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Negligent Nurses on Social Media | Medical Internet Ethics
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Negligent Nurses on Social Media | Medical Internet Ethics

Be careful where you get your information--especially on-line.

I follow many nurses on Facebook and am appalled by their lack of ethical social media stewardship.  One nurse in particular with 16,000 followers uses Facebook as a forum to discuss health issues and natural remedies.  She posts biased, unsupported propaganda  and does not moderate comments that are misleading or suggest unsafe treatments.

I would like to believe that all nurses practice within their professional scope, have advanced critical thinking skills, and convey medical information in an ethical manner.  As more nurses become active with social media I am seeing how many of them do not meet these criteria.  I have been nursing’s biggest cheerleader and I’m profoundly disappointed in what I am witnessing on the internet.

Registered nurses must be sensitive to the power they have with regard to influencing health decisions.  We are all potential wellness guides for our friends, families, patients, and now millions of internet users who have access to our public on-line commentary.  I am overwhelmed with the negligence shown by my cohorts and wish I could apologize on their behalf.  But I can only continue to be transparent on social media and continue to provide sound information based on empirical data.

If you are a nurse, I ask you to be cognizant of your responsibility as a medical professional and if you are a health consumer, I encourage you to be prudent with whom you trust on the internet.


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The nurse who runs this Facebook page is irresponsible for not moderating these comments.  Do you know how much broccoli you have to eat to lower blood pressure?  And low salt is rarely a problem because salt actually causes hypertension and atherosclerosis.  I could go on and on for days and so could the nurse who hosts this page.  It is probably the very reason she chooses to ignore the comments.


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  • Avatar deanna says:

    No one reads these lame nurse forums for real health or nutrition tips anyways. Sorry but nurses are not savvy about nutrition and no one considers you to be a media savvy and health promotion forum. Most nurses are best at hanging bags of heparin, charting quickly, multitasking, office politics, and most have very little knowledge of or interest in savvy Web health advice.

    • Avatar Nurse Gail says:


      I started this blog when I started my concierge nursing business because I wanted my clients and their families to get a better sense of my professional values and my passion for health and wellness. It has grown into something larger than its original intent because people beyond my clients were interested. I then started graduate school at NYU and began writing a health column for the student blog. And guess what? My column got tons of hits and the Office of Health Promotion at NYU offered me a job. My blog continued to get recognition and followers as well. The numbers show that people really are interested in reading what I share.

      But you are right. Most nurses are not well suited for writing or engaging on the internet. So, in April I started looking for very special nurses who embody the same health and wellness ethic that I do. And you know what? I found them! Together we are creating a health promotion forum with the support of business, tech, and nursing leaders.

      The new will be many things to many people. Some of our nurse writers will use it to build their resume. Some will use it as advertising for their private practices or businesses. Some will write simply because it feels good to share or be a part of a collaborative effort.

      But our health information will be valid and reliable. We will be editing content and mediating comments carefully. The site will reflect the true spirit of nursing and professionalism.

      I hope you will continue to check in and monitor our progress.

      Nurse Gail

  • Staying within scope of practice is very important. Every state varies a little, and it is important for every nurse to understand what their state requires. Some require documentation of certain courses or programs. I love being a Wellness Coach. Nurses do carry weight with their thoughts. Diagnosing and prescribing treatment isn’t one of those “in scope” practices, unless they are NP’s.

    • Avatar Nurse Gail says:

      I agree Joyce. There is an added problem (in every state) that the public has no idea what a nurse’s scope of practice is and they don’t understand the difference between an NP or LPN. So as nurses we need to make that very clear. Thank you for you comment.

  • Avatar Joan says:

    Great advice as our profession ventures more into the realm of social media. The public repeatedly demonstrates that they trust us , and with that trust we must be careful. Looking forward to following your journey.

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