Let’s face it, social media has integrated into daily life, changed the means of communication, and how we interact with others. However, that is not the worst. Deemed as the silent career killer, social media can influence how a future or current employer views you.
We are guessing you are here for the simple fact that you’re interested in knowing the protocols of social media etiquette and professionalism especially in the nursing field. With laws such as HIPAA, nurses are held to a higher standard than other social media users and need to understand what is appropriate to post–work related. It is not uncommon to see posts and tweets around someone’s employer or place of employment–good and bad. In this article, we are going to explore two social media topics: 1) social media use as a nurse and 2) social media use as a potential employee.
We suggest reading up on the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) 6 Tips for Nurses Using Social Media. Click here to view their article. Our Learner Advising and Life Resources (LALR) Department is equipped to help learners if there are questions, and our Career Services Department is ideal to meet with to review your social media pages before graduation. They are trained to spot social media “career killers” and have ways to help clean up your profile.
Social Media Use as a Nurse
As we just mentioned, nurses are held to a higher standard than other social media users. Just as a nurse is not allowed to share a patient’s information with another individual, a nurse shouldn’t post about it. There is a hard line of what is acceptable and not when it comes to nurses’ social media use. Nursing is the number one trusted profession. Simply posting about a rough day at work or the stress you felt with a patient may seem innocent, but tread lightly. To be safe, keep your feelings and anything related to a patient (and employer) out of your social media newsfeed.
Imagine posting about a troubling day at work and the outcome of a patient on your Facebook. Names left out. The patient’s condition not included. Just a quick post. Seems harmless. However, a friend on your page could know the patient personally or through another person, which may not be taken lightly when something is said or when the patient finds out. Disney had it right, “it is a small world after all.”
The AMA has set principles for social media that every nurse and nursing learner should be aware of. Again, we suggest checking out their quick article and tips. Click here to view the information and make sure to remember it.
Social Media Use as a Ready-to-Hire Candidate
Before we dive in too deep, we are often asked one question: why do I need to care about my social media pages? Well, hold on tight. We are about to throw some hard facts your way.
Majority of employers and recruiters scan candidates’ social media pages before sending the interview invitation. Scary to think that you may not be considered for a position that you have worked so hard for because your social media pages speak not highly of your character. Employers have become more invested in what employees post because employees represent their employer both while on and off the clock.
As walking billboards for their future employer, employees should care more about the status of their social media pages before and during the application process. You shouldn’t be surprised many employers look to social media to learn a bit more about a candidate. Can you guess the first social media channel they chose? It’s Facebook.
Facebook is the perfect platform for employers to learn more about a candidate, their interests, and more importantly their relationships with others.
Our Tips to Spruce Up Your Social Media Presence
Time to spring clean your social media pages. We don’t mean before your graduate, but now as a nursing learner. It is time to think of yourself as a professional nurse and portray yourself as one. Follow our tips below to clean up your pages.
- Review all your social media pages quarterly. You never know when a job will grab your interests. Keep your profiles up to date and take the time to analyze what you are saying about yourself on your pages.
- Review photo albums. Remove any photos that you do not want to have out in the public and untag yourself from photos that may taint your reputation. Photos do speak a thousand words, and looking at photos can tell an employer quite a bit about a candidate.
- Quickly read through your comments and posts on your page. Go as far back as you can to see if any posts could damage your professionalism. If you find any, delete the posts from your page. Like photos, what you post and the comments you make reflect you. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t want your mother seeing it, then it doesn’t need to be on our page.
- Interests and hobbies oh my! What makes Facebook a great first choice for employers is how the social media channel allows you to share your interests and hobbies. Take a gander at what pages you have followed, the topics you associated with, and the hobbies you shared. Could these interests and hobbies potentially stab you in the back? Well, if they can, trash them.
- Which one are you? Profile photos are important. Facebook is no LinkedIn, but having a profile photo that is of you–and only you–can help employers find you. And we need to mention the importance of having a tasteful photo. In terms of LinkedIn, your profile photo should be professional and a close head shot; we suggest a typical elementary-school type photo.
- Set post approvals. We have all been in the situation where a friend has tagged us in a photo or post that we aren’t too happy to be associated with. Fear no more. Facebook has a setting that any post to your page or a post with your name tagged needs your permission before being posted to your page or being tagged. Great setting that we rave about and can save you from unfriendly posts and photos.
- Get a LinkedIn page. A hot topic in today’s job market is the relevance of the old-fashioned paper resume and cover letter. Although the traditional style has not gone out of style, many jobs allow you to apply to a position with your LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn is basically an online resume that not only can be used to apply for jobs and showcase your education and skills, but LinkedIn is a great platform to network. Yes, nurses. You need to learn the art of networking.
- Join Nightingale’s LinkedIn network. Nightingale College’s presence on LinkedIn is active with connections to lead faculty for the College and alumni, and like-minded individuals interested in higher education and health care. By joining the College’s LinkedIn network, you will have access to faculty and alumni who can help you along nursing school and into the nursing profession. They also have the opportunity to be great resources for you when hunting for references. For example, you may find a graduate that is employed at a facility you have had your eye on after doing several rounds of clinicals. You enjoy the environment, the people, and the company. Using LinkedIn’s Career Insights for Alumni Tool, you are able to connect with the graduate and reach out to learn more about working at the facility.
What Story are You Telling
Think of what your story is? Why did you pursue nursing? What type of nurse do you hope to be?
This style of questions help you discover what your story is; the story you should share with future employers and the story that should transition to your online presence.