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NMC guidance: dos and don'ts for social media

What the NMC says

Nurses and midwives will “put their registration at risk” if they:

  • Share confidential information online
  • Post inappropriate comments about colleagues or patients
  • Use sites to bully or intimidate colleagues
  • Pursue personal relationships with patients
  • Distribute sexually explicit material
  • Use social networking sites in any unlawful way

The NMC recommends nurses and midwives take the following precautions:

  • Separate your personal and professional life as far as possible. For example, use Facebook for close friends and family and LinkedIn for professional relationships
  • If you identify yourself as a nurse or midwife, you should “act responsibly at all times and uphold the reputation of your profession”
  • Protect your privacy by adjusting privacy settings
  • Do not build or pursue relationships with patients and service users, including former ones
  • Do not discuss work online; this includes conversations about patients and complaints about colleagues
  • Never post pictures of patients or service users, even if they ask you to do so
  • Social networking sites should not be used for raising and escalating concerns
  • Remember that everything online is public, even with the strictest privacy settings

The full NMC guidance on social networking sites is at tinyurl.com/2usvt8q

The 2009 Royal College of Nursing’s legal guidance is at tinyurl.com/2wnmk6h

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