Crossing the line on Facebook
Thank you to the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia for permission to adapt their case study.
Harj and several workplace colleagues use a Facebook group to plan social events and share news about friends and family. Recently a colleague, Stephanie, posted several comments about clients.
Some of the comments are disrespectful, others are detailed. Harj believes they are unprofessional and make nurses look bad.
What should Harj do?
Harj thinks the best way to resolve the situation is to speak directly with Stephanie. She takes time to focus her thoughts, and consider the best approach. When she finds a private moment, she shares her concerns with Stephanie. Stephanie agrees that she crossed the line and promises to be more thoughtful in the future.
A few weeks later, Harj is upset to see that Stephanie has posted several new, derogatory comments about a client. She's concerned that Stephanie’s comments could have a direct and negative impact on clients and the trust others have in the team.
What do the standards say?
The CARNA Practice Standards for Regulated Members outlines the expectations for registered nurses and their responsibility for protecting and promoting a client’s right to autonomy, respect privacy, dignity and access to information. RNs are also responsible for reporting unprofessional conduct to the appropriate person, agency or professional body.
Harj has already taken action by talking with Stephanie. As difficult as it will be, she knows the next step is sharing her concerns with her manager.
Taking action can be challenging
Harj copies and prints the most recent posts, including dates and times. She meets with her manager and shares her concerns, including her previous conversation with Stephanie. She also tells Stephanie that she has met with their manager.
Stephanie is upset and worried that others will find out. Harj tells her she will not discuss the situation with their colleagues; the issue is now between Stephanie and their manager, however, she will bring it forward to their professional body if Stephanie continues to act unprofessionally. Harj is comfortable with her decision, and puts the incident behind her.
Postscript: Stephanie resolved the concerns with her manager. Even though she deleted her posts from the group’s wall and closed her Facebook account she knows the information can be recovered or may have been saved or shared by others. The manager sent out a memo reminding staff that their obligations to safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of clients applies on social media, as well as in all other areas.
Disclaimer: Our case studies are fictional educational resources. While we strive to make the scenarios as realistic as possible, any resemblance to actual people or events is coincidental.