Is this legal?

  1. I'm just curious about the legality of something. There is a newly minted FNP in my neighborhood who frequents the neighborhood Facebook page giving medical advice. There was a discussion going on today about the flu shot and she made the statement that her "Advanced practice degree trumps your Google research" and yes, you should get the flu shot. I know her a bit--we've met a few times, but something about her touting her degree and accompanying it with advice feels not quite right. I'd hate for her to get in trouble. What do you all think?
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from jessimee
    I'm just curious about the legality of something. There is a newly minted FNP in my neighborhood who frequents the neighborhood Facebook page giving medical advice. There was a discussion going on today about the flu shot and she made the statement that her "Advanced practice degree trumps your Google research" and yes, you should get the flu shot. I know her a bit--we've met a few times, but something about her touting her degree and accompanying it with advice feels not quite right. I'd hate for her to get in trouble. What do you all think?
    Sounds "general" enough not to be an issue, IMO.
  4. by   sallyrnrrt
    Social media is a killer with most Bon, regardless of you degree
  5. by   hherrn
    Quote from jessimee
    I'm just curious about the legality of something. There is a newly minted FNP in my neighborhood who frequents the neighborhood Facebook page giving medical advice. There was a discussion going on today about the flu shot and she made the statement that her "Advanced practice degree trumps your Google research" and yes, you should get the flu shot. I know her a bit--we've met a few times, but something about her touting her degree and accompanying it with advice feels not quite right. I'd hate for her to get in trouble. What do you all think?
    It is very kind of you too look out for her. Pretty sure she will be A-OK telling people to get a flu shot.
  6. by   jessimee
    Quote from hherrn
    It is very kind of you too look out for her. Pretty sure she will be A-OK telling people to get a flu shot.
    That's just one example. She does get more detailed with her advice.
  7. by   LovingLife123
    Why would it not be legal? How many times are we asked for medical advice in life? Her statement just shows her frustration with people using google for advice on vaccinations.
  8. by   FolksBtrippin
    It's not illegal for an FNP to give advice on facebook. Why would you think otherwise?
  9. by   LifelongNursing
    Maybe not illegal but certainly may introduce certain situations where this is unethical. She cannot possibly recommend the flu shot to each and every person on any sort of social media without first knowing each person's background, medical history, etc. At the very least, I would say this is not a good idea generally on social media without giving a disclaimer of "always ask your primary healthcare provider" etc.
  10. by   KatieMI
    It is "legal" in terms of that everyone is almost completely free to leave almost whatever on Facebook, forever connected with his or her first and last name. How the Boards will look upon it if something happens, is entirely different question. Even if she asked out of pure frustration, and even if what she writes there is entirely evidence-based information, it is a still a good question. I definitely wouldn't like to be a person about whom the Boards might be concerned about it.
  11. by   jessimee
    FolksBtrippin, I was asking. I wasn't sure if there were legalities involved in making an assumption of an established provider-client relationship. There is some assumption of liability when giving advice to your neighbors...
    Last edit by jessimee on Sep 24 : Reason: Content
  12. by   elkpark
    This sounds like an "MYOB" situation to me. What concern is it of yours, really, what she is doing or saying on Facebook?
  13. by   caliotter3
    Quote from jessimee
    That's just one example. She does get more detailed with her advice.
    If she oversteps her bounds and gets good and burned for her ill-advised efforts, that will be on her. Nobody with her background should have to be warned not to be giving out medical advice willy nilly. If it were me, I would not even want to be aggravated or irritated by the situations that are probably occurring off the clock on social media. I would think she would be busy enough at her place of employment not to want to take time to do this advising when she could be enjoying her personal life.
  14. by   macawake
    Quote from jessimee
    I'm just curious about the legality of something. There is a newly minted FNP in my neighborhood who frequents the neighborhood Facebook page giving medical advice. There was a discussion going on today about the flu shot and she made the statement that her "Advanced practice degree trumps your Google research" and yes, you should get the flu shot. I know her a bit--we've met a few times, but something about her touting her degree and accompanying it with advice feels not quite right. I'd hate for her to get in trouble. What do you all think?
    She obviously possesses the required intelligence to have completed an advanced degree. That suggests to me that she is also intelligent enough to figure out what is within her scope of practice and what she can and can't say on social media.

    But if you are genuinely concerned for her sake, fearing that she might be doing something that might jeopardize her license, why not be a good colleague and simply talk to her about the potential risk you feel you've identified? That's what I'd do if this was a person I met multiple times and who I didn't want to get into trouble. I wouldn't spend time and energy on trying to figure out whether it crosses any legal boundaries or not. I assume that varies from case to case anyway, depending on the specific situation and the specific advice given. If I genuinely thought there was a risk that she doesn't seem to be aware of, I'd just give her a heads-up regarding my concerns and let her decide if my advice has merit or not.

    Good luck!

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