BACN Board Statement: Social media concerns

Dear BACN members

As BACN members we all hold in common a passion and belief in our industry and the welfare of our patients.

As Registered nurses we all have a common obligation to respect the opinions of others and, irrespective of individual feelings, to act accordingly as set out by our Code.

Whilst it is understandable that feelings may run high, it would be extremely unfortunate if we allow ourselves, even inadvertently, to breach the standards set out by the NMC. It is worth reminding ourselves of these standards:

You uphold the reputation of your profession at all times. You should display a personal commitment to the standards of practice and behaviour set out in the Code. You should be a model of integrity and leadership for others to aspire to. This should lead to trust and confidence in the profession from patients, people receiving care, other healthcare professionals and the public.

20 Uphold the reputation of your profession at all times

To achieve this, you must:

20.1 keep to and uphold the standards and values set out in the Code

20.2 act with honesty and integrity at all times, treating people fairly and without discrimination, bullying or harassment

20.3 be aware at all times of how your behaviour can affect and influence the behaviour of other people

20.5 treat people in a way that does not take advantage of their vulnerability or cause them upset or distress

Further, with reference to social media:

“Use all forms of spoken, written and digital communication (including social media and networking sites) responsibly.” (The Code, paragraph 20.10)

Nurses and midwives may put their registration at risk, if they act in any way that is unprofessional or unlawful on social media including (but not limited to):

• bullying, intimidating or exploiting people;

• inciting hatred or discrimination.We should accept that no individual has sought to compromise themselves or their colleagues in a way that would breach the Code.

We should equally accept that it is unwise to put it to the test.

The BACN are working hard with Government and with broad industry representation to achieve unity, clarity and direction across the industry as a whole. With this in mind the BACN Board would ask its members for patience whilst this is achieved.

In the meantime it is also worth remembering that differing opinions amongst all our respected colleagues can, and should be, a valuable and constructive thing.

Sincerely

Andrew Rankin

Vice-Chair

On behalf of Sharon Bennett, Chair and BACN Board.