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Social Media Best Practices

As a student nurse, using social media wisely can be a key ingredient in landing a job and keeping it. See below for best practices for nurses to consider when using social media, from social media expert and nurse, Pamela Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, adjunct lecturer of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Mass.

  • Take a seat at the table. Use social media to collaborate with others around an area of interest. Through Tweet chats or by networking on LinkedIn, you can find colleagues around the world who are passionate about similar issues in particular specialties. Social media can help you step out of a nursing silo and collaborate with other healthcare professionals.
  • Even in private forums, consider everything on social media to be public. Always remember that you are nurse, and confidentiality and privacy are important. In the same way you wouldn’t forget you’re a nurse if you were in an elevator in your hospital, don’t forget you’re a nurse when posting on social media. As a nurse, I don’t post anything that I wouldn’t feel comfortable being available to the public.
  • Maintain a professional online presence. It is important for nurses and other healthcare professionals to always keep their tone and language appropriate when engaging on social media. Employers tend to look at candidates’ social media profiles to gauge the personality of potential employees.
  • Maintain HIPPA regulations. It’s important to refrain from diagnosing and giving specific, individual medical advice online to comply with HIPPA regulations. For more information about staying in compliance with HIPPA rules, read the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s “Guide to Social Media.”
  • Join LinkedIn to find professional opportunities. As a nurse, it’s important to create a professional profile on LinkedIn.com – no matter what stage you are in your career. The profile gives you a chance to articulate your skills and define your professional goals. LinkedIn also serves as a great resource for networking with other nurses and finding a job. I recommend joining specialty groups on LinkedIn that fit your interests, like pediatric nursing, as well as national nursing organizations.
  • Listen first, engage second. Social media is not a broadcast tool, it’s a conversation. Observe the discussion thoroughly before entering the conversation to ensure it is one you want to be part of.
  • Remember that you aren’t expected to become tech-savvy overnight. If you are new to social media, begin with creating a LinkedIn profile to dip your toe into the water and have a professional presence online. You don’t need to jump in the deep end and do everything at once!
  • Share your voice! Nurses are well-positioned to be leaders and advocates in the health and wellness of our society. We need to articulate those skills and put ourselves in the same space as other leaders in other industries! Social media is one vehicle that allows us to add the nursing voice to the healthcare conversation in a truly powerful way.

To learn more about social networking for nurses, check out the American Nurses Association’s Social Networking Principles Toolkit.


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