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Should nurses sign off of Facebook?

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Many people can’t imagine life without Facebook, even though it’s only been around since 2004. It’s the most visited website in the world (with just under a eleventy-trillion users)…and you’re probably one of them.

But, as a nurse, you probably have to think more carefully than civilians about how you use Facebook.

Some members of the nursing profession have been more than a tad irresponsible and imprudent with their posts, divulging confidential information about patients and hospital happenings. (Read “Five nurses fired for Facebook postings.”) Does this mean that perhaps you should consider saying goodbye to Facebook for now?

Keep reading and then decide for yourself, because it really comes down to you.

Privacy and confidentiality
The issue of patient privacy and confidentiality is the big one here. The aforementioned five California nurses were discussing their patients on Facebook, but nurses have also been fired for posting X-rays and photographs of patients. For example, in a different California hospital, nurses posted photos of a dying man who arrived in the ER with multiple stab wounds. In the United Kingdom, a nurse posted photos of herself in the OR, holding tissue from a brain surgery patient lying right there on the operating table.

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Cynthia Dusseault
Cynthia Dusseault is a professional freelance writer with both a health and an education background. A former medical radiation technologist and elementary school teacher, she realized that no matter what she did, she was drawn to any task that involved writing, so she decided, over a decade ago, to write full-time. Since then, she has written for a variety of magazines and websites including Nursing PRN, National Review of Medicine, University Affairs, Your Health, Education Leaders Today, Today's Parent, Children's Playmate, WeightWatchers.ca and many more. She has written about topics such as asthma, genital herpes, circumcision, teleradiology, body art, learning disabilities and exercise trends, and she absolutely adores the fact that writing—particularly doing the research for the articles she writes—makes her a lifelong learner.

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