I have to say that I audibly breathed a huge sigh of relief this week when I read the Revised NMC Code of Conduct for Nurses & Midwives and saw that in it a common sense approach had been applied to social media. Of course we can all remember back in the summer, during the draft revised code consultation period being faced with Point 114 which stated:
“You must ensure that you use social networking sites and other forms of electronic communication responsibly and in line with our guidance, in particular by not referring to employers, colleagues or past or current people you have cared for”
I remember being quite astounded at reading this, my worries being that many nurses are starting use social media as part of their work and this stipulation would not allow for the further exploration of social media within nursing. At the time WeNurses held a Twitter discussion about the draft code, which the NMC took part in, some of the comments regarding Point 114 are outlined below:
I, like many others, also completed the NMCs online consultation form and expressed my views beyond 140 characters. I was concerned that Point 114 was very badly worded. I was so relieved to see that The NMC engaged and listened to registrants and clearly took action – the mention of social media in the new code is, in my humble opinion, spot on !
Social media is merely communication at the end of the day and we need to treat it as such and its important we are aware that our actions using any form of communication must remain professional at all times. I like this approach and I am glad that the NMC have chosen this wording. If social media is to become recognised for the mainstream communication it is then we need to stop singling it out – well done NMC.
Of course, we still have a few hurdles to jump through – I for one will be looking out for the new NMC Social Media Guidance that the Revised Code refers to and Revalidation details …. I hope that both of these things will reflect the same common sense approach to using social media in nursing.