OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside has fired five nurses for allegedly discussing patient cases on Facebook. Tri-Valley CEO stated that an investigation had uncovered that Nurses were using Facebook to personally discuss patients and that internal investigation yielded sufficient evidence to merit disciplinary action. That action involved terminating 5 nurses and disciplining a sixth. ______________________________________________
 How NEWS Affects YOU: Should You Delete Your Facebook Page?
No, but you should be careful about what you post, and not just because it could land you in hot water with your employer. It can impact your RN license. The one downfall with mediums like Facebook and LinkedIn is that in order for anyone to find and “Friend” you… you have to be you! There isn’t a benefit of autonomy for Facebook users and I think we often forget when we’re posting on a buddy’s wall, that post becomes “public”. My concern for the Five Facebook Nurses, is their discipline will not end with a termination. If I was a betting girl, I would put a few bucks on the chance that the BRN will get wind of this, and will go after their licenses, citing unprofessional conduct. One of our Newest Members had over a thousand Friends and as soon as the BRN contacted her, she pulled her entire Facebook account- not a bad idea in our opinion. Any one of her “friends” could have found a post where she joked about drug use or drinking and that would have been great fuel for the BRN fire of a drug investigation, now wouldn’t it? There is a safe place to talk anonymously, moderated by attorneys- where you can’t be traced, even if we wanted to. Its our Forum. Join “Sam”, “Pam”, “Staggerlee” me and others and feel free to discuss anything you’d like CONFIDENTIALLY!!!
Legal Opinion on the NEWS From the Desk of Founding Attorney, Paul Goyette:
How to Avoid Confidentiality Pitfalls While Using Social Media Opportunities: Social Media and web-based technologies have become embedded in our everyday lives. However, use of social media creates special dangers for those working in the health care field. Here are some tips to avoid confidentiality pitfalls:
•Never disclose the names of patients in any context;
•Do not disclose patient information or information regarding any aspect of a patient’s case. It will all be HIPPA protected;
•Be safe and error on the side of over-protection with patient case information;
•Be professional. Remember, whatever you post reflects directly on you and your career.