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Online Best Practices for Nurses and Nursing Students

Online Best Practices for Nurses and Nursing Students

Georgia Price | NursingLink

June 15, 2009

Whether you got your first screen name at five or you’ve only recently plugged in your Ethernet cable, it’s important to know just what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to signing online. Sure, you may already know that you should never give out your social security number and you can probably recognize a SPAM email when you see one, but did you know that healthcare providers (including nurses!) have their own set of ethics when it comes to online use?

Users are often tempted to say things they normally wouldn’t because of the anonymity of the internet, and in most cases this doesn’t affect anyone. However, healthcare providers are charged with practicing strict confidentially – even online. Organizations exist to help monitor conduct and let readers know that a provider is following a strict code of ethics.

So what are our recommendations for staying safe, protecting your patients, and having fun online? Find out now.

Never Share Personal Information

This may seem obvious, but it does happen – usually with email addresses. Remember, anyone can read a forum and posting your email address is an easy way for scammer to target you.

Want to exchange information with a friend? Send them a private message with or contact info instead. This is a secure way to make sure only the people you trust can get ahold of you via email.

Adhere to the Nursing Code of Ethics

The Nursing Code of Ethics exists of a reason – to protect patients and their nurses. You wouldn’t share private information to someone you just met on the street, so why would you break confidentially online? Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want your supervisor, patients, or colleagues to read.

Also remember that you will often be interfacing with other healthcare professionals and nurses online. If you see something that you feel goes against the code of ethics, send the user a polite private message or email. Remember, you’re not only looking out for yourself – as a patient advocate, you’re looking out for patients, too.

When sharing a story or asking a question, have respect for the patients involved. Your relationships with patients extend beyond the hospital doors.

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