Free «We Can but Dare We?» Essay

We Can but Dare We?

Whereas social media create many opportunities for professionals, the use of smartphones and social media network for non-work related purposes by employees presents a problem for many organizations. The nature of web media can create many risks for users as they post information without deep consideration that it threatens individuals’ privacy, and everything posted is traceable by a court of law. Especially, this issue is crucial in healthcare organizations, when nurses do web surfing while they are obliged to care for their patients. Househ (2013) has described the survey of about 4000 physicians that found that more than 90% of them use some form of media for personal reasons during work comparing to only 65 % of physicians who use them for professional activities, and approximately 30% of them participate in social networks. Professional and personal use of social media and smartphones at work grows. However, there are many supporters of such use by medical workers unless it does not interfere with their direct duties and intrude into a patient’s privacy. In this case, ethical approach is extremely important while discussing advantages and disadvantages of the social media use at work and whether such practice should be considered as bad and they should be abandoned completely.

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The nurse, as a main character of the case study, snaps photos of a celebrity during her night shift while he is asleep, receives a call from tabloid the Gossip Gazette, offering $20,000 for the photographs she has taken. While the nurse is in desperate need for money, will it be ethically justified if she sells those photos of the celebrity on condition that her identity would never be revealed? Resolving this ethical dilemma necessitates analysis in framework of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (National Association for Healthcare Quality, 2011) and HIPPA rules (2003) that give better understanding of rights and wrongs.

Ethical approach to all work undertaken is important for any business aiming at achieving success and gaining commitmet from its clients. Probably, it is even more crucial for healthcare organizations that access clients’ personal information. The reputation of a professional and a company depend on the facts of their involvement in unlawful and fraudulent activities. The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (NAHQ, 2011) fosters practicing the health profession with the dignity, integrity and honesty, encourages to respect all laws, and avoid participating in or concealing unethical, fraudulent, or deceptive activities. In ethical terms, medical professionals are expected to seek trust and confidence of all patients while promoting their right for privacy and keeping their confidential information to the fullest as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). HIPPA (2003) prohibits revealing the personal information about client in any case unless “(1) as the Privacy Rule permits or requires; or (2) as the individual who is the subject of the information (or the individual’s personal representative) authorizes in writing”. The use of phones and social media by medical personnel is regulated by “A Nurse’s Guide to Use Social Media” (NCSBN, 2011) and considered to be ‘a must-know’ for every practicing nurse to have guidance in controversial issues to avoid the deplorable situation.

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Many people are negative about the web surfing and smartphone use at work by nurses because they, as patients, fear that their personal information can be disseminated without their notice. Some disadvantages of social media and smartphone use should be considered. Firstly, “Social media use poses a real risk to patient’s privacy” (NCSBN, 2011) when a nurse lose a sense of caution while using the Web. Another particular problem with smartphones is that most people do not secure them by password or other safeguard software. Therefore, the threat of stealing all the information and picture, including a patient’s data, is a dark reality. Another 2013 survey revealed that 88.6% of medical workers used smartphones for work purposes, while oonly 39% of them password protected their devices, and nearly half of them used unprotected Wi-Fi networks (Parker, 2014). Consequently, this practice leads to the mismanagement of patients’ records, unprofessional and unethical conduct by a nurse. Inappropriate use of social media can cause violation of the state, federal, and HIPPA laws as well as misconduct of professional Code of Ethics, resulting in criminal and civil penalties for a nurse who faces personal liability for breaching confidentiality. Secondly, social media fosters ‘cyber bullying’ that affects health organization’s “team-based care, thus creating patient-safety ramifications” (NCSBN, 2011). Such cyber behavior can be as well punished with sanctions against a nurse for misconduct as a professional. Additionally, the usage of social media and smartphone at work creates distortion to primary work duties, distracting a professional from qualitative performance of job activities.

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On the other hand, proponents support social networking and smartphone use at work with a careful consideration of the Code of Ethics and HIPPA rules. One can identify the following advantages that promote telephone and social media usage as a useful tool for learning and development. Firstly, social media and smartphones foster professional connections, timely communication with patients and family members, promote education for healthcare professionals and information to customers. Househ (2013) provides a research result that “approximately 60% of physicians were found to favor interacting with patients through social media for the purpose of providing patient education and health monitoring, and for encouraging behavioral changes and drug adherence.” Secondly, social media encourages nurses to undertake journaling and reflective practice that “are recognized as effective tool in nursing practice” (NCSBN, 2011). Thirdly, social networking removes global boundaries between health practitioners, promoting creation of professional healthcare net communities and fostering the exchange of knowledge and experience.

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