I have witnessed a great evolution of nursing technology in my 25 years in the profession. The internet was unheard of when I graduated nursing school in 1985. I have since completed my BSN and renewed my BCLS online. Technology allows us to share photos (flickr), videos (YouTube), bookmark (Digg), micro-blog (Twitter), blog (Blogger), socialize (Facebook), search (Google), and network professionally (NurseTogether, LinkedIn, Yahoo Groups). Some of the latest technology to impact nursing includes cell phones and social media. Today, over 900 hospitals have over 3,000 social media listings. Hospitals use mobile apps to address patient experience. The VA is allowing mobile devices to be used. GPS can track patients with dementia. Telemedicine is providing rural areas access to specialists. Medication reminder text messages improve compliance and texting programs also help people with diabetes manage their disease.
The most common technology in the workplace includes cell phones. Concern has centered on electromagnetic interference as well as infection issues. A recent study in the American Journal of Infection Control found that 43% of phones were contaminated with infective organisms. While a total ban may be unnecessary, the Emergency Care Research Institute does recommend banning cell phones in the OR and ICU settings. Patients may use cell phones to call loved ones or update Facebook status. Maintain confidentiality and follow your institution’s policy on photographing patients. In general, decline to be photographed or recorded by patients or visitors as you have no idea or control on how images will be used.
Social media facilitates communication and collaboration, provides news and information from professional and governmental agencies, and creates an educational forum. Nurses are embracing social media; 11% use Twitter; 77% have visited Facebook.
Potential employers and plaintiff attorneys may check social media sites for discriminating entries. Nurses have been disciplined or fired for inappropriate use of the Internet during work hours. While nurses and employers are concerned about privacy, social media users disclose detailed personal information. Common sense and the professional code of ethics can help protect the reputations of the nurse, patient, and profession. When using social media, differentiate between your personal and professional roles. Use the first person when participating in blogs or any social networking site to make it clear you are speaking for yourself, not your employer. Use good judgment and accuracy. Be respectful to colleagues, patients and competitors. Posts should be transparent, accurate, considerate, and respect copyright laws and work commitments.Never disclose confidential information. Consider adding a disclaimer to your personal sites. Use your personal email as the primary identification rather than your work email. Consult your employer if in doubt.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing issued Professional Boundaries: A nurse’s guide to the importance of professional boundaries. In it, nurses are advised to avoid professional situations in which the nurse also has a personal or business relationship. Guidelines for nurses also include the employer’s policy. When designing a policy, the employer should define “social media” and acceptable use in organization-sponsored social media sites. Policy should link related policies such as code of conduct. The employer should issue a monitoring statement as well as the disciplinary action plan.
Tips for using technology
- Use a PO Boxes for your personal address and link your phone number to the PO Box. If your professional information is available for the public, as in Georgia, link your professional license to the PO Box as well.
- When uploading documents always upload PDFs to prevent alteration. A free service to create PDFs is CutePDF.
- When using technology, choose a web based system to allow for easy access.
- When sending out e-mails to groups, always create and save lists. You will regret not doing so if you have to send out further e-mails.
- When using technology for remote meetings remember to archive the event.
- Always test equipment beforehand and have a contingency plan.
- For calendar/planner options consider Google Calendar which can be imbedded into a website.
- Coordinate your social media with Ping.
- When you need information, call 800 373 3411, click on whitepages, or text an inquiry to Google (46645).
- Create a free website at MySite.
- Monitor website traffic with Statcounter.
- Create a professional or support group with Yahoo Groups.
- For online translation try Babel Fish.
- Receive email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your query or topic with Google alerts.
- Edit videos with JayCut or One True Media.
- Conduct a survey with Survey Monkey.
- Make scheduling easy with Doodle or Agree A Date.
- Have a remote meeting with SKYPE.
For the health care consumer:
- Verify a website at Health on the Net Foundation.
- Create health test reminders for you or your patients at My Health Test Reminder.
- Create a genogram at My Family Health Portrait.
- Help patients keep loved ones up to date with Caring Bridge.
- Track health care expenses with Intuit Health.
- Get unbiased, fact based health information at Consumer Reports Health.
- Compare nursing homes in your area at Nursing Home Compare.
- Find state specific forms and upload to Google health at Caring Connections.
Links to other resources on the Internet are provided as services and aids to help you identify and locate other Internet sources that may be of interest, but are not intended to state or imply that DisceRNment, LLC or NurseTogether sponsors is affiliated with or associated with, or is legally authorized to use any trade name, registered trademark, logo or official seal, or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the links. Advice is general in nature, not based on the laws of any specific state or other jurisdiction but rather on general business principles, and should only be used after first consulting with an attorney or other expert knowledgeable in the laws of the applicable jurisdiction and the specific intended use. This information is for general purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, does not necessarily reflect the opinions of DisceRNment, LLC, NurseTogether or any of its employees or clients, and are not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up to date. You should not act or rely on this information without seeking the advice of an attorney.