse-patient relationship with anyone unless there is a patient care related need to disclose the information or other legal obligation to do so. Do not identify patients by name or post or publish information that may lead to the identification of a patient. Limiting access to postings through privacy settings is not sufficient to ensure privacy. Do not refer to patients in a disparaging manner, even if the patient is not identified. Do not take photos or videos of patients on personal devices, including cell phones. Follow employer policies for taking photographs or video of patients for treatment or other legitimate purposes using employer-provided devices. Maintain professional boundaries in the use of electronic media. Like in-person relationships, the nurse has the obligation s s s to establish, communicate and enforce professional boundaries with patients in the online environment. Use caution when having online social contact with patients or former patients. Online contact with patients or former patients blurs the distinction between a professional and personal relationship. The fact that a patient may initiate contact with the nurse does not permit the nurse to engage in a personal relationship with the patient. s Consult employer policies or an appropriate leader within the organization for guidance regarding work related postings. Promptly report any identified breach of confidentiality or privacy. Be aware of and comply with employer policies regarding use of employer-owned computers, cameras and other electronic devices and use of personal devices in the work place. Do not make disparaging remarks about employers or co-workers. Do not make threatening, harassing, profane, obscene, sexually explicit, racially derogatory, homophobic or other offensive comments. Do not post content or otherwise speak on behalf of the employer unless authorized to do so and follow all applicable policies of the employer. s s s s s s s The ease of posting and commonplace nature of sharing information via social media may appear to blur the line between one’s personal and professional lives. The quick, easy and efficient technology enabling use of social media reduces the amount of time it takes to post content and simultaneously, the time to consider whether the post is appropriate and the ramifications of inappropriate content. s s s How to Avoid Problems It is important to recognize that instances of inappropriate use of social media can and do occur, but with awareness and caution, nurses can avoid inadvertently disclosing confidential or private information about patients. s Conclusion Social and electronic media possess tremendous potential for strengthening personal relationships and providing valuable information to health care consumers. Nurses need to be aware of the potential ramifications of disclosing patient-related information via social media. Nurses should be continued >>>

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