Exploring public perspectives of e-professionalism in nursing

Ryan, Gemma; Jackson, Jessica and Cornock, Marc (2019). Exploring public perspectives of e-professionalism in nursing. Nursing Management, 26(6)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7748/nm.2019.e1870

Abstract

E-professionalism is a common term used to describe the behaviours of nurses and healthcare professionals in the online environment. There are a range of professional guidance documents that describe being professional online but there is little research into the perspectives of patients and the public.

This mixed-method critical realist study aimed to explain how the public make decisions about what is e-professional. It used five ‘real life’ vignettes for the purposes of discussion in focus groups (n=8) and a survey (n=53).

Participants felt that a nurse was entitled to a personal life, freedom of speech and promotion of causes the nurse believes to be important even if this was not aligned to their own attitudes. Profanities against anyone were unanimously rejected as acceptable.

The public make decisions based on a range of complex factors: social/individual values, attitudes and beliefs and an ethical component about the ‘intent’ of behaviours that influences the public perspective. An evidence-based approach to e-professionalism is discussed.

This study concludes with 'Media8', eight top tips drawn from a theoretical evidence-base for nurses and the nursing profession about how to ‘be’ and e-professional and manage their social media profiles.

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