Blogging---what crosses the line?

  1. I LOVE reading nurses and doctors blogs! They crack me up, make me wanna cry with them and in general motivate me to hurry and finish school. The insight they give, the ideas, the way to handle things is great. I have some great stories myself and fellow students have often told me, "You should really blog about this! It's hilarious"...BUT I haven't and dont think I will. I'm afraid that a future employer would find out and BAM I'd be done. Even if I made up an email and never used real names I'd be scared. I was just wondering how these blogs that are already out there avoid HIPPA problems? Some cases are very specific. How do they do it?
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    About itsnowornever

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 1,071; Likes: 880
    Studying like a madwoman until exit exams and NCLEX are done.; from US


  3. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Disclaimers on blogs. Changing names/details. Or getting written permission from the patient/family for unique cases that are unable to be safely de-identified. However if your employer has a policy against social media that could be the bigger issue. NCSBN just released a social media policy for nurses as a guideline
  4. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Heres the link to the AN article on NCSBN social media standards: NSCBN: Social Media Guidelines for Nurses
  5. by   itsnowornever
    You are gold! Thank you!
  6. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from JustBeachyNurse
    However if your employer has a policy against social media that could be the bigger issue. NCSBN just released a social media policy for nurses as a guideline
    That's true. Even if you follow the NCSBN guidelines, you may still be running afoul of your employer's social media policy and could lose your job.

    Some people know that it's acceptable to post under their employer's guidelines so they blog away. Some people aren't allowed to but don't care...and these are the ones that risk running into trouble.

    And even if you're very careful with changing details, being vague, etc., there's always a risk that your identity will be figured out and what you write used against you. Not too long ago, a popular nursing blog was shut down because someone figured out who the person was and where they work, and reported him to management. Management called the blogger on the carpet and thus the blog ended (blogger himself shut it down). On the web, you are not as anonymous as you think.

    So if you want to blog, look up your employer's social media guidelines first to know what you can and can't do. Then use those NCSBN guidelines to guide you. Definitely change names, dates and details. Watch what you write because even though you may not have patient PHI on the post, specific incidents/surgeries/procedures could be enough identifying information in themselves.

    IMO, the safest rule of thumb is don't write anything you're not prepared to say directly to the person you are writing about, or that you wouldn't mind your friends, family, and especially your employers knowing.
  7. by   DizzyLizzyNurse
    I know someone who lost her job at a bank (she did something with mortgages) over blogging about work so I'm very nervous about putting any "stories" down in writing. I also was posting anonymously on a (non nursing) site and this same friend also happened to be posting anonymously. I knew it was her right away from the stories she was posting even though she changed names. It was very obviously her just because I knew the stories.
  8. by   alovelymother
    The hospital I work at recently put out a social media policy reminding us that we represent the hospital and that all publicly accessible social media should portray the hospital in a positive light.
  9. by   PrayeRNurse
    we need to be professional in everything. here is a link to a site that may help, it is a whhite paper from ncsbn and is most helpful. [font="verdana"]
  10. by   nurseprnRN
    take a peek at what constitutes personal health information/identifiers. it's longer than you think and can be found here in the "is this a hipaa violation?" thread.

    even so, be prepared to hide information for years, even some that you think you've disguised. when in doubt, show what you've written (before you post it) to someone who knows the story you've disguised, and see if she says, "hey, is this about the guy in .... with the.... and the family that...?" not disguised enough.
  11. by   itsnowornever
    Thanks guys. I think I am just too afraid to do a blog. Cheers to those who do, but I'm chicken. LOL!
  12. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    I've been reading both nurse and doc blogs since early 2004, possibly because I'm a hipster like that.

    I've seen a lot of - doc! - blogs go under d/t HIPAA. I could probably recite a list of doc blogs that have gone under because the doc started posting wayward ****. Same goes for nurses.

    I kind of feel like starting a thread about "hey, did you read that blog back when?"
  13. by   dfw_bsn
    I thought as long as it doesn't have identifiable patient information, then it's ok?
  14. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from dfw_bsn
    I thought as long as it doesn't have identifiable patient information, then it's ok?
    Problem is that you could leave out all of the typical PHI and still end up posting enough details about the case that the patient and/or the facility could be identifiable.

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