Social media can have a positive impact on the healthcare community, including facilitating communication, collaboration, and knowledge distribution. It is important to remember however, that there are potential consequences if the content is interpreted by others as improper or use of these platforms is unprofessional.
Many facilities and companies have policies regarding social media use which often reflect their specific organizational expectations and values. As an individual who is associated with these organizations, it is important to follow these guidelines when conducting themselves in a recorded format.
Respiratory Therapists have a professional and moral obligation to conduct and represent themselves in a manner which maintains and enhances the reputation and perception of the profession to the public, such that trust, and confidence is built and maintained. The CRTO would like to remind RT’s that they must comply with the expectations of the profession, including legislative, and use their professional judgement to ensure that their social media posts align with the CRTO’s Standards of Practice and Commitment to Ethical Practice document.
Prior to posting, please consider these values:
Accountability and integrity: Your posts may be interpreted as a direct reflection of yourself, your organization, and your profession, and could be potentially damaging to reputations. Your professional and personal lives are intertwined. Reflect on your own intentions and the possible consequences.
Professionalism: As a regulated healthcare worker, your posted content may be received as medical or professional advice. Weigh the risks and benefits of the information you share. You are required to always uphold and maintain a professional image on your social media accounts. Failure to do so could be considered Professional Misconduct. About the Standards | CRTO Standards of Practice
Privacy and confidentiality: Breaches are often unintentional and inadvertent. Photos and content may hold identifying details that can reveal confidential information surrounding a patient, their family, or the organization. This can have severe consequences to not only yourself, but to the organization under privacy legislation. Confidentiality: Standard 11 | CRTO Standards of Practice
Patient/client boundaries: avoid dual relationships with patients/families.
Communicate respectfully! Your online profile should reflect the professional that you are.
For more information on how social media impacts on RT Practice, please refer to the following documents:
CRTO Standards of Practice
Standard 3.6: Refrain from making false, deliberately misleading or offensive statements, contrary to the interests of the public or the honour and dignity of the profession, whether orally or in writing;
Standard 8.6: refrain from making a representation about a remedy, treatment, device or procedure for which there is no generally accepted scientific or empirical basis;
Standard 12.7: Communicate electronically and through social media in a manner that respects therapeutic and professional relationships; and
Standard 13.26: Behave in a professional manner that presents a positive image of Respiratory Therapy to the community.
Does an RT who is diagnosed with HIV have a duty to report that to their patients?
While each person is entitled to their own philosophies and beliefs, as a regulated healthcare professional, there is a moral and professional obligation to be sensitive and cognizant of their audience. An RT is always held to a higher personal and professional standard and the information they post, may be held by others, to be valid and correct. If the information they post is viewed as contrary to Public Health guidelines, they are in violation of the CRTO standards (Standard 8 | Evidence Informed Practice).