The main problem that can be reported when nurses use social media is the violation of patients’ rights regarding privacy, anonymity, and confidentiality. If nurses use social media to publish different types of content and share the details of their nursing practice, there is a high risk that they will spread some confidential information. It is not only unethical but also illegal to share such information about patients (Butts & Rich, 2016; Pozgar, 2016). Furthermore, even if no personal data are used in publications, there are also risks for patients of being recognized with reference to the information presented in social media. In addition, it is also necessary to state that it is rather unethical to use social media for communicating with patients as this approach should be viewed as non-professional.
However, nurses and other healthcare specialists can also follow an opposite approach to using social media and make the process ethical and beneficial for the public. Social media can be used for posting publications that contain important information for promoting patient education. This information should be evaluated by healthcare providers to guarantee that it cannot be misused by patients. In the modern world, patients should be effectively educated in order to adhere to the principles and rules of preventive medicine (Golder et al., 2017). Therefore, social media can be regarded as a convenient channel for spreading information to educate communities and patients (Pozgar, 2016). Furthermore, social media can be used to increase patients’ loyalty in relation to particular healthcare organizations. If resources of social media are used ethically, more people can learn where to receive services and care they need in order to improve their health status.
Butts, J. B., & Rich, K. L. (2016). Nursing ethics: Across the curriculum and into practice (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Golder, S., Ahmed, S., Norman, G., & Booth, A. (2017). Attitudes toward the ethics of research using social media: A systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(6), e195.
Pozgar, G. D. (2016). Legal and ethical issues for health professionals (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.