Social Media

I manage several RNs who are active on social media. Recently I have seen some conversations thatinclude negative postings about our workplace and several of our clients. What standard are RNs held to when their personal and professional lives mix because they self-identify or reflect on being an RN in a social media setting?

  • Ethically and legally, RNs have an obligation to maintain professional boundaries, client privacy, confidentiality and security by complying with legislation, practice standards, ethics and organizational policies at all times (1 and 2).
  • Registered nursing is a highly respected Our clients come to us in their most vulnerable state and trust us with their most personal information. As such, RNs are always accountable to their standards of practice that include demonstrating a professional presence, practicing with integrity in all of their professional interactions and modelling professional behaviour (3 and 4).
  • RNs should treat the virtual world of social media with the same professionalism as shown in the physical If youwould choose not to say something about a client in front of others in an elevator, then avoid posting that same information in the cyber world (5 and 6). The CRNS Social Media resource includes additional tips for using social media.
  • Confidential client information should not be Even an unnamed client can be identified by others if confidential information about them or their family is disclosed (7 and 8).
  • RNs should avoid using social media to make disparaging remarks about employers or co-workers, to vent or negatively discuss work-related events, or to comment on similar posts by others (7 and 8). Work related issuesshould be dealt with in a respectful and constructive manner in the work setting.
  • RNs are expected to advocate for high standards of care and improvements in the health care system at all levels in the best interest of clients, especially when they are unable to advocate for themselves (9).
  • RNs advocate for health equity for all, particularly for vulnerable and/or diverse clients and populations (10).
  • RNs are expected to address concerns about standards of care through the proper channels, not via social media (11).

What is the expectation for RNs who want to speak out about unacceptable practices in or out of the workplace?

RNs are expected to advocate for high standards of care. Often RNs identify gaps in care or issues with the care that is being delivered, when others do not. RNs contribute to quality

improvement initiatives that positively impact client care. The CRNS expects RNs will follow the proper channels to resolveidentified concerns about client care from a system perspective and will attempt resolution at the lowest level. One resource available to guide and support RNs in addressing concerns is Resolving Professional Practice Issues: A Toolkit for Registered Nurses, 2019. If concerns must be escalated to a higher level, RNs might consider contacting client representatives, the Ministry of Health Quality of Care Coordinators, Patient Advocates or the SK Health Ombudsman. RNs should explore the most appropriate resources given their care concerns, attempts at resolution and context of care.

CRNS Resources

Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (2017) Registered Nurse Practice Standards, 2019 Registered Nurse Entry-Level Competencies, 2019

Resolving Professional Practice Issues: A Toolkit for Registered Nurses, 2019

Social Media, 2021

External Resources

InfoLaw: Social Media

Social Media Guidelines for Nurses

A Nurse’s Guide to the Use of Social Media, National Council of State Boards of Nursing Am I Nurse 24/7?

Resource Key
1Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 30, p. 5
2Registered Nurse Entry-Level Competencies (2019)Competency 2.4, p. 7
3Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 35, page 6
4Canadian Nurses Association Code of Ethics (2017)G2, p. 16
5Canadian Nurses Association Code of Ethics (2017)E2, p. 15 and E9, p. 16
6Social Media Resource (2021)p. 3
7InfoLaw: Social Media (2021) 
8A Nurse’s Guide to the Use of Social Media (n.d.) 
9Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 31, page 5; and Indicators45 and 46, page 6.
10Registered Nurse Entry-Level Competencies (2019)Competency 7.4, page 10.
11Registered Nurse Practice Standards (2019)Indicator 21, page 4 and Indicator54, page 7


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