After chatting with @AgencyNurse earlier this week about the revised draft NMC Code which is now available for consultation, an ongoing twitter conversation has developed about point 114, relating to social media. Today @anniecoops has blogged sensibly about her response to the draft (you can read it here) and so I thought I would add my thoughts.
The draft NMC Code states ‘You must ensure that you use social networking sites and other forms of electronic communication responsibly and in line with our guidance, in particular by not referring to employers, colleagues or past or current people you have cared for’
As a nurse, a nurse lecturer and a fitness for professional practice investigator and panel member at my place of work, I have seen a number of cases involving social media, and so like many others I welcome the inclusion of social media in the Code. Unfortunately, if this point remains as it currently stands, the progression and development of social media in nurse education and nursing will be terribly compromised. I am currently working hard with my colleagues to teach our student nurses how to remain professional online and utilise social media for their personal and professional development. We are doing this through partnership curation of a university twitter account, a university wordpress site and university Facebook pages. If the point remains that we cannot refer to employers and colleagues, I predict that our student nurses and registered nurses will become ever more wary of using social media, and indeed decide not to utilise it all. This would be a tragedy and a huge step backwards. So please NMC, consider this carefully because nurses are trusted with so many things, why not trust them with social media? If we are to develop professional networks and relationships using social media, how can we not refer to employers and colleagues? We need to be open, transparent and honest.
I suggest that the words are changed to ‘You must ensure that you use social networking sites and other forms of electronic communication responsibly and in line with our guidance. When using social networking sites registrants must only refer to their employers or colleagues to develop professional networks and create learning and development opportunities. Registrants should respect the confidentiality of people they have cared for previously and those they care for currently.’
All registrants need to respond to the consultation. Please take the time to do so.