The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has issued guidance to registrants on responsible use of social media, saying:
“As with any online platform, social media needs to be used in the right way to protect you from difficult situations and abuse. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and TikTok encourage informality in their users, but healthcare professionals must always be aware that when using social media they need to hold themselves to the same standard of professionalism as they would in person.”
The guidance goes on to state:
Getting it right
Getting social media right is mostly a matter of having a clear purpose in mind for your posts, and a firm idea of who can see what you’re sharing. Once those are in place, it is much easier to determine what is professional and what, however well intentioned, crosses the line.
Do also remember that, while a situation can feel urgent, you very rarely need to react immediately on social media. If you are unsure of the tone of what you’re about to send, waiting and seeking advice will always be the wisest course of action.
Consider these three key points before you post:
The reason these areas are so important is because unfortunately social media rarely conveys the full context and intent of your words. Information spreads swiftly on the internet and will reach audiences you don’t always consider.
Thinking before you post, and ensuring you know the evidence that underpins the content you are sharing, or the impact it might have, is vital in stopping the spread of misinformation and its harmful effects. You can also help others if you see them posting misinformation. You should never shame them, but you can work to understand why they might have posted the content they have and explain the damage it could cause. If you can, take the discussion offline and out of the glare of social media.
Further advice and support
You can find further resources that might help you on our website: