discussion reply 2 19

Shanna Sherman

Misuse of Social Media – Main Discussion #2


Misuse of Social Media

Over the past ten years, social media has emerged into the health care arena at a rapid pace. Social media provides a platform for networking, communication, education, and dissemination of information. According to the National League for Nursing (as cited in Peck, 2014), “more than 80% of nursing students are Millennials, or the Net Generation…they are considered to be digital natives and view new technologies as a normal part of their everyday lives” (p. 164). It is no surprise that social media has made its way into the nursing profession and at times caused conflict related to patient privacy concerns. The conflict addressed in this discussion deals with the misuse of social media use between nurses and a patient’s parent.

Impact on Work Environment

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects patient information from being distributed, disclosed or used without knowledge or permission (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, n.d.). The nurses violated HIPAA by discussing specific patient details using the social media platform Facebook. The nurses did not name the patient, however, the patient’s mother engaged in the conversation which made the patient easily identifiable. The four nurses involved worked for the same unit and discussed negative outcomes that the patient had been experiencing. The patient’s mother added details to the Facebook conversation which overall reflected negatively upon the organization. A nurse practitioner, who worked for the organization, inadvertently discovered the inappropriate use of social media and immediately reported it to the unit charge nurse to avoid further damage and even legal ramifications that may have occurred had the conversation continued. The charge nurse recognized an urgent need to address social media misuse and remind unit staff members of their duty to comply with HIPAA guidelines.

Six-Step Coaching Process

Manion (2011) identified a six-step process to assist leaders when coaching an employee. The six-step process managers can utilize when coaching employees include:

  1. “Determine your intention
  2. Assess the performer
  3. Clarify expectations and parameters
  4. Carry out the coaching intervention
  5. Observe performance
  6. Give feedback” (p. 314)

The charge nurse will determine the intention of the coaching session by explaining to the nurse who owns the Facebook page that the purpose of the coaching session is to assist her in understanding the fine line between social media usage and HIPAA violation and to review the organization’s policy on social media use. Emphasis will be placed on the positive intention of the coaching session as to not make the nurse feel as if she is being punished, but rather to help protect her career with the organization and also her nursing license. One goal that should be mutually developed and agreed upon could be to appoint that nurse as the unit social media champion who could educate the unit staff on the social media policy and HIPAA guidelines. Leaders who support employee growth and development help employees set goals that have a positive impact on the organization (Manion, 2011).

Assessment of the nurse will occur periodically by the coach through direct observation of how the nurse disseminates education to the rest of the unit. Information will be gathered from other nurses and staff and self-report from the nurse being coached. One of the nurse’s strengths was the ability to utilize social media to engage other users and co-workers. By capitalizing on the nurse’s communication strength and allowing her to communicate policy and guidelines to her co-workers, the manager is taking advantage of the nurse’s abilities and allowing her to integrate those abilities into her plan also investing in the nurse’s strengths (Manion, 2011).

Clear expectations and parameters will be discussed with the nurse to avoid conflict and identify the role of both the charge nurse as the coach and the nurse being coached. Both parties will enter an agreement to validate their relationship causing it to have intention (Manion, 2011). The coach will identify the parameter that the nurse must utilize human resources (HR) as the subject matter expert to ensure the information that is gathered is accurate before the nurse educates co-workers and other staff members. Once steps one, two, and three of the coaching process are well defined, the coaching intervention will occur. Questions will be asked of the nurse to encourage reflection and constructively direct her. If the nurse is struggling the charge nurse will be available as a sounding board to help the nurse redirect her plan.

During the intervention, the charge nurse will observe the nurse’s performance. The charge nurse will first allow the performer to self-report her progress through actions taken to accomplish her goal. After the observation stage, the charge nurse will give feedback to complete the coaching process. Although the charge nurse will be giving continuous feedback throughout the coaching process, upon completion of the nurse achieving her goal of educating staff on the social media policy and HIPAA guidelines, the charge nurse will identify the strengths of the nurse to influence future behavior. Constructive feedback will also be given to assist the nurse in advancing her professional growth and development. Both negative and positive feedback is important to closing the coaching process and must be communicated to the nurse being coached.

Human Resources

The HR department was enlisted as soon as the social media mishap was discovered and shared with the charge nurse. Human resources were given the Facebook page of the nurse whose page the communications occurred on and the names of the nurses involved. The patient’s mother was consulted, and she requested that no disciplinary action be taken against the nurses involved. Human resources discussed the social media policy with the charge nurse and HIPAA guidelines so the charge nurse was better equipped to coach the nurse who owned the Facebook page.


Manion, J. (2011). From management to leadership: Strategies for transforming health care (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Peck, J. L., (2014). Social media in nursing education: Responsible integration for meaningful use. Journal of Nursing Education, 53(3), 164-169. doi:10.3928/01484834-20140219-03

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). Health information privacy. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/guidance…

Reply Quote Email Author

Message Read

Mark as Read

Message Not Flagged

Set Flag