How might employee use of social technologies impact the rest of the setting? How might it impact the care given to patients?

How might employee use of social technologies impact the rest of the setting? How might it impact the care given to patients?
As a nurse manager, it is imperative to understand how social technologies can impact productivity, peer-to-peer relationships, and patient safety within the workplace. Collaborating with HR to understand policies and the organization’s expectations related to the use of social technologies allows nurse managers to more effectively and appropriately integrate today’s social platforms while mitigating the occurrence of inappropriate behaviors.

For this week’s Discussion, your Instructor will assign you to one of the scenarios below. You will then use that scenario to investigate the social, ethical, and legal ramifications of social technologies.

Scenario One: You have recently been promoted to charge nurse for the day shift in your department. As a result of this promotion, your former peers are now reporting directly to you. You have been working in your setting for five years and consider many of these peers to be your friends. The way that one of your friends posts on social media sites has always bothered you. Many times, her comments are inappropriate, discussing her negative feelings about “ignorant superiors” and “annoying patients.” You also know that she frequently accesses these sites for extended periods of time while patients are waiting to be helped. Now that she reports directly to you, how do you address this? If your workplace does not have a formal policy on social media use, how can you adapt her behaviors to align with the expectations of nursing professionalism?

Scenario Two: It has been a little over a year since you accepted your nurse management position at a local pediatrics office. Since then, you have observed that many nurses seem uneasy when they work with one of your top physicians. You wonder why so many nurses are hesitant to work with such an experienced physician, particularly since most of your families rave about her dedication and caring nature toward their children. One day, while taking careful observation of your staff, you watch a nurse take out a patient chart and begin to text. The nurse becomes visibly upset as she sees you approach. When you question her about her behavior, she confides that the physician asks all nurses to text patient test results to her. The nurse admits that she feels uncomfortable sending private information via text message and only did so after multiple requests and increasing pressure from the physician. According to ethical and legal guidelines, who is at fault for this error in judgment? Since the nurse is the employee who sent the information, should action be taken against her, against the physician, or against both parties?

Scenario Three: A physician in your setting is an avid user of social media. On many of his personal pages, which include blogs about his various outdoor hobbies, he plasters pictures of himself and his friends out drinking. He also tends to post extreme comments about politics and the economy. Many in your setting joke with him about the intensity of his social life, to which he always comments, “Work hard, play hard.” Though his actions are not hurting the morale of the setting, and his posts are always before or after work hours, should anything be said to this physician? In the future, could your setting experience any ramifications because of his presence in social media?

Scenario Four: The environment in your critical care unit has always been somewhat hectic. However, over the last few months, the morale in your unit has noticeably deteriorated. You learn that nurses have begun to share mass e-mail chains complaining about unfair scheduling treatment. As the nurse manager, you have always tried your best to schedule staff fairly and even allow them to switch their shifts when personal problems arise. Since your effort to talk with staff individually does not seem to be working, you decide to hold a town hall meeting to openly discuss these issues. As you prepare the meeting announcement, you notice e-mails from your hospital administrator, chief operating officer and director of human resources. All are wondering why their inboxes have been inundated with e-mails from upset nurses in your unit. How do you respond to these e-mails? Furthermore, how should you address this situation to improve the morale of your unit?

To prepare

Review this week’s Learning Resources, focusing on the appropriate and inappropriate use of social technologies in the workplace.

Conduct further research on the social, ethical, and legal issues that result from inappropriate use of social technologies both inside and outside work hours.

For example, what laws protect the privacy and free speech of employees? How can workplaces legally safeguard themselves from various social technology issues such as defamation, misrepresentation, or misuse by individual employees? Of what legal ramifications, such as patient privacy and confidentiality laws, should managers be aware?

Reflect on the scenario to which you have been assigned.

How might employee use of social technologies impact the rest of the setting? How might it impact the care given to patients?

As the nursing manager who oversees the employee(s), what strategies (if any) would you employ to effectively address this situation?

Consider the social technology policies of your past or present workplace.

With regard to employee use of social media, do you believe the workplace policy is effective? Why or why not? As a nurse manager, could you use this policy to effectively address the behaviors in your assigned scenario?

Note: Before you submit your initial post, replace the subject line (“Week 11 Discussion”) with “Review of Case Study ___” identifying the number of the case study you were assigned.

Post an explanation of the possible social, ethical, and/or legal ramifications of your assigned scenario. Explain the policy your current or past workplace has on the use of social technologies and how effective you believe the policy is. If your workplace does not have a policy, explain what the accepted practices or expectations are for your setting. Has lack of policy led to any problems? Support your responses by referencing authentic examples from the workplace and this week’s Learning Resources as appropriate.

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