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Social Media: Managing the Ethical Issues

Social media is a generalized term for a group of online software tools that allow for increased interaction authorship and development of online content by the web user . The nursing profession is facing a revolution today and these changes are affecting the whole society because nurses are part of the society.

The changes are not only affecting the nurses of today, but they will stretch even into the future citing the growing relationship with the Internet. The forces that affect nursing and healthcare are causing by the technological advancements of other fields that are related to nursing. The purpose of this paper is to identify social media as an ethical dilemma and to provide the clinical nurse with practical application of this provision; managing the ethical issues.

Ethical Dilemma

The rapid explosion of the medical technology has changed the way nursing care is given. In the current age of social media, networking and blogging platforms, nurses are interlinked to patient issues, topics and communities than ever before.

Nurses have the ability to share best practices, information and connect with their profession with ease. All factors considered, these recent developments can also become an ethical dilemma to the profession. However, nursing still remains one of the most vibrant professions in America irrespective of the controversies and divisions that sometimes engulf it.

Social media as an ethical dilemma

The Code of Ethics as outlined by American nurses Association (ANA) directs that nurses should provide an environment that enables adequate practices and policies and that are dedicated to protecting the confidentiality of the patient.

The nursing role is mirrored in the context of boundary violation, boundary crossing and boundary setting. Thi aspect is redeveloped alongside the perception of the use of social media and crossing of boundaries by the practicing nurse, using the framework for Nurses Code of Ethics and in review of the materials provided by The ANA on social media.

Nurses should be careful in judgment and thought in a bid not to get involved in situations that could expose protected patient health information placing the patient’s privacy in jeopardy or even tarnishing the name of the agencies they work for. Nursing ethical standards
could be easily violated with “Pin” on Pintrest or a Facebook post.


The current nature of sharing information on social media platforms or forms is becoming a major challenge for healthcare management to standardize. This has resulted to the ‘no tolerance policy’ as well as blocking social media and networking websites form been accessed within the healthcare institution.

Healthcare associations also keep on issuing new guidelines as the society changes and progress. Nurses are therefore called upon to adhere to policy and adhere to HIPAA Privacy Laws. It is therefore important to note that the ethics of boundaries and nursing practice coupled with nursing education on how to use social media are important in addressing the current changes that have taken place and how they affect the nursing profession.

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