The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn

How Could Social Media Use Lead to a Suspension of a License to Practice In Your Medical Profession?

While at work, an Alabama nurse posted information on her Facebook about her patients. While she did not mention any patient names specifically, she posted her place of employment, the unit she worked on, and enough particulars so that the patients could be identified. The Alabama Board also received complaints about the licensed nurse while off-duty. The Alabama Board of Nursing charged her with unprofessional conduct in her failure to respect or safeguard the patient's dignity, right to privacy, and confidential health information.

Pennsylvania has similar disciplinary provisions. Posting comments about patient care on Facebook or other social media sites could lead to Board review and possible sanctions.

Posting photos of a licensed medical professional who seems drunk or posting information about drugs he/she is taking raises public safety concerns. Moreover, the Pennsylvania licensing boards routinely discipline doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and other licensed professionals for any behavior that involves criminal charges. Remember, social media is publicly accessible.

We recently received a telephone call from a registered nurse who is being investigated after a complaint was filed against him. A photo was posted on his Facebook page which showed him in scrubs, in what looked like a hospital restroom, semi-clothed. This could very well be deemed unprofessional conduct by the Nursing Board. If someone complains about you to a healthcare board, there will be an investigation - even if the conduct occurs outside the scope of your job.

You should be very careful about what you post on Facebook, Twitter or any social media.

You should be very careful about posting any comments about patient care.

You should be very careful about posting any comments about partying or excessive drinking.

If you are a licensed professional arrested for any criminal charge, or contacted by a professional licensing board regarding unprofessional conduct, contact us before you speak with their investigator or agent.

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The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn
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Philadelphia, PA 19102

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