About One DNP

I earned my "terminal practice" degree in nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in a journey of excitement and challenge. It inspired me to advocate for an all encompassing clinical credential rather than continuing the hodgepodge of nonsensical initials. I hope these entries will provide entertainment and insight into the Doctor of Nursing Practice experience, which will soon be the entry standard for all advanced practice nurses.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

ANA on Social Media and Networking

I just submitted a concept map on social networking for my concept and theory class that covered potential uses, boundary issues, and guidelines for creating an official position statement on social networking for nurses. Is a lot of it HIPPA/don't friend your patients/avoid posting naughty photos/keep the 3-day bender footage off YouTube common sense advice? Of course. But the AMA issued a policy on professionalism in the use of social media in 2010, and gee willikers, this is all the ANA had to say about it:

Social networking and the nurse. 
There is very little research regarding the new phenomena of social networking and its role in nursing practice.  The ANA HOD, in an effort to begin the dialogue, brought forth an informational resolution.  An informational resolution does not require the ANA HOD to take action, however, it does indicate action will be considered in the future as nursing research evolves and demands attention.

The nature of social networking is new to most everyone.  Nurses need to understand the potential reach of social networking sites such as Facebook®, MySpace®, and Twitter®.  Although social networking sites have positive benefits in the realm of mutual support and knowledge sharing, there are negative effects as well.  Some negative aspects include:  loss of privacy, legal liability, and loss of professionalism (Frohna, McGregor, & Spector, 2009).

The ANA Code of Ethics outlines ethical responsibilities of nurses in practice relating to social networking (ANA 2005).   Crossing over through personal and professional boundaries can represent a conflict of interest for the nurse.  Nurses have accountability for individual actions, professionally and personally.  Nurses have the responsibility to behave consistent with personal and professional values to protect the integrity of self and profession.

The HOD supported this informational resolution.  Social networking remains unfamiliar territory for the ANA.  Research is needed to guide and inform policies and practices in the utilization of social networking on the national stage as well as at the local level.

Referring to the ANA Code of Ethics is like saying "wear your cap and keep your mouth shut"- I venture to guess less than 5% of all nurses have read the thing (ohh, good idea for a survey!). I do not think we need to go through the whole finger-shaking nursing diagnosis way of creating a position on this. The time is over-ripe for the profession to play a dominant rather than handmaiden role in the healthcare marketplace and stop relying on the old "most respected profession (so why change?)" pat-on-the-head. Responsible use of social media can make that happen. Let's put it in writing!

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