WRITTEN BY CHIMDIADI NZURIMIKE

Hospital staff are required to use Social Media Platforms responsibly in line with the ethics of their professions, without breaching their code of conduct. Below are some guidelines: that can guide staff usage of social media.

Stay professional and cautious: when discussing work related topics. It is important to avoid posting unethical content, complaints or comments on social media. In place of this, talk directly to relevant authorities, people or go through formal channels of communication to lay complaints.

Respect patient privacy: Patient’s details are sacred and should never be shared inappropriately. Any patient’s personal or medical conditions, including names, photos, social status etc. that could lead to the exposure of their identities must not be given out to unauthorized persons.

Stay mindful of your online reputation: Ensure that acceptable professional values and principles are reflected in your online presence and avoid controversial or inappropriate content that may damage your reputation or that of the hospital.

Avoid broadcasting conversations with fellow staff members online or private conversations with them or embarrassing subordinates about their personal inadequacies on a general social platform. It is considered irresponsible and insensitive. Direct handling of matters with affected individuals is considered the best practice.

Always be respectful and courteous when posting online. As much as possible, avoid accepting friend requests from patients as this may bring conflict of interest, becloud your professional boundaries and affect confidentiality

Be aware of the potential consequences that anything you post can be seen by anyone including employers, colleagues, and patients. So, think twice before posting unprofessional and unethical Contents.

Hospital workers should be aware of the potential damages of the insensitive use of social media

Challenges of inappropriate utilization of social media platforms by Hospital staff.

Inappropriate use of social media platforms presents consequences for both the staff member and the hospital. Some of the potential challenges include;

  • Damage to the hospital’s image: Staff members who use social media to express negative opinions about the hospital or its patients can harm the hospital’s reputation, which could lead to a loss of psychological trust among patients and society. Patients will always avoid scandal-ridden hospitals.
  • Patient privacy violation: Hospital staff who share patient’s personal and confidential medical information on social media has violated the patient’s privacy laws and this act could be subject to legal action. This can ruin the hospital’s image.
  • Vicarious liability: Hospitals may be held liable for the actions of their employees on social media, which can result in legal actions with financial consequences, due to payment of legal damages or loss of accreditation.
  • Breach of professional rules of conduct: Every hospital has codes of conduct and policies in place that prohibit employees from engaging in unprofessional conduct. Hospital staff who use social media to intimidate or insult patients or fellow staff or to broadcast or publish inappropriate or unethical content, are in violation of professional ethics and good conduct.
  • Loss of Credibility and Acceptance: Hospitals rely on their staff to provide high-quality care and maintain the trust and confidence of patients. When staff members misuse social media, it can lead to a loss of credibility and acceptance and this is largely difficult to regain.

Hospital workers should be aware of the potential damages of the insensitive use of social media and endeavor to show restraint and good judgment when using social media platforms, for the best interest of the patients, the hospital and the entire staff of the hospital.