Depending on the CNA training you received, you may or may not have been warned about the dangers of social media. While some CNA training classes are updated regularly, there are still some that may be a bit behind the times. Although you will have a section on patient confidentiality in your CNA training materials, it’s important (actually it’s VITAL) to go over some of the things that a simple update on Facebook or Twitter can cause. Here’s a breakdown of the actual laws governing social media and patient confidentiality laws:
Are You Disclosing Too Much?
Today’s top social media avenues include Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. There are also plenty of medical forums, blogs and chat rooms that some medical professionals frequent. These can be extremely useful both during and after CNA Training. Becoming friends with other nurse’s can help you to compare ideas, share information, and cause you to become better at what you do, –unless you share too much.
Avoiding Social Media Mistakes After CNA Training
Any patient information gained during treatment must be kept absolutely private. This should be obvious. But what if you snap a photo of yourself taking a patient for a walk in the hospital courtyard on a beautiful day? It shows that you love your job and take care of your patients. That’s good, right? Wrong. By sharing a photo that includes a patient, you are already committing a crime. Even the fact that a patient has been admitted to the facility falls under confidentiality laws. Never share photos that include your patient, their possessions, their name, or their chart information. You can be immediately discharged from your job for this. Not a great start after all that hard work during your CNA training, is it?
Here are a few real life events that had grave consequences to the medical professionals involved:
- Two nurse’s independently snapped photos of a very strange patient x-ray and posted them on Facebook without the name of the patient. The media was tipped off by yet another CNA and the stories were put together, ending up in the newspaper. All three parties were fined, fired, and lost their careers shortly after their CNA training.
- A nursing home worker in a dementia facility received an instant message with a photo of a patient’s nude backside. The nurse thought it was amusing and since the patient couldn’t be identified, she forwarded it to several other staff members. Soon enough, supervisors and the media became aware of the situation and the facility was placed under investigation and a sex-crime lawsuit was launched.
- A new nurse, right out of CNA training, obtained permission from a patient to photograph his injury. She shared the photos for learning purposes on a medical forum. Although the patient was not identified, the nature of the injury made his identity clear and this nurse was disciplined.
- A student in CNA training was working for the day in the pediatric unit. While there, she snapped a photo of a toddler fighting cancer and posted it to her Facebook page expressing how excited she was to be starting a new career with so much purpose. The CNA was found to be in violation of HIPPA, was expelled, and the CNA training program could no longer use the pediatric unit for training.
Although advances in technology has transformed the way we do things and share information, CNA training should include the realities and dangers of social sharing.
Don’t risk all the hard work and effort you put into your CNA training by making mistakes with social media.