Social Media Policy

Policy Statement                                 

The College of Nursing supports University and professional nursing organization guidelines related to the use of social media. For purposes of this policy, “Social media” means any online tool or service through which virtual communities are created allowing users to publish commentary and other content, including but not limited to blogs, wikis, and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube; “social media” does not include e-mail sent to a known and finite number of individuals, or non-social sharing or networking platforms such as Listserv and group or team collaboration worksites.

Consequently, students should not post content that is disrespectful of others, or any patient- or course-related information that is confidential, private, or proprietary. Under no circumstances shall any mention or picture of clinical experiences or facility be mentioned or posted on any social media site.

When posting, applicable federal requirements such as FERPA and HIPPA, as well as NCAA regulations, and all applicable university confidentiality policies, must always be followed. If a student is unsure as to whether the information they wish to share is designated as confidential or improper, they should seek advice from their faculty mentor, instructor, or the CON Center for Student Excellence. Additionally, if a student knows of important social media content they would like to be considered for sharing on College of Nursing accounts, please send to the communications department


  1. An incident is identified/reported that may be an improper use of social media, in violation of this policy. This is reported to the program director if it is known which program the student is admitted to. If this is not known, the incident is reported to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to determine the correct program director to consult or next course of action.  
  2. The program director will review the report to determine if there is a potential breach in this policy and if further action is required. This may include consultation with faculty of record of the course associated (if known), staff in the CSE, department chair, a leader at a clinical agency, or other College administrator. Each situation is considered on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Once determined that a breach in policy has occurred, the faculty of record will complete the PIP documentation. If a faculty of record is not known, the program director will complete the PIP.
  4. Once the PIP is completed and sent to the student, the faculty of record of the course (if known), program director, and representative from the CSE will meet with the student to discuss actions.
  5. Violations of this policy may result in a review of the students standing, the student receiving a myWSU student hold, required remediation, and/or depending on the severity of the violation, may result in a recommendation for dismissal from the course, the program, the College, or recommendation of dismissal to the appropriate entity at the University.
  6. The student will be informed of the outcome of the review and guided through next steps which will include opportunity to grieve any decision.

When determining whether a particular use of social media constitutes an improper use, the following list will be considered, but is by no means exhaustive:

  • Student academic freedom principles referenced by WAC 132F-121-020 and WAC 132J-126-050.
  • The scope of practice, clinical setting(s), and contact information that the student had access to.
  • Whether the student used or publicized the university (name, brands, website, official title, or school/department/college), or otherwise created the appearance of the communication being endorsed, approved, or connected to the university in a manner that discredits the university.
  • Whether the communication was transmitted utilizing university systems or equipment.
  • Whether any federal, WSU, or agency-related policies or freedoms were broken (i.e., FERPA, HIPAA, etc.).

All students in the College of Nursing academic programs are required to review the content in the links below for important information about the acceptable use of social media:

General Guidelines

Maintain Confidentiality
Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Washington State University, its students, its alumni, or employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow university policies and federal requirements, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Review HIPAA and FERPA.

Maintain Privacy
No social media communication, whether public or private, is HIPAA compliant. Do not discuss any clinical experience on a social media site. Additional information on the appropriate handling of student, employee, and patient information can also be found at HIPAA and FERPA.

Do No Harm
Let Internet social networking do no harm to WSU, the College of Nursing, other individuals, or to themselves whether navigating those networks on the campus, at a university-related site, or off.

Understand Student Personal Responsibility
Students are personally responsible for the content they publish on blogs, wikis, or any other form of user-generated content. Be mindful that what is published will be public for a long time—protect privacy of self and that of others.

Maintain Transparency
The line between professional and personal business is sometimes blurred: Be thoughtful about the content in a post and potential audiences. Be honest about one’s identity. In personal posts, one may identify themselves as a WSU student, faculty, or staff member. However, one must be clear that they are sharing their views as an individual, not as a representative of WSU or the College of Nursing.

Correct Mistakes
Students are to admit if they have made a mistake – the hallmark of someone with integrity. Be upfront and be quick with the correction. If posting to a blog, the earlier post can be modified—just make it clear that one has done so.

Respect Others
In general, people are more likely to achieve their goals or sway others to their beliefs if discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person in a constructive and respectful manner.

Think Before Posting
There’s no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can turn up posts and pictures years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if a post is deleted. If one is angry or passionate about a subject, it’s wise to delay posting until calm and clearheaded. Post pictures only if comfortable sharing with the public (current and future peers, employers, etc.).

Policy Title:Social Media Policy
Policy Home:Academic Affairs, College of Nursing, Spokane
Policy Inception Date 2018
Policy Applicable Party:College of Nursing Students
Date of Last Change08/2023
Responsible Party, Level I (to create and review):Academic Affairs
Responsible Party, Level II (to approve)Academic Affairs
Responsible Party, Level III (to implement)Center for Student Excellence