A license to practice nursing in the State of Indiana is a privilege, and not a right. To qualify for and practice as a professional nurse an individual must complete specific educational requirements and successfully pass a national licensing examination. A nursing license is required to practice nursing and must be valued and protected.…[entire article ]
“Advocating for patients is within [nursing’s] mission,” according to Susan Perkins, MSN, a nurse practice consultant who teaches in the nursing program at the University of Phoenix® Main Campus. She stresses that nurses should ask patients open questions to help determine their specific needs, and then go to bat for them when necessary. But sometimes, circumstances can make patient advocacy difficult, says Lorie Brown, JD, a registered nurse and practicing attorney specializing in health … [entire article ]
Brittney Wilson, RN, BSN
Technology and social media have added many new benefits as well as many new challenges to the nursing profession. On the one hand we now can access patient data and chart on patient care more quickly and easily than ever and we have access to a nearly limitless online support system of nurses. However, on the other hand we now could accidently share protected health information (PHI) over social media in just a few clicks of a mouse. Because of this, nurses need to be very aware that with great power come great responsibility and social media and technology should be used fully, wisely, and cautiously.
But don’t start shaking in Dansko’s just yet. There’s no need to fear technology or social media. You just have to be smart about it. Every action you make should be analyzed to consider if it’s in the best interest of the patients you serve and whether it could violate any laws or your state nurse practice acts.
The following are a few tips to help you avoid making mistakes with social media and technology and in the process protect your nursing license.
Make Sure Your Mobile Device Is Encrypted
There are many laws in place to protect patients and their private health data. This means that mobile devices, like laptops, that you use for work and contain PHI must be encrypted. This way if they are lost or stolen the information cannot be accessed by the thieves and you and your organization won’t be facing costly fines and burdensome media attention.
Don’t Share HIPAA Protected Data
I know nurses get tired of hearing about HIPAA but it’s really important to always keep it at the forefront of your mind. Violating HIPAA can be as simple as revealing the date of service and location of patient care. There are 18 patient identifiers that are off limits. Something innocent seeming like a patient’s age can even be an identifier (if they are over 90). If you aren’t careful you can share information that can bring you costly penalties and may even bring you up for review by the nursing board.
Don’t Disparage Your Profession Or Your Boss Via Social Media
Nursing needs to be critiqued. There are plenty of issues that need to be highlighted so we can find solutions to the problems. But constantly being negative and disparaging your entire profession, your state nursing board, or your boss are not the best approaches to enacting positive change. On the one hand it could get your fired and if you take it to the extreme and boss-bash, nursing-board-bash, or patent-bash the board of nursing could question your mental health or even worse.
Using These New Tools
Technology and social media should be seen as a tool to better provide nursing care, not as a hindrance. There are many wonderful things that technology can do for nurses and patients but nurses have to make sure they are doing their due diligence when it comes to using these new tools.
Brittney Wilson, RN, BSN, also known as The Nerdy Nurse, is a Clinical Informatics Nurse practicing in the Atlanta, Georgia area. In her day job she gets to do what she loves every Brittney Wilsonday: Combine technology and healthcare to improve patient outcomes. She can best be described as a patient, nurse and technology advocate, and has a passion for using technology to innovate, improve and simplify lives, especially in healthcare.Brittney is the author of The Nerdy Nurse’s Guide to Technology. She is a social media influencer and blogs about nursing, technology, healthcare, parenting and various lifestyle topics at thenerdynurse.com.
I’m always interested in hearing advice from other nurses on how those in our profession can protect our license. Every nurse I have represented has said to me, “I never thought I would appear before the Board.” But “I don’t know” is not a defense.
I have my way to teach nurses how to protect their license but it is always a privilege to open our eyes and hear other people’s thoughts on the topic. I have been honored to review blogs from other people regarding their thoughts on license protection.
The first is from “RNEvolution” called “Protecting Your License.” at http://www.rnevolution.com/protecting-your-license/. This article offered very sage advice from the writer’s father, a retired orthopedic surgeon to another physician, on how to protect your license. The same will apply for nurses. She discussed six points which are so true.
- Trust your hunches. Your gut is always correct.
- If a patient makes you nervous, be careful. I always say friends don’t sue friends.
- The thought is the indication. Take action because your thought is there for a reason. Do not second guess yourself.
- Document, Document, Document. If it was not documented, it was not done.
- Listen to your patients.
Another nurse’s take on how to protect your nursing license was from Erica McDonald, “The Self Employed Nurse.” At http://www.selfemployednurse.com/2014/03/20/protect-nursing-license/M Erica talks of how new nurses who enter the workforce, work hard at protecting their nursing license but, as time passes, become more relaxed. One of the most important points that she makes is to stand in your power and say “no!” She says recipes for disaster include nurses who work overtime when they’re dead on their feet and who work short-staffed.
She also made the point that you can always get another job but you can’t get another license. Your license is your livelihood and it is so important to protect it.
Lastly, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Jamie Davis of “The Nursing Show” on license protection. http://www.nursingshow.com/2014/02/14/nurse-lorie-brown-on-protecting-your-nursing-license/ I now get the opportunity to interview Jamie during our telesummit “Five Days To Nursing Empowerment.”
If you would like to hear more from successful nurses on the opposite end of protecting, that of empowerment, click here to sign up for participation in THE FIVE DAYS TO NURSING TELESUMMIT, a free week-long event for education, inspiration and motivation in the nursing profession.
I hear it from so many nurses: “I’m going to quit nursing because…” That open-ended statement can be filled with the doctor’s administration, my co-workers, working odd shifts, mandatory overtime, too many holidays, and the list can go on and on.
However, before you quit nursing, ask yourself one question: “WHY did you go into nursing in the first place?”
Many of us in the profession have had a calling from a very young age. We love the job of being a nurse and taking care of patients. If you had that calling, how will that desire be fulfilled?
Before you make such a decision, I would invite you to be part of the solution rather than the problem. It may be the environment in which you are working is not conducive to your needs. Are you a fast-paced person? Maybe an ICU or emergency room setting would be your best fit! Do you like things to be predictable? Maybe then that would be in long term care.
Nursing is the most diverse profession in the world. There certainly is an environment that would meet your needs. Just because you don’t feel fulfilled in one setting doesn’t mean that another setting won’t fulfill you. If you’ve tried to work in different settings and still are not fulfilled, I invite you to look at the reasons why you’re not fulfilled. That’s because the situations could possibly follow you into a different career should you not recognize and look further into the reasons why you are not fulfilled. Sometimes fulfillment also needs to come from within. What needs of yours are not being met and where can you get those needs fulfilled?
If you are contemplating leaving nursing, I strongly encourage you to look at the reasons that brought you into the profession and how you will be fulfilled in another job later.