COVID-19 social media guidance

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Guidance for Nurses

01/04/2020 By Sarah

In these unprecedented times, we encourage you all to be conscious of the content you are posting on social media. There is a lot of fake news circulating so as nurses, you must champion reliable resources only. We have put together a short guide of ‘Dos and Don’ts’ and ask you all to follow these, particularly at a time where lots of misinformation is circulating:

DODON’T
Protect your patients, service users, yourself and the company
• Always preserve the dignity of your patients
• Keep your social media accounts private, wherever possible
• Frequently check your security settings to ensure that content can not be shared inappropriately by others
• Treat others with consideration, politeness and respect
Breach professional boundaries
• Don’t request or accept friend requests from patients or their families
• Don’t use social media as a way of pursuing relationships with patients or their family members
• Don’t post anything confidential, offensive, derogatory, abusive, obscene, discriminatory, unlawful, bullying, defamatory or sectarian
Always check your source
Before sharing anything, you must verify your source and ask two questions: Is it a reputable source? and Is it genuine?

If you would like to share anything about COVID-19, please ensure your sources are credible. Please only share information from:
• Gov.UK
• Gov.IE
• NHS
• HSE
• NICE
• Department of Health
• HEE
• Any of the Royal Colleges
• Any of the regulatory bodies such as the NMC
• Fullfact.org
Publicise where you work unless necessary
• Do not include employers name in your profiles unless necessary for work purposes
• By specifying that you work for Thornbury Nursing or the Scottish Nursing Guild, you are always automatically representing us.
Report any offensive or distressing content
If you believe that yourself, colleagues or patients are being targeted by malicious or abusive social media posts, please following the reporting guidelines for each social platform and report to us as soon as possible.
Share confidential information
Do not ever share confidential information through social media or messenger channels. This would constitute a data breach (ico.org,uk)
Follow guidance published by your regulators:
• NMC
• HCPC
• SSSC
• NISCC
Post or share anything you would not stand by
You should never post or share anything that you haven’t fact-checked or are not willing to stand by.
Re-read the Thornbury & Guild handbook
Our nurse handbook includes our formal social media policy so if you’re ever in doubt, revisit your handbook for advice.
Post pictures at work
• Don’t ever post pictures of patients
• Only post pictures with your colleagues in a work setting with their explicit consent
• Don’t post pictures from work where the hospital/trust is identifiable
Remember that messenger apps not private and secure
Any content you send to someone over a messenger app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp can be shared and misused by others.
Give clinical advice
No matter how good your intentions are, never provide any clinical advice via social media. Always signpost people to the relevant people/websites such as NHS111 or their GP.

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