Nowadays, nearly everyone has some sort of social media account. While most people have the freedom to post whatever they see fit, those in some professions may need to choose carefully what they decide to put on their pages. Nurses may find themselves facing professional liability issues, particularly when it comes to patient privacy.
It is not unusual for people to turn to social media in order to vent their frustrations – whether they stem from their personal or professional lives. When nurses do so, they could inadvertently divulge information they are legally and ethically obligated to protect. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the rights of nurses as it pertains to freedom of expression.
However, they may be held accountable if a post causes an alleged breach of patient confidentiality.
What is the risk?
Most people now understand that their posts are never truly private. Even deleting a post does not necessarily mean it is gone forever. Moreover, your posts may not necessarily stay in your circle. The people you connect with through social media could share a post outside of your group or friends list. Not being able to control whose eyes your post ends up in front of could be risky for your career.
Even so, the law allows nurses to use social media to discuss political, social or professional issues – within reason.
If you’re facing professional liability inquiries resulting from your social media usage, you do not have to simply accept any disciplinary action proposed. You can challenge it under the Charter. With your career potentially at stake, enlisting the aid of a lawyer experienced in professional liability and disciplinary proceedings could prove invaluable to you – and your professional future.