The Iowa Nurses Association Needs a Lesson in Social Media Etiquette

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image The executive director of the Iowa Nurses Association made a comment on the American Nurses Association’s facebook page in response to other comments made on a wall post by Terri Polick questioning the censorship of the ANA. This representative of the Iowa chapter of the ANA essentially called Vernon Dutton (a nurse advocate and social media enthusiast) an ass and questions his credibility and motives.

Bad form Iowa Nurses Association.

This is just not good social media practice. Not good at all.

The wall post by Terri was a link to the following post on Nurse Ratched’s Place which questions if the ANA is practicing censorship on their social media pages. Censorship: Don’t Talk About Amanda Trujillo.

The American Nurses Association gave a  thoughtful and appropriate response.

American Nurses Association ANA’s position on the Amanda Trujillo case remains unchanged: we continue to monitor the case and support the right of all nurses to engage in patient education and advocacy. There has been a misunderstanding. INA deleted a post that did not seem relevant to INA. We do send state nurses associations information about what is going on at ANA, like news about our new ANF director, and they can choose to share that, including on their social media sites. We do not direct any state nurses associations on how to manage their social media accounts or their comment policies. Regarding ANA’s social media pages, our comment policy is posted on our Facebook Info tab. We welcome all respectful views on the many topics affecting nursing, including the Amanda Trujillo case, and thank you all for contributing to the discussions!

The Iowa Nurses Association took a different approach in their response.

Iowa Nurses Association There seems to be quite a bit of confusion out there – for no good reason that I can see. I am the executive director of the INA and guess what? ANA has not censored anything that we’ve done. I’ve never talked to Vernon, never met him, nor do I understand his motives. We did have a staff member talk to him and there was obviously a gap in the communication. I did not participate in the phone call, but there were obviously some assumptions made and you know what “assume” dissected into three words means.

I think that the response from the Iowa ANA needs no explanation as to why it is both inappropriate and unbecoming of a professional organization. I sincerely hope that the ANA will participate is some social media coaching with them and discuss how this sort of backhanded remark on public social platform can reflect negatively on their organization and the nursing profession as a whole.

The level of appropriateness of social media interactions varies among personal and professional use. When you speak as a professional organization, you speak on behalf of your members. While I don’t know any Iowa nurses personally, I would imagine they would be quite upset to hear their professional organizations calling nurses asses on facebook. That’s not behavior becoming of a professional organization. It’s not behavior that warrants professional dues and involvement of members.

Social media behavior like this needs to be acknowledge, learned from, and result in public apologies to those it insulted like Vernon Dutton and perhaps Iowa ANA members.

For the sake of nurses everywhere, I humbly request the Iowa Nurses Association to get their social media act together.

If they are in need of a plan to better handle their social media interactions, the information is easily found on google or any number of Social Media Guides.

Remember, personal use and professional organization  use of social media are two very different ballgames. Make sure you know the rules to the game you are playing and do your best to follow them.


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