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Social Media and Patients

Professionalism   (22,418 Views | 22 Replies)

NurseDrizzles specializes in Palliative, Pulmonary.

1 Follower; 1,331 Profile Views; 18 Posts

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Do you feel it's acceptable to accept a patient friend request on social media?

  1. 1. Do you feel it's acceptable to accept a patient friend request on social media?

    • No, absolutely not. Never.
    • Sometimes, depending on the patient, but usually not.
    • I don't know. It's never come up for me

48 members have participated

1,240 Posts; 7,999 Profile Views

When I worked in the hospital? absolutely not!

Now I'm a school nurse in the elementary that my own children attend, so I'm "friends" with several parents of my students(not really patients here). However, my Facebook is purely for sharing pics of my kiddos and fur baby and for baby wearing stuff. I'm still hesitant to add parents that are not a part of my daughter's class because people love drama. For a different perspective- the majority of the teachers here do not have their real name as their Facebook name, so that they don't have to deal with friend requests from overbearing parents.

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NurseDrizzles specializes in Palliative, Pulmonary.

1 Follower; 18 Posts; 1,331 Profile Views

It's a valid point. Since I work for a state hospital, I also care for patients who are incarcerated, only they're on my turf and they have one or two guards with them at all times. Not only do I not want to accept them on any online platform, I'd prefer they not know my last name. While I believe all patients have a right to know who is caring for them, I also worry about my own safety. My town isn't so big that I'd be difficult to find.

Do your patients have access to your full name? Do you have to wear an ID badge? I'm very curious.

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NurseDrizzles specializes in Palliative, Pulmonary.

1 Follower; 18 Posts; 1,331 Profile Views

Does your organization let you truncate or omit your last name from your badge?

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canoehead has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

2 Followers; 6,679 Posts; 49,583 Profile Views

We aren't supposed to cover our last name, but administration doesn't monitor it.

I wouldn't accept a patient friend request because no matter how nice they are, they can still have bad days. If someone else at the facility treats them poorly, will that change how they feel about me? What if they come to me for help to pull some strings, and it doesn't go well? The relationship is not just between us, its between us, and the facility, and the physicians, and all the relatives that care about that patient. Way too many variables for me to bet my job that we will remain on good terms.

The kicker is that our code of ethics discourages social relationships with patients. If anyone at anytime in the future thinks the relationship is inappropriate, we're gonna get kicked in the knackers. Why risk it?

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YumCookies has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in acutecarefloatpool. BSN/RN/CMSRN. i dabble in pedi.

53 Posts; 2,254 Profile Views

I would never accept a patient friend request, no ifs no buts. As far as the name on the ID badge, our ID badges have our full names on them with our credentials. I have covered my last name with a sticker for my privacy - anyone can Google YumCookies RN on the board of nursing website and find out where I live - I'd rather not give them that opportunity. :)

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PeakRN specializes in Adult and pediatric emergency and critical care.

535 Posts; 5,728 Profile Views

Yes and no. I have worked in EMS, Peds, and the ED long enough that I have crossed paths with my patients or their families at a time not related to their care and have become friends, and I'm not going to let the idea that I provided care for them to forever prevent building social relationships. That being said I do not socialize with patients outside of work. I don't talk about any medical related things with those who I have provided care for and I am friends with.

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112 Posts; 2,738 Profile Views

In general I would say no and I have always turned down patient friend requests with one exception: I used to work as a private duty nurse. I grew very close to the family and I am Facebook friends with my patient's mother. My patient passed away a few years ago. I love staying in touch with the family. That is the only patient related friend request I have ever accepted...and like someone else said, I don't friend co-workers unless we are friends outside of work...and I never post about work :)

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

6 Followers; 3 Articles; 2,955 Posts; 33,506 Profile Views

My social media pages are Ultra Private but still I don't disclose on them that I am a nurse, where I work. Certainly would never talk about my patients or co-workers. It's just to dangerous to mix my professional and private life.

Hppy

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LilPeanut has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in NICU/Neonatal transport.

898 Posts; 5,660 Profile Views

This is old, but I'm going to zombify it :D 

I used to never add patients (well, their parents), but then I altered that policy and now add patient parents to a special group.  When they are added, they are added to a special group called, unsurprisingly, 'former patients'.  They are then tagged in a note I keep to explain my "rules":

Quote

Previously I had a personal policy of not allowing former patients to be "friends" with me on facebook, but after consideration and especially in light of my mobility around the country and how much it has meant to me that I get to see updates on some of the wonderful babies I've taken care of, I've changed my privacy settings around so I can feel like there is a respectable maintenance of professional boundaries while still including former patients as "friends".

Everyone has different levels of comfort about professional boundaries and what that entails, so we all have to figure it out ourselves. But you and your babies have meant a lot to me professionally, as well as personally (because they help remind me why I love doing what I do!)

I encourage you to make custom privacy settings, not because I'm some weird creeper (you all know me enough that I'm weird, but not a creeper ;) ) but just so you feel like you can have some privacy if you want, on your facebook without having to share it with the medical people who have been involved with your child's life (be it stuff about your job or your personal life or whatever).

Thank you *very* much though, for giving me the opportunity to stay updated on your baby. And moreso, thank you even more that you gave me the opportunity to be involved in your baby's care and your lives. I truly appreciate it. Also, please note that I will be tagging former patients to this post, so there is the possibility that others will see your names as former patients, though this post is private just to former patients (does that make sense?)

You can always remove the tag, or ask me to remove the tag if it makes you uncomfortable.

As a default, my children (and their friends) and any former patients cannot see anything I post, unless I specifically choose to tag them in it.  But this allows me to see the occasional picture of former patients as they grow and get better, which is really lovely. 

I do have a couple former patients who are a little weird because I was friends with the parents prior to them becoming patients, so they are not kept on that list, because they were my friend/family first. 

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 66 Articles; 13,949 Posts; 172,652 Profile Views

I never discuss work on social media, and never accept friend request from patients or even colleagues.  But my cousin, who is an MA in a small town, notes that half of her patients are already her friends on Facebook because they are neighbors, go to the same church, have kids in the same school or on the same sports team or have known each other since high school.  So, I would never accept a friend request from a patient or their family member --- but sometimes in small towns, you all know each other anyway.

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ocean.baby has 25 years experience and specializes in corrections and LTC.

119 Posts; 2,303 Profile Views

Better safe than sorry.  Even if 'Jane' or 'Bob' was the greatest patient ever, you really clicked, you want to know how they and their family are doing, don't.  They may have loved you.  However, what if later they have a bad experience with the hospital, or with their physician?  When people are angry they do and say things totally out of the ordinary for them.  You could get caught in the cross-fire.  I think it is a bad idea to add co-workers as some of them seem to have no idea what HIPAA is, and an even worse idea to add patients.  If I couldn't stop myself I would talk to them on the phone, but never anything written.  No texts, and absolutely no social media.  

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