Social Media

Professional Boundaries

Social Media has great benefits in healthcare but there is also a great downside to it

Nurses have a unique relationship with patients

It is easy to be over involved with a patient that has been closely under the nurse’s care

It is important to always put the patient before the nurse’s feelings

Professional Boundaries & Therapeutic Relationships

A therapeutic relationship is the only appropriate relationship between the nurse and the patient

Personal disclosure should be used cautiously

The patient can misinterpret it for friendship

Reversal of roles is when the patient cares for the nurse (Henderson & Dahnke, 2015)

This can add more stress to the patient and slow down their healing progress

Social media makes it easier for professional boundaries to be crossed

It is more accessible for a patient and nurse to keep in touch after discharge

Professional Boundaries & Confidentiality

Nurses can violate the principle of confidentiality on social media

Common misconception: Removing a patient’s name is enough to maintain patient confidentiality

Many other factors can give away patient identity

Once information is exposed on the internet, it is there forever

The patient will lose trust in the nurse and possibly all healthcare workers

Professional Boundaries & Integrity

Social media is rapidly evolving therefore it is difficult for institution policies to keep up (Brookes, 2017).

It is important for the nurse to use their sense of integrity when making decisions about social media content

Regarding patients or employer

The nurse should think how would they would feel if they were in the patient’s shoes

It is appropriate for the nurse to keep two social media platforms: professional and personal (Brookes, 2017).

Professional Boundaries & Nonmaleficence

Nonmaleficence is doing no harm to a patient

Exposing patient information can potentially cause harm

Even if it is unintentional

Befriending a patient on social media can cause harm to the patient if exposed to nurse’s values and ideas that the patient may not agree with


Henderson, M., & Dahnke, M. D. (2015). The ethical use of social media

in nursing practice. MEDSURG Nursing, 24(1), 62–64.

Brookes, G. (2017). To post or not to post: Social media and nursing. 

Nursing New Zealand (Wellington, N.Z. : 1995), 23(2), 34.

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