How to Stay out of Trouble When Using Social Media

How to Stay out of Trouble When Using Social Media


Social media has made it easy to get in touch with friends using Facebook, and to hold meetings on Google hangouts without having to travel to any particular venue. With a lot of good, also comes the negative. Nothing posted on social media is confidential. Nurses need to be aware of the things that can get them into trouble when using social media. Remember, it’s not only posting words that could get you into trouble, but posting pictures of patients as well.

There once was a nurse who got into trouble for posting a patient’s wound picture. A relative close to the patient identified the picture and informed administration. At first, this seemed like an innocent mistake, but because confidentiality and privacy was not maintained, the nurse lost her job.
Imagine losing your job because of privacy issues, it would not be easy to get another job.
Five things you want to avoid doing on social media include:

  • Cell Phone photography

Avoid taking a patients picture with your cell phone and posting it on Facebook. This can be very tempting, particularly if it’s something exciting like a fracture that’s sticking out of the skin, and you want your other nurse friends also to experience what you saw in the emergency room.

  • Workplace

Bashing your workplace because of a new policy that you think is quite ridicules. Many times we want to vent, and social media may seem like the place we can tell it like it is, without our employers ever knowing. This is far from the truth because some employers make it a point to look at social media just to see what people are up to. A colleague who is not necessarily your friend may also turn your post in and get you into trouble.

  • Coworkers

Writing nasty remarks on social media about your coworker who made you mad at work will get you in trouble
It is important not to destroy another persons character on social media. They can accuse you for defamation of character and win a case against you in court.

  • Lab Tests

Discussing a patient’s lab results or diagnosis on social media is a breach in confidentiality.
Lab results may seem innocent, but privacy means really keeping things private.

  • Other Companies

Writing about any particular company you worked for or know that did a lousy job, and posting it on social media. Its true there are many bad companies out there and the public needs to be aware of them. However, if the company you are discussing learns about this, you could potentially get sued for defamation.


  • Best Practice when Using Social media

If you want to stay out of trouble, always think about your post being the headline of the day. If you are not comfortable with what you are about to post, then it’s an indication that you should not post it. Remember, the internet is read by everybody including your patients and their families. Once you leave your patients at the end of your shift, you want to make sure their records and issues remain private. Post articles that add value to the readers life. Social media will always work to your advantage as long as you use it the right way.

Posted in : Nursing, Resources
About The Author
Joyce Fiodembo is a nurse and author. You can find plenty of resources on her blog;, where she writes to inspire and uplift nurses to thrive. Joyce is the author of “The Foreign Nurses Guide to Settling in America” and “How Nurses Cope with Difficult Coworkers” found on Her other book "Reflections and Prayers for Nurses" can be found on She started her career in Kenya where she worked as a travel, ICU and operating room nurse. Joyce works with nurses who may be struggling with cultural challenges, equipping them to settle down easily. She is also a career counselor, helping nurses with interview skills and resume writing among others. Currently working in Ohio, she enjoys volunteering for mobile clinics abroad. Joyce is passionate about writing and currently has a website with a goal of inspiring nurses worldwide. You can visit her website at
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