School of Nursing

Social Media Policy


The UH Hilo School of Nursing supports the use of social media to reach audiences important to the University such as students, prospective students, faculty and staff. The University presence or participation on social media sites is guided by university policy. This policy applies to School of Nursing students who engage in Internet conversations for school-related purposes or school-related activities such as interactions in or about clinical and didactic course activities. Distribution of sensitive and confidential information is protected under HIPAA and FERPA whether discussed through traditional communication channels or through social media.

General Information

Social media are defined as mechanisms for communication designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media is commonly thought of as a group of Internet-based applications that are built on the ideological and technological foundations of the web that allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content. Examples include but are not limited to LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Second Life, Flickr, blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds,, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace.

Reference resources should be used to clarify the nurse’s role and responsibilities. Please review the National Council State Boards of Nursing’s (NCSBN) White Paper: A Nurse’s Guide to Use of Social Media and the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Principles for Social Networking and 6 Tips for Nurses Using Social Media (1/2012).

While this policy may need to be modified as new technologies and social networking tools emerge, the spirit of the policy will remain the protection of sensitive and confidential information. Social media often spans traditional boundaries between professional and personal relationships and thus takes additional vigilance to make sure that one is protecting personal, professional, and university reputations.

As students you will want to represent the University and the School in a fair, accurate and legal manner while protecting the brand and reputation of the institution.

When publishing information on social media sites remain cognizant that information may be public for anyone to see and can be traced back to you as an individual. Since social media typically enables two-way communications with your audience, you have less control about how materials you post will be used by others. As one person remarked, “If you wouldn’t put it on a flier, carve it into cement in the quad or want it published on the front of the Wall Street Journal, do not broadcast it via social media channels.”


  • Protect confidential, sensitive, and proprietary information: Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the university, staff, students, clinical facilities, patients/clients, or others with whom one has contact in the role of a UH Hilo School of Nursing student.
  • Respect copyright and fair use. When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the university. For guidance, visit the University’s Libraries site or seek consultation through the Copyright Office, Libraries.
  • Do not use University of Hawaiʻi or UH Hilo School of Nursing marks, such as logos and graphics, on personal social media sites. Do not use UH Hilo’s name to promote a product, cause, or political party or candidate.
  • Use of the School of Nursing marks (logos and graphics) for School sanctioned events must be approved (posters, fliers, postings) by administration.
  • It is expected that during clinicals use of PDAs and other devices employed for social media will be used only as authorized by faculty. If a PDA is combined with a cell phone, it is expected that the cell phone aspect of the device is silenced.
  • No personal phone conversations or texting are allowed at any time while in patient/client areas or in the classroom. If the student needs to respond to an emergency text or phone call during class, the student is asked to leave the classroom and respond as deemed necessary.
  • Use of computers (PDAs, Notebooks, etc.) during class shall be restricted to note taking and classroom activities. Use otherwise is distracting for not only the student involved in the activity but those in the immediate area/vicinity.
  • No student shall videotape professors or fellow students for personal or social media use without the express written permission of the faculty or fellow student. At NO time shall patients/clients be videotaped or photographed without written permission of the patient/client and of the facility.
  • Be aware of your association with UH Hilo in online social networks. If you identify yourself as a student, ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself to colleagues, clients, and potential employers. Identify your views as your own. When posting your point of view, you should neither claim nor imply you are speaking on UH Hilo’s behalf, unless you are authorized to do so in writing.
  • HIPPA guidelines must be followed at all times. Identifiable information concerning clients/clinical rotations must not be posted in any online forum or webpage.
  • Ultimately, you have sole responsibility for what you post. Be smart about protecting yourself, your and others privacy, and confidential information.


  • There is no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can turn up posts years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information, including deleted postings. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it’s wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear-headed. Think twice before posting. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, ask your faculty. If you are about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncertain, review the suggestions in this policy and seek guidance.
  • Future employers hold you to a high standard of behavior. By identifying yourself as a UH Hilo nursing student through postings and personal web pages, you are connected to your colleagues, clinical agencies, and even clients/patients. Ensure that content associated with you is consistent with your professional goals.
  • Nursing students are preparing for a profession, which provides services to a public that also expects high standards of behavior.
  • Respect your audience.
  • Adhere to all applicable university privacy and confidentiality policies.
  • You are legally liable for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others. Individual bloggers have been held liable for commentary deemed to be proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous or obscene (as defined by the courts).
  • Employers are increasingly conducting Web searches on job candidates before extending offers. Be sure that what you post today will not come back to haunt you.
  • Monitor comments. You can set your site so that you can review and approve comments before they appear. This allows you to respond in a timely way to comments. It also allows you to delete spam comments and to block any individuals who repeatedly post offensive or frivolous comments.
  • Do not use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, pornographic images, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the professional workplace.
  • You are responsible for regularly reviewing the terms of this policy.


  • Violations of patient/client privacy with an electronic device will be subject to HIPAA procedures/guidelines and consequences.
  • Students who share confidential or unprofessional information do so at the risk of disciplinary action including failure in a course and/or dismissal from the program.
  • Each student is legally responsible for individual postings and may be subject to liability if individual postings are found defamatory, harassing, or in violation of any other applicable law. Students may also be liable if individual postings include confidential or copyrighted information (music, videos, text, etc.).

_UH Hilo School Of Nursing Social Media Policy is adapted from Social Media Policy, Student Handbook of Purdue University School of Nursing