Discuss about the Nursing Professionalism and Code of Conduct.
A clear understanding of nursing professionalism as a nursing student is essential in providing the nursing students with quality and adequate professional action. The nursing professionalism enables nursing colleges to produce highly skilled nurses with sufficient standards, consistency and of high-quality care. The Australian national healthcare system has established quality and professional bodies that work along the healthcare to set guidelines, standards and codes of nursing practice to provide the best possible care to the Australian patients. These formed bodies’ guides the professionals in nursing institutions to teach the students on what nursing professionalism pertains. It has been proved that a secure connection between professional behaviours and competence and quality care are the basis of the high standard of healthcare services provided to the patient. Dhai stated professionalism as the act of being a good-hearted healthcare practitioner (Chretien & Kind, 2013).
To define the meaning of professionalism, there is a need to understand the relationship and implications of the concept "professional" and "profession". According to the Australian Consumer Competition Commission (ACCC), the word profession means a disciplined band of people who obey the high ethical qualities and with special skills and standard knowledge through education and training and exercise these skills in the interest of people. The concept "professional" is derived from a person who is capable of demonstrating skilful and competent behaviours according to his or her profession. Thus professionalism can be defined as the education capacity of a nursing practitioner with the reliable code of conduct, being organised to provide a required service, having experience in nursing practice, having proper codes of ethics and being acknowledged by the Australian government with licensure (Schmitt, Sims-Giddens & Booth, 2012).
The use of social media by the health professionals should adhere to the national boards of code of ethics, National laws and professional conduct and guidelines. A registered health practitioner is supposed to abide to the following legal issues while posting information related to hospital matters on social media: the information should not be biased and should be evidenced based on formal context. The registered health practitioner has so comply with professional rules while posting information on the media. The information should not be from unsubstantiated claims. The information should comply with privacy and confidence obligations that does not harm or concern the patient in terms of identity, discussing the patient and picture posting procedures.
Compliance with the privacy and confidentiality obligations in relation to use of social media in the healthcare is one of the legal issue demonstrated in the case at Sturt hospital. The use of social media by health professionals for example nurses, physicians and other clinical care providers in relation to the patient’s condition can result to both positive and negative effects to the patient. Some of the positive implications for the use of social media are where a health professional may use the media to share or find health information concerning the patient's medical condition, to network or communicate with other colleagues and trainees and engage in health advocacy. The use of social media can be helpful also when one is marketing their practice or when disseminating their research. The use of social media may be brought negative impact to the patient, family members and the community when a health official shares information of a patient through the social media without his/ her consent. Sharing of the patient's report on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social networking site is unethical, and it's against the laws and guidelines of the healthcare in Australia. It is essential as an enrolled nurse or a registered nurse to educate other nurses or nursing student on the unethical behaviours in the nursing field to abide by those rules that govern the Australian healthcare system (Courtney, 2013).
In the case study where at Sturt hospital where Frankie, a nursing student, shared the photo of the patient's wound condition on the social media is violation of the nursing professionalism governance and rules. Another issues that arose from the use of social media by Frankie is the act of posting the photo of the patient's wound in which the other patients were captured unknowingly without his or their consent. It was essential to educate Frankie on the impacts of using of social media and how it could sound to the patient or his family. Taking the photo on the patient's wound was okay as Frankie had consulted him, but she did not ask before sharing the picture in the social media. According to the principle 3 of cultural practice and respectful relations for nurses, Frankie was disrespectful where she friended the patient and shared his photo and when asked she argued that it was to inform the patient's wife. Frankie did not value the patient's dignity because sharing his photo breached the privacy and confidentiality laws. It was contrary to the nursing guidelines and standards stated by Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).
Frankie did not consider the ethical model of principle 3 of cultural practice and respectful relationship. He violated the model based on the moral norms of the quality practice of nursing professionalism which prevents and takes into account the patients are foreseen and unforeseen implications and effects of that action. When the picture was published in such a way that the other patients or other people could identify him, it violated the ethical principle of patient confidentiality and privacy. According to the way Frankie posted the photo and wrote about it on the social media, it is never accepted as she used a disrespectful tone when she said that such a wound was the grossest thing which she had ever seen, to write a narrative about a de-identified patient. The Frankie's argument that she was addressing the patients would conditions as she is her friend was wrong as she used the wrong social media criterion of writing or posting the patients story in a public media. The intentions of a health professional to write, publish or share any information about the patient's conditions in the hospital are to stimulate the empathy or understanding without intending to harm the patient. The case of Frankie was unethical due to the way she responded after asked about the matter. She replied rudely explaining that what she does on social media should neither concern anybody nor be reported to anyone. She added that what she does outside the clinical placement is her own business. Frankie's explanation was contrary to the expectations of the code of conduct of nursing for professionalism. Although she was still a student, Frankie lacked the values of principle 3 of quality practice which state that a nurse should be safety-conscious, competent and someone who acts with compassion, kindness, provides safe services and high-quality care (Ventola, 2014).
The other legal issue that arose on the scenario at Sturt hospital is failure to comply with the professional obligations while posting or presenting information in the social media. The online friendship of the patient and the care provider should follow certain strategies and guidelines according to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Board regulations of code of conduct. The online association of health professional with the patient is can be of excellent benefits and can also bring problems if misused by either of them. Frankie's association with the patient was unethical as she used a lousy criterion when posting and writing about the patient's information on the social media. The way she addressed the issue of the wound on the photo reflected her evil intentions to harm or exploit the patients because it was public and the picture disclosed the patient's identity. Frankie lacks the code of conduct for nurses according to the principle 4 of professional behaviour for nurses. Preservation of one's professional boundaries concerning the use of social media is essential for the integrity of the nurse-patient relationship.
Some of the benefits of such social friendship create dual relationships and are essential on social issues like, financial and may lead to provision to the patient with compromised medical care. Nurse- patients' online friendship may also result to self-discloser problems that could menace the therapeutic relationship. Certain research has shown that patient-nurse relationship may not be helpful to the patient wherein some case may be interruptive influential. In some cases of social media networking sites, a health professional should limit his/her content and details to avoid therapeutically related risks (Reamer, 2013). A registered nurse or any health professional has to adhere to ethical guidelines of creating the friendship with patients in social networking site. Extending or invitations of request to patients is never advisable, and in fact, it may cause the patient to feel pressured into accepting the request as a result of the power difference in the relationship. Such a case may have applications as in the scenario of Frankie and the patient which is unethical to interact with a patient on social media just for social reasons. Another research which involved medical students, practicing physicians and residents' physicians, the majority of the respondents concluded that social media interactions with patients for patient- care or social reasons are very unethical (Blais, Hayes, Kozier & Erb, 2015).
Nursing professionalism requires an individual to be responsible for the patients' needs and provides the healthcare according to set standards of nursing practice. Medical advice is needed in a circumstance where a patient and care provider relationship exists, with careful discussions of probable risks of such form of communications, handling of emergencies and the response times which happens before health care interactions of health professionals with the patients. Registered nurses, clinicians and other healthcare managers should ensure use of nonverbal cues which carry significant meanings while delivering such messages regarding attitudes and feelings. Social media has been transmogrified communication in the healthcare of Australia. It is used on the full range in the healthcare system, and so health professional must be aware of the implications of the use of social media on professionalism, ethics, profession and relationships. Adherence to nursing professional, ethical, commitments and behaviour maintains firm foundations of peoples trust in a medical field and make it essential to incorporate social media successfully in the clinical care.
Blais, K., Hayes, J. S., Kozier, B., & Erb, G. L. (2015). Professional nursing practice: Concepts and perspectives (p. 530). NJ: Prentice Hall.
Chretien, K. C., & Kind, T. (2013). Social media and clinical care: ethical, professional, and social implications. Circulation, 127(13), 1413-1421.
Courtney, K. (2013). The use of social media in healthcare: organisational, clinical, and patient perspectives. Enabling health and healthcare through ICT: available, tailored and closer, 183, 244.
Reamer, F. G. (2013). Social work in a digital age: Ethical and risk management challenges. Social work, 58(2), 163-172.
Schmitt, T. L., Sims-Giddens, S. S., & Booth, R. G. (2012). Social media use in nursing education. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(3).
Ventola, C. L. (2014). Social media and healthcare professionals: benefits, risks, and best practices. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 39(7), 491.