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Electronic Devices and Social Media (Policy SON-04)

Download a Printable Version of Policy SON-04

Effective Date

Spring 2013

Last Revision Date


Responsible Party

All students, staff, and faculty in the SON.

Scope and Audience

All students, staff, and faculty in the SON.

Additional Authority

National Council of State Boards of Nursing Social Media Guidelines for Nurses, ANA Code of Ethics, BSU: Statement of Shared Values

1. Policy Purpose

Personal electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets offer the opportunity to efficiently utilize clinical resources and communicate with other health care professionals, classmates, and faculty. Prompt and accurate communication is needed to ensure patient safety and delivery of quality care. Used properly and according to policy, electronic devices can assist in achieving positive patient outcomes. However, to maintain patient and agency privacy as well as safeguarding your electronic reputation, it is important to understand and demonstrate electronic professionalism.

The Personal Electronic Device Guidelines for Boise State University School of Nursing (SON) are used in conjunction with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Social Media Guidelines for Nurses

2. Policy Statement

Handheld Devices in the Clinical Setting

All faculty, staff, and students will adhere to agency policy regarding the use of electronic devices in the clinical setting. All students are fully responsible for following all regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines in the clinical or other settings.

Personal health identifiers (PHI) must be removed from any patient data collected on electronic devices. Confidentiality further extends to families, healthcare workers, and organizations. Additionally, students must use a password to protect access to information on their electronic device. This password must be kept confidential and will not be shared with others.

Using electronic devices for personal, non-school related functions is strictly prohibited.

Using Social Media Sites

On-line social networking refers to a community of individuals where people can connect and communicate with others via the internet. Examples of social networking sites include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and personal blogs. It is important to remember that information posted on the internet or phone is often obtainable by others regardless of privacy settings and after it has been removed by the original poster.

The SON highly recommends that students refrain from posting any photos, personal information, or any other materials you would not want to be seen by classmates, faculty, staff, or potential employers.

Students are also strongly urged to refrain from posting insulting, disrespectful, disruptive, or disparaging comments on social media. Professional standards in nursing require nurses to work with people of many different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. This requires the utmost professionalism in communicating with the public.

Nursing students must adhere to the Boise State University Statement of Shared Values, the Boise State University Student Code of Conduct, the American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics, and other similar codes which include policies governing veracity (truth telling) and non-maleficence (do no harm). These codes and standards can be applied to classroom and hallway discussions, virtual learning environments, text messaging, and on-line social networking sites.

The SON encourages all nursing students to read the “White Paper: A Nurse’s Guide to the use of Social Media” published by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. White Paper: A Nurse’s Guide to the Use of Social Media Additionally a pamphlet has been added by the NCSBN Use of Social Media

Professional Boundaries

On-line boundaries between nursing students and others should be maintained as they would in any other context. For more information, please review the School of Nursing’s Confidentiality Policy.

Device Hygiene

Like any tool used in the clinical setting, electronic devices can serve as a vector for the spread of infection. Students are encouraged to review the manufacturer guidelines for cleaning their device. General recommendations include the following:

  • Wash hands before using the device.
  • Store devices in a clean area.
  • Avoid setting devices down in any area that might be contaminated, e.g. laying the device down on bedside tables or bringing it into an isolation room.
  • Wipe down handheld devices using solutions recommended by manufacturer or per agency policy.

Related Information

National Council of State Boards of Nursing Social Media Guidelines for Nurses

ANA Code of Ethics

BSU: Statement of Shared Values

CHS: None

SON: Confidentiality (Policy SON-03)

Last Review Date


Revision History

Spring 2013, July 2020, August 2020, 4/1/2022