Improper Facebook conduct could see nurses struck off
Nurses in the UK face being struck off if they are found to have befriended patients on the social networking site Facebook.
Health workers have been warned by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) that they should not discuss their work online or share sensitive information or pictures with their Facebook friends.
The Council has claimed it is “increasingly receiving enquiries about online conduct” which has prompted investigations into nurses’ Facebook activity and has already led to some being removed from the NMC register.
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Estimates suggest that over half of the 660,000 registered NMC nurses have profiles on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Newly issued advice is now guiding nurses on their online behaviour.
The NMC is advising that nurses should not send or accept friend requests for patients and says this rule applies even after their care has ended.
These developments come after a community phsyciatric nurse was founded to have entered into “an inappropriate relationship with a patient” and was subsequently struck off the NMC register.
“The NMC is committed to public protection and ensuring nurses and midwives make the welfare of those in their care their first priority at all times,” said the Chief Executive of NMC, Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes.
“I would advise nurses and midwives to exercise caution when using social networking sites. They could risk their registration if they share sensitive information, make inappropriate comments, or befriend patients online.”