7 Social Media Posts That Will Destroy Your Nursing Career Before It Begins!

When was the last time you checked the content hin your social media accounts? What are the chances that your future employer conducted a Google search of your name? Did you just cringe a little inside? In this article, see what employers are looking for and ways to protect your career! Nurses New Nurse Knowledge


7 Social Media Posts That Will Destroy Your Nursing Career Before It Begins!

According to the Money section of Time magazine, it is reported that 93% of hiring managers will review their candidates' social media accounts before making a hiring decision1. At the click of a button, a momentary lapse in judgment, could destroy your nursing career before it even begins. Soon, all of you will be applying for your first nursing job. Something that you have dreamed of and have worked so hard to obtain. Today, all employers have to do to know more about you, is simply Google your name. After a few clicks, your future employer will have gained their first impression of you. As the saying goes, someone's first impression is most lasting and takes a long time to change, if ever.

To help this reality not become yours, here are some tips and strategies you can use to protect yourself and your career:

Refrain from Reference to Any Illegal Drug Use

If your future employer found any indication that you use illegal drugs, you can almost certainly count yourself out of a job. In fact, 83% of future employers saw this as a negative quality1. Not to mention this is a criminal activity that can put your nursing license in jeopardy, it will potentially endanger the lives of the patients you will one day take care of. Also, every day, you will be in direct contact will substances that have the potential for nurses to become addicted to.

Do not Write about Excessive Alcohol Consumption

44% of employers also frown upon future employees posting on social media how they get drunk all of the time1. When you work for an organization, you not only represent them while you are working but outside of work as well. Also, they might assume that if you drink excessively, you might come to work drunk/hungover or frequently call in due to your self induced illness, both of which directly impact patient care.

Avoid Illegal Activity

First and foremost, don't break the law; you know better. Secondly, if you do break the law, don't brag about it on social media. This is a sure fire way to not get hired, but also will give the police the evidence they need to arrest you for the crime you committed.

Use Proper Grammar

Before you post something, read it to yourself and read it out loud. 61% of employers were not impressed by poor grammar2. You will be surprised how small errors can quickly decrease your credibility. Also, do not fall victim to autocorrect. It is amazing how one autocorrected word can make a non-offensive post, offensive.

Refrain from Swearing On Social Media

Nothing positive will come from using profanity on social media, 65% of employers feel this way2. Not even the censored to disguised words. Swearing is not a good representation of the professional you are. The last thing you would want is to have your application skipped because of a poor choice of words.

Clean Up Your Past Posting History

Go through all of your social media accounts, back to the day it was created and remove, delete, and edit any posts that could be perceived as negative or not becoming of a nurse. Untangle yourself, and if at all possible, remove any offensive photo or post. If the post is not yours, kindly send a message to your friend to remove the post. And fingers crossed, the post will be removed.

Update Your Privacy Settings

Update your privacy settings and remember that anything you post is public, even if you think it's not. Anything can be hacked, a picture can be taken in a second and redistributed just as easily.

This article also applies to the most seasoned nurses as well. Seniority will no longer protect you from a social media post that in any way your employer deems inappropriate. Also, have your fellow nurse's back as well. If you see one of your colleagues post something that could be perceived as inappropriate, reach out to them and express your concern. There is a very good chance that they might not have even noticed or ever thought that what they posted could be jeopardizing their career.

When all is said and done, if you choose to be active on social media, you must be very careful with what you post. Use the tips above to help guide your posting decisions and to take an active step to educate and protect yourself. Social media is a powerful tool, but, with power comes responsibility and as healthcare professionals, don't give anyone the platform or any reason to think less of the nurse you are or the one you will be. Congratulations again to all of the new graduates and welcome to the profession of Nursing!


1. The 7 Social Media Mistakes Most Likely to Cost You a Job

2. The top three things that employers want to see in your social media profiles

Nurse Practitioner / Author
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Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab.

I'm glad I got rid of my facebook account for many reasons, this is one of them.

Specializes in LTC.

I closed down my Facebook several years ago as well. I have no desire to read about how someone's neighbor's-uncle's-cousin's-ex-boyfriend finally made parole or whatever. And that Susie didn't sleep well last night and has drank 2 pots of coffee and it's not helping but she has SOOO MUCH to do today!!!

Fairly recently a nurse in my facility "attempted suicide" by taking a few pills. While being monitored in the hospital she was snapping pics of the monitor and posting it on FB with updates as to how she was feeling as well as VS's. (I know this because another nurse I work with showed me the posts.) All that did was solidified my position to stay far, far away from social media. I'll just sit here and play Candy Crush instead. ;)

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

I have social media sites, but I follow the rule of not posting anything that I wouldn't want my parents, my children, my supervisor and a whole room of third-graders to see. I also don't post anything that I won't own up to in person. And I keep my settings as private as possible on top of that.

So yeah, my social media sites are pretty dull: mostly pictures of the little ones, funny cat videos, and the occasional what-I'm-up-to post.

Another good idea.... Don't post anything about work or your patients..... Obviously it's a privacy violation.... And don't contact them on social media... It's not a good idea.... I have always felt it was best to avoid social media all together...

I have a friend who is a teacher and when she started interning she decided to delete her face book account too.... For those same reasons....

The things that people think is okay to post on social media... Also, having public fights on Facebook? Especially with your SO? Please, just don't.

Excellent article, and truly a sad commentary on a generation raised on social media sites and internet access everywhere. Yes, yes, I know there are a ton of people who are 20-something and know better than to "be that guy/gal", but more often than not, it's the opposite. Older ones who do it.....well, if they haven't learned any street smarts by whatever age they are playing with Facebook, lol....it's not gonna end prettily.

I have a good friend who works in HR at another facility (not where I work, and not my employer). She was telling me about someone they were planning to make an offer to, everything looked good on paper and she interviewed really well, the Boss wanted her. All good? Yes...until my friend did what she does as part of her job, and did a search online. There were the sloppy photos with friends (drunk/stoned/whatever?), and complaints/nasty comments galore about her last employer (oh, and she was fired, not currently employed as she had stated). My friend said that she (HR) didn't even need to take on the expense of a background search and reference check, LOL, as Google did it for her! :D

It is sad that this has to be posted, not just for job interviews, but just the apparent not so common sense.

For me, I have not "cleaned up" my online persona, since there is nothing to clean up. First I don't post under my real name on any forums I am on and second I don't post anything I would not say to someones face.

I actually just did a search of my name, only things that come up in the first 10 pages that are actually about me are my name in my fathers obituary and a comment I made on a website 10 years ago regarding Jeep axle manufacturers.

Specializes in TELE, CVU, ICU.

I see the value in this article, but, "When you work for an organization, you not only represent them while you are working, but outside of work as well."

Um, no. Just no. I am an employee not a slave. Our corporate overlords don't own us outright.

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.
gypsyd8 said:
I see the value in this article, but, "When you work for an organization, you not only represent them while you are working, but outside of work as well."

Um, no. Just no. I am an employee not a slave. Our corporate overlords don't own us outright.

I can see being viewed as representing the organization if and only if they are mentioned on the page or in the post. Other than that, I agree- I am on my own when not working. I don't list my work on my Facebook at all, not even my profession, and I still watch what I say.

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU.

Also, don't put your place of employment/school in your bios. Most hospitals, colleges, etc have bots that constantly are scanning for key words related to the place of employment/school.

You are a representative of your place of employment, especially if you choose to reveal where you work. All it takes is one post about a sucky day on the floor and how you hate working a certain floor to doom yourself.

And and nothing is private. Places can and do have programs that can gain access to your accounts. Also, don't allow tagging of yourself in pictures.

My my kids are in certain activities in college and they are heavily warned about posting on social media. A slip up could get you tossed from that activity or get you a visit to the dean.

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU.

It is unwise for nursing students -and anyone else - to use their photo as an avatar and then post personal and clinical issues on a public forum such as this one.