March 09, 2012 | | Comments 1
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Facebook photos lead to jail time for nursing assistant

How would you respond to disturbing images or posts by an employee on Facebook? The Regency Pacific Nursing and Rehab Center in Portland, OR, did not like the pictures posted on Facebook by nursing assistant Nai Mai Chao, and fired her following a conviction of invasion of privacy. Images of elderly or disabled patients using bed pans and the contents of the bed pans, dating back to April 2011, appeared on Chao’s Facebook wall; Chao admitted to posting the photos but denied taking them. In addition to losing her job, the 26 year old nursing assistant spent eight days in jail, surrendered her nursing certificate, has been ordered to write a lengthy apology to a patient, and is forbidden from working at any job caring for children or the elderly in the next two years.

Social networking sites can be wonderful tools for nurses looking to connect with others in their profession or stay informed with the latest news about nursing. However, these sites also blur the line between one’s personal and professional lives, and people tend to forget that they are sharing pictures, information, and comments not only with their friends but also with the rest of the online world. There’s a good chance the majority of your staff participates in some form of social media, and addressing appropriate and inappropriate uses for these sites is crucial to prevent not only outrageous incidents like the one involving Chao, but also more innocent-seeming posts that still put patient privacy in jeopardy.

Talk with your nurses about privacy policies and how Facebook posts about their jobs or their patients can lead to trouble, no matter how innocuous the information may seem. Remind your nurses that although they may utilize the maximum privacy settings to prevent information or photos from spreading, their Facebook friends could still “share” content with their own networks and reach unintended audiences. Develop and enforce a social media policy that clearly states what is considered inappropriate use and outlines the consequences of violating the policy. As social media permeates all aspects of personal and professional spheres, taking these actions and being proactive about Facebook and social media use is a must for nurse leaders.

What are your policies on social media? How do you address concerns about privacy when it comes to Facebook and other sites? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts!

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Filed Under: Hot topicsTechnology

About the Author: Katrina Gravel is an editor for the Education division of HCPro.

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  1. I every time used to read post in news papers but now as
    I am a user of net so from now I am using net for content, thanks to web.

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