Beware of Facebook!

Now you want to be a midwife, you need to think about how you are presenting yourself on Facebook and other social networking sites – Twitter, Tumblr etc.  When you start your course, your tutor will have a chat with the cohort (class) about what’s not acceptable for a midwife to do in public, e.g. drunken nakedness, or photos of same on Facebook.

Social networking is a big area of concern for Health Faculties right now, they are losing several students a year who make inadvisable comments on Facebook or Twitter. Basically, you can’t ever mention anything to do with work on a social network, as it’s considered to be the same thing as announcing it in public, even if your page is only visible to your family and close friends. The reason for that is to do with the fact that anybody can comment on your status and then it becomes  visible to anybody else. Once you have posted something on Facebook, it is considered to be in the public domain, and the same as shouting it in the middle of a crowded street, or emailing it to everybody in the world.

Think about your privacy settings on all your social networks, make sure they are set to the most restrictive settings, Friends Only for everything, before you apply to university. One reason for that is that employers have started to Google applicants, there is nothing to stop Universities from doing the same thing. Everything you’ve ever posted, going back several years, may still be accessible online to people searching your name. From now on, be very careful what you post, and think about your future career!

Google yourself, and see what comes up. It might surprise you! Lots of teachers and academics never have a Facebook profile, because of the difficulties of maintaining the proper professional distance from their pupils in this arena. The same problems apply to midwives, if your clients ever ask to ‘friend’ you, you can’t accept. There is a boundary between providing a service to somebody and becoming friends, which it is not professional to cross.

The NMC Code and Rules and Standards are useful when thinking about these issues, and they have also recently produced advice on social networking for nurses and midwives, if you’re concerned, have a read of this:

http://www.nmc-uk.org/social-networking-advice