ANA’s Principles For Social Networking And The Nurse

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ANA’sPrinciplesfor SocialNetworkingand the NurseGuidance for Registered NursesSilver Spring, Maryland2011

SummaryOnline social networking facilitates collegial communicationamong registered nurses and provides convenient and timelyforums for professional development and education. It alsopresents remarkable potential for public education and healthguidance, contributing to nursing’s online professional presence.At the same time, the inherent nature of social networking invitesthe sharing of personal information or work experiences that mayreflect poorly on a nurse’s professionalism. ANA’s Principles forSocial Networking and the Nurse provides guidance to registerednurses on using social networking media in a way that protectspatients’ privacy and confidentiality and maintains the standardsof professional nursing practice. These six essential principles arerelevant to all registered nurses and nursing students across allroles and settings.American Nurses Association8515 Georgia Avenue, Suite 400Silver Spring, MD hed by: 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.ISBN-13: 978-1-55810-426-6Published September 2011

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse 1Contents2Overview of Social Networking in Nursing5Principles for Social Networking8Foundation for the Principles for Social NetworkingCode of Ethics for Nurses with InterpretiveStatements (ANA, 2001)Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice,2nd Edition (ANA, 2010)Nursing’s Social Policy Statement (ANA, 2010)14 References 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEOverview ofSocial Networkingin NursingANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Overview of Social Networking in Nursing 2

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Overview of Social Networking in Nursing 3Overview of Social Networking in NursingSocial networks and the Internet provide unparalleled opportunities forrapid knowledge exchange and dissemination among many people.Nurses and nursing students (referred to collectively as “nurses”) have aprofessional obligation to understand the nature, benefits, andconsequences of participating in social networking of all types. Suchbenefits include an opportunity for broad dissemination and discussionof nursing and health-related education, research, evidence-basedpractice, and communication. Nurses separated by geography or otherfactors have the opportunity to interact with, and learn from, theircolleagues. Social networking can nurture relationships and mentoringamong developing professionals and can provide a forum for collegialinterchange and the development of an online professional presence. Italso offers the profession a vehicle for educating the public on manynursing and public health matters in a changing and dynamic healthcaresystem. Nursing must have a professional presence and be visible online.At the same time, information contained on a social network has thecapacity to propagate itself, taking on a life of its own in cyberspace.Inaccuracies become “fact” by mere repetition, creating confusion that isparticularly dangerous in discussions regarding the public’s health needs.Nurses must be aware that social networking venues are shared by theirpatients and colleagues. Unintended consequences of a nurse’s poorjudgment can breach a patient’s privacy, damage a patient’s trust in theindividual nurse and the profession, and further damage a nurse’sprofessional and personal future. Employers and educational institutionsmay also monitor social networking sites and make judgments—positiveor negative—about a nurse’s professional suitability. Sharing patientinformation, even with names removed, may be enough to trigger aHIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violationand its associated penalties. 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Overview of Social Networking in Nursing 4Patient privacy is a fundamental ethical and legal obligation of nurses.Nurses must observe standards of patient privacy and confidentiality atall times and in all environments, including online. The nurse’s primarycommitment is to the patient, and nurses are ethically required topractice with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity andworth of every individual. Despite the common perception thatpersonal comments, videos, photos, or other online materials are shortlived or confined to a designated group of viewers, the nature of theInternet is that such materials are public and permanent. Just aboutanyone can, with a little effort, view these postings. Thus, althoughnurses certainly deserve a life apart from their professional duties, it isessential to understand that one’s conduct on social networks is a publicact that can be scrutinized and judged in the same way as any otherpublic act.Because social networking offers the potential for both positive andnegative consequences, nurses should consider a number of principleswhen functioning within the virtual world of social media in order tomaintain their own reputation and that of nursing as the mosttrusted profession. 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEPrinciples forSocial NetworkingANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Principles for Social Networking 5

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Principles for Social Networking 6Principles for Social Networking1. Nurses must not transmit or place online individually identifiablepatient information. Nurses must know their legal and ethicalresponsibilities, as well as their own organization’s policies,regarding their responsibility to protect patient privacy, whetheronline or offline. Merely removing someone’s name (or face, in theinstance of images) from a communication does not necessarilyprotect that person’s identity. Under federal law (HIPAA),protected “individually identifiable information” includes healthinformation that identifies the individual or can reasonably be usedto identify the individual, in any form (oral, written, or otherwise)that relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental healthof an individual.2. Nurses who interact with patients on social media must observeethically prescribed patient–nurse professional boundaries. Theprecepts guiding nurses in these matters are no different onlinethan in person.3. Nurses should evaluate all their postings with the understandingthat a patient, colleague, educational institution, or employer couldpotentially view those postings. Online content and behavior hasthe potential to either enhance or undermine not only the individualnurse’s career, but also the nursing profession.4. Nurses should take advantage of privacy settings available on manysocial networking sites in their personal online activities and seek toseparate their online personal and professional sites and information.Use of privacy settings and separation of personal and professionalinformation online does not guarantee, however, that informationwill not be repeated in less protected forums. 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Principles for Social Networking 75. As the patient’s advocate, nurses have an ethical obligation to takeappropriate action regarding instances of questionable healthcaredelivery at an individual or systems level that reflect incompetent,unethical, illegal, or impaired practice. Nurses who view social mediacontent posted by a colleague that violates ethical or legal standardsshould first bring the questionable content to the attention of thecolleague so that the individual can take appropriate action.If the posting could threaten a patient’s health, welfare, or right toprivacy regarding health information, the nurse has the obligation toreport the matter to a supervisor or designated person within theinstitution or entity for follow-up. If the questionable practice is notaddressed in the employment setting and seriously jeopardizes thepatient’s safety and well-being, the nurse may need to report theproblem to external authorities. Accurate reporting and factualdocumentation—not merely opinion—should always support suchresponsible actions.6. Nurses are encouraged to participate in the development of policiesand procedures in their institutions and organizations for handlingreports of online conduct that may raise legal concerns or beprofessionally unethical. Such official channels can protect the rightsof those participating and can offer remedial action for the patient,while offering fairness, support, and nonpunitive correction andtraining for a nurse’s inadvertent mistakes. 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEFoundation forthe Principles forSocial NetworkingANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Foundation for the Principles for Social Networking 8

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Foundation for the Principles for Social Networking 9Foundation for the Principles for Social NetworkingThe 2010 House of Delegates of the American Nurses Association(ANA) resolved to support the application of ANA’s foundationaldocuments to the use of social media: Code of Ethics for Nurses withInterpretive Statements (2001), Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice,2nd Edition (2010), and Nursing’s Social Policy Statement: The Essence ofthe Profession (2010). (In addition to relying on these three documents,ANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse also reflects currentliterature, statutory and regulatory requirements, other professions’guidelines, and media coverage of health professionals and socialnetworking.)The following provisions from these foundational documents form thebasis for ANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse.Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (ANA, 2001)The Code of Ethics for Nurses is a seminal ANA document establishingethical standards for the nursing profession. It provides a framework fornurses to use in ethical analysis and decision-making. Each of the nineprovisions of the Code, along with selected Interpretive Statements,provides guidance on the application of professional values and personaljudgment in nurses’ use of social networking and media.Provision 1. “The nurse, in all professional relationships, practiceswith compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, anduniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of socialor economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of the healthproblem.” (pg. 11) Interpretive Statement 1.5 Relationships with Colleagues and Others 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Foundation for the Principles for Social Networking 10Provision 2. “The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient,whether an individual, family, group, or community.” (pg. 14) Interpretive Statement 2.2 Conflict of Interest for Nurses Interpretive Statement 2.3 Collaboration Interpretive Statement 2.4 Professional BoundariesProvision 3. “The nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives toprotect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.” (pg. 16) Interpretive Statement 3.1 Privacy Interpretive Statement 3.2 Confidentiality Interpretive Statement 3.5 Acting on Questionable PracticeProvision 4. “The nurse is responsible and accountable for individualnursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasksconsistent with the nurse’s obligation to provide optimum patientcare.” (pg. 21) Interpretive Statement 4.2 Accountability for Nursing Judgmentand ActionProvision 5. “The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others,including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, tomaintain competence, and to continue personal and professionalgrowth.” (pg. 23) Interpretive Statement 5.1 Moral Self-Respect Interpretive Statement 5.3 Wholeness of Character Interpretive Statement 5.4 Preservation of Integrity 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Foundation for the Principles for Social Networking 11Provision 6. “The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining,and improving healthcare environments and conditions ofemployment conducive to the provision of quality health care andconsistent with the values of the profession through individual andcollective action.” (pg. 25) Interpretive Statement 6.1 Influence of the Environment on MoralVirtues and Values Interpretive Statement 6.2 Influence of the Environment on EthicalObligations Interpretive Statement 6.3 Responsibility for the HealthcareEnvironmentProvisions 7, 8, and 9. These provisions generally apply toknowledge dissemination capabilities of social media and nursing’srole in voicing the profession’s values. Provision 7. “The nurse participates in the advancement of theprofession through contributions to practice, education,administration, and knowledge development.” (pg. 27) Provision 8. “The nurse collaborates with other health professionalsand the public in promoting community, national, andinternational efforts to meet health needs.” (pg. 28) Provision 9. “The profession of nursing, as represented byassociations and their members, is responsible for articulatingnursing values, for maintaining the integrity of the profession andits practice, and for shaping social policy.” (pg. 29)Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements is available cs.aspx 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Foundation for the Principles for Social Networking 12Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Edition (ANA, 2010)This foundational document outlines the expectations of theprofessional role of the registered nurse, presenting the scope of practiceand standards of professional nursing practice and their accompanyingcompetencies. Forty-six nursing organizations have formally endorsedNursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Edition. Several standardsand their associated competencies provide guidance regarding theprofession’s expectations for professionalism as it relates to nurses’ useof social media and networking. Standard 7. Ethics. “The registered nurse practices ethically.”(pg. 47) Standard 8. Education. “The registered nurse attains knowledgeand competence that reflects current nursing practice.” (pg. 49) Standard 11. Communication. “The registered nursecommunicates effectively in a variety of formats in all areas ofpractice.” (pg. 54) Standard 12. Leadership. “The registered nurse demonstratesleadership in the professional practice setting and profession.”(pg. 55) Standard 13. Collaboration. “The registered nurse collaborateswith the healthcare consumer, family, and others in the conduct ofnursing practice.” (pg. 57)An overview of ANA’s nursing standards and related resources isavailable aspx 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse Foundation for the Principles for Social Networking 13Nursing’s Social Policy Statement (ANA, 2010)This foundational document describes the essence of the nursingprofession that is both valued within society and is uniquelyaccountable to that society. The authority for nursing, as for otherprofessions of trust, is based on social responsibility, which in turnderives from nursing’s social contract wherein a mutually beneficialrelationship exists between society and the nursing profession:“[S]ociety validates the existence of the profession throughlicensure, public affirmation, and legal and legislative parameters.Nursing’s response is to provide care to all who are in need,regardless of their cultural, social, or economic standing.” (pg. 5)Nursing’s Social Policy Statement: The Essence of the Profession describesthe nursing profession as “particularly focused on establishing effectiveworking relationships and collaborative efforts essential to accomplishits health-oriented mission.” (pg. 7) 2011 American Nurses Association. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproducedor utilized in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTSPAGEReferencesANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse References 14

CONTENTSPAGEANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse References 15ReferencesAmerican Nurses Association. (2001). Code of ethics for nurses withinterpretive statements. Silver Spring, MD: Nursesbooks.org.American Nurses Association. (2010). Nursing: Scope and standards ofpractice (2nd ed.). Silver Spring, MD: Nursesbooks.org.American Nurses Association. (2010). Nursing’s social policy statement:The essence of the profession. Silver Spring, MD: Nursesbooks.org.About ANAThe American Nurses Association (ANA) is the only full-service professionalorganization rep

At the same time, the inherent nature of social networking invites the sharing of personal information or work experiences that may reflect poorly on a nurse’s professionalism. ANA’s Principles for Social Networking and the Nurseprovides guidance to registered nurses on using social networking media in a way that protects