Unethical internet behaviors, in any sense of the subject, reflect negatively on the individual and can have negative implications for their academic, personal, and professional lives. It is no secret that what is exhibited on the internet cannot be deleted and can be used as a tool for determining a person’s character even if these behaviors are not typical of their daily routines. However, in the health care industry, unethical internet behaviors can have negative implications that reach beyond one’s personal reputation. In fact, these behaviors can lead to the end of a career and include legal and financial retributions.
One of these behaviors would be to break HIPAA laws when referring to an incident that happened during a shift. According to Denecke et al. (2015) patient confidentiality and privacy must be preserved at all cost and, even if the health care provider does not directly name the patient, any identifiable information could lead to a breach of that confidence. This could be as simple as a nurse mentioning a patient who arrived at a specific time. If another individual recognizes that their associated had an appointment at the same time, then the information shared would be in violation of HIPAA. Instead, it is best to keep all information about patients private and outside of the scope of social media (Denecke et al., 2015).
Another unethical behavior that has been identified among nurses is to provide medical knowledge beyond their scope of practice. According to Anderson and Guyton (2013) it is normal in today’s society for information seekers to ask questions about their health to individuals who are in the health care profession. However, Dyer (2001) warns that the assumption of accuracy may be considered as health care advice and therefore makes the professional accountable for the information. As a nurse is directed to not practice outside of the scope of the licensure, then this behavior would have negative implications.
- Anderson, S. C., & Guyton, M. R. (2013). Ethics in an age of information seekers: A survey of licensed healthcare providers about online social networking. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 31(2), 112-128.
- Denecke, K., Bamidis, P., Bond, C., Gabarron, E., Househ, M., Lau, A. Y. S., … & Hansen, M. (2015). Ethical issues of social media usage in healthcare. Yearbook of medical informatics, 10(1), 137.
- Dyer, K. A. (2001). Ethical challenges of medicine and health on the Internet: a review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 3(2).