National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine July-August 2010

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TOC_June 8/20/10 4:42 PM Page 2 Letter from the Council of Presidents many of us in recent years have joined social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter to connect with college classmates, share interesting articles we've come across with friends, and see photos of the grandkids. While these platforms can be a great way to stay in touch with many people at once, most of us may not realize that they also pose a unique threat to workers, and particularly registered nurses. As our article in this issue's news section explains, employers are monitoring and mining the wealth of personal information employees are publishing through these online networks and using that research to make hiring, firing, and disciplinary decisions. Hospitals may also be trolling social media sites as part of union busting campaigns. Registered nurses' use of these sites is complicated by their obligation to protect patient privacy under HIPAA, a duty that hospitals are interpreting very strictly. We have learned of and are fighting cases of nurses getting fired or targeted by their employers for what seemed like an innocuous comment or photo that they have posted to Facebook. In some cases, it was friends or coworkers who publicized the content. The bottom line? You never know who may be listening or watching. While we and many experts believe that hospitals are, for the most part, overreacting to employees' social network activity and are vigorously representing affected members, it may be wiser for the time being to err on the NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN pending) The Voice of National Nurses United, July/August 2010 Volume 106/6 is published by National Nurses United, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. It provides news of organizational activities and reports on developments of concern to all registered nurses across the nation. It also carries general coverage and commentary on matters of nursing practice, community and public health, and healthcare policy. It is published monthly except for combined issues side of caution and refrain from posting information about work. You'll also find a handy list of suggestions for using these networks to help you limit your exposure to prying eyes. Yes, please share this article with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers! On the flip side, one area where nurses' voices about their work is expanding is in book publishing. Every summer, we try to review any books we encounter about nursing, along with general healthcare titles nurses might be interested to read. This year, the common theme seems to be books featuring what registered nurses have to say, written by the RNs themselves. As the profession most trusted by the public, it makes sense that readers want to know our perspective on today's nursing and healthcare issues. Each review is relatively short and easy to digest while you're on a break or as a quick read before bedtime. And as usual, our news section is filled with exciting reports about RN advocacy around the country. Veterans Affairs RNs are closer to restoring some of their bargaining rights, RNs in Massachusetts, Maine, and Minnesota are fighting mightily against concessions, and nurses nationally are lobbying relentlessly for ratios. We hope you are enjoying your summer and recharging your minds, bodies, and spirits for all the great work we'll be tackling this fall. Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents in January and February, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to National Nurse, 2000 ™ Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement, fax (510) 663-0629. National Nurse™ is carried on the NNU website at For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. Please contact us with your story ideas They can be about practice or management trends you've observed, or simply something new you've encountered in the profession. They can be about one nurse, unit, or hospital, or about the wider landscape of healthcare policy from an RN's perspective. They can be humorous, or a matter of life and death. If you're a writer and would like to contribute an article, please let us know. You can reach us at EXECUTIVE EDITOR Rose Ann DeMoro EDITOR Lucia Hwang GRAPHIC DESIGN Jonathan Wieder COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Charles Idelson CONTRIBUTORS Gerard Brogan, RN, Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD, Jan Rabbers, Donna Smith, David Schildmeier, Ann Kettering Sincox PHOTOGRAPHY Jaclyn Higgs, Lauren Reid

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