Research Study is recruiting registered nurses and HCPs – PRISM: Professional Regulation In Social Media

Our OU HWSC academics Dr Gemma Ryan & Dr Marc Cornock and Vicky Cockerill at the University of Derby are conducting a research study into Professional Regulation In Social Media (PRISM).

Find out why to participate in the PRISM project and follow the survey link to participate

Are you a registered nurse or healthcare professional in the UK?

There are £10 Amazon e-vouchers available for participants who complete the first (15-20 minute) and second (shorter) survey.  

More about the project

The A2A decision making tool has been developed as part of a 42-month ethnographic study that conducted semi-structured interviews, focus groups [with nurses and nursing students] and online observations of publicly accessible professional groups.

It found that: 

  1. There is an awareness of e-professionalism and accountability on social media but social, political and personal events impact on the perception and subsequent actions of nurses (e.g. swearing and bullying is deemed as unprofessional, but when responding to posts about NHS reforms this was ‘accepted’ by the wider nursing community. Or, taking photos at [identifiable] work and in uniform is unprofessional but was accepted and was vastly under-reported).
  2. Nurse perceptions and understanding of behaviours that require ‘action’ to be taken is inconsistent (e.g. what one nurse would discipline, another might just view as unacceptable, not unprofessional and thus, take no action).
  3. Nurses perceived self-efficacy (awareness) is inconsistent with ‘actual’ observed behaviours (i.e. what individuals think they do and share is not what they actually do).
  4. The above findings result in confusion, inconsistency and reluctance to report incidents:
  • that are actually unprofessional and require further investigation  
  • professional penalties against acceptable or unacceptable [rather than unprofessional] behaviours (e.g. photos of drinking alcohol being shared with friends) 
  • the removal of online posts, investigations and/or disciplinary action for behaviours that are actually professional; serving a genuine purpose within the parameters of the NMC code (2015; 2016).  

When discussing what actions would be challenged in physical practice, and why such actions would not be challenged in Facebook there were three main reasons identified; a lack of clarity, context and confirmability.  The A2A tool is evidence based, promotes consensus and considers what decisions should be made in relation to the four pillars of accountability.  It sets a clear benchmark for what the public can expect from nurses in the online environment. 


Project Aim & objectives:

Validate the A2A decision making tool to assist nurses, managers, academics and professional organisations to make consistent decisions about nursing related incidents and reported behaviours on social media. This will also serve to raise awareness of e-professionalism and manage risk. 

  • Assess validate the consistency of the decision-making tool through responses from nurses, nursing students and the public on a series of vignettes 
  • Evaluate the consistency and usability of the tool through qualitative and quantitative feedback 
  • Make recommendations for consistent assessment of professional and unprofessional behaviours on social media
  • Disseminate the tool to stakeholders through a range of methods 


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