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Social Media in Nursing: How do you know if you have crossed the line?


A nursing student took a photo of her 3- year old patient with Leukemia on her personal phone with mom’s permission. She then posted it in her Facebook page with the caption, “This is my 3-year-old leukemia patient who is bravely receiving chemotherapy! He is the reason I am so proud to be a nurse!” In the photo, the room number was visible. Days later, the dean of the nursing program called her into her office after a nurse from the hospital found the photo and reported it to hospital officials who also contacted Emily’s nursing program.


This is one of the case scenarios highlighted in the National Council of State Board of Nursing (NCSBN) Nurses guide to social media found on this link: . Every nurse must understand and apply these guidelines.


Texas Board of Nursing states, in their position statement regarding the use of social media “The use of social media can be of tremendous benefit to nurses and patients alike. However, nurses must be aware of the potential consequences of disclosing patient-related information via social media. Nurses must always maintain professional standards, boundaries, and compliance with state and federal laws as stated in Board Rule 217.11(A). All nurses have an obligation to protect their patient’s privacy and confidentiality [as required by Board Rule 217.11(E)] which extends to all environments, including the social media environment.” (


There are times when the patient may want to continue the relationship on a social basis but the sharing of personal information or connecting via social media must be weighed in and used very cautiously. Patient confidentiality and privacy must be kept at a priority level.


So, how do you know if you have crossed the line? Think about HIPAA (from the previous blog), read the guideline, and always act in the best interest of the patient.


Crossed the Line? Contact a Savvy Dallas Nurse Attorney

Consult a Dallas nurse attorney before you proceed with the BON complaint process to protect your nursing license. Contact nursing license defense attorney Yong J. An for a confidential consultation by calling or texting 24/7 at (832) 428-5679.