We hardly need to define social media these days. It has become a part of our lives whether we like it or not. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are used to connect with friends, family, colleagues and clients. Maintaining boundaries and professionalism when it comes to posting, responding and sharing on any of the social media platforms is paramount.
The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) sets out the three Golden Rules for using social media in its Guide for Midwives:
1. Use common sense
2. Remember the permanence of cyberspace
3. Consider legal and professional responsibilities.
If used responsibly and appropriately, social networking sites can offer several benefits for midwives. These include:
- Developing professional relationships
- Providing a platform for midwifery support networks
- Breaking down barriers and making it easier for midwives to connect with each other, as well as expectant parents and families.
As a midwife, it is your responsibility to ensure that any information that you provide via social media is evidence-based and correct to the best of your knowledge. Avoid discussing anything that does not fall within your scope of practice and you should avoid making general comments that could be considered inaccurate.
It is important to consider your associations on social media. For example, ’liking’ or ‘sharing’ someone else’s post can imply that you endorse or support their point of view.
There are a number of legal and professional responsibilities that impact midwives’ behaviour and that includes behaviour in the online space. ACM recommends that midwives use the following documents to guide their use of social media:
- Guidelines for advertising regulated health services (AHPRA, 2014)
- FAQ on the revised advertising guidelines (AHPRA, 2014)
- Social media policy (AHPRA, 2014)
- Code of Ethics for Midwives (NMBA, March 2018)
- Code of Professional Conduct for Midwives in Australia (NMBA, March 2018)
ACM Social Media Guide for Midwive
The ACM has prepared a useful guide for Midwives which includes many helpful case examples