Top Tips for OT’s using social media

HCPC launches guidance for OTs on using social media

Published on 18th September 2017

Locum occupational therapists can help the public understand more about the profession by using social media, the Health and Care Professions Council has urged.

Launching social media guidance for all professions registered with the HCPC, the regulator said OTs can help raise awareness of occupational therapy by using various social media platforms.

Using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can enable OTs to network with other professionals nationally and internationally. Locum OTs can also develop and share their skills and knowledge through social media.

While all professionals should adhere to their employer’s social media policy, OT’s do not need to refrain from using social media.

“Keep on posting!” the guidance says. “We know that many registrants find using social media beneficial and do so without any issues. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t keep on using it with confidence.”

However, the regulator warns that OT’s need to maintain appropriate professional boundaries if you communicate with colleagues, service users or carers. It states that OTs should use your professional judgement in deciding whether to post or share something. OTs should refrain from posting inappropriate or offensive material or information which could identify a service user unless you have their permission, it adds.

Top Tips for using social media include:

  • Think before you post. Assume that what you post could be shared and read by anyone.
  • Think about who can see what you share and manage your privacy settings accordingly. Remember that privacy settings cannot guarantee that something you post will not be publicly visible.
  • If you are employed, follow your employer’s social media policy.
  • When in doubt, get advice. Appropriate sources might include experienced colleagues, trade unions and professional bodies.

The HCPC’s standards of conduct, performance and ethics say: ‘You must use all forms of communication appropriately and responsibly, including social media and networking websites’. The social media guidance highlights that when using social media, you should apply the same standards as you would when communicating in other ways.

Be polite and respectful, and avoid using language that others might reasonably consider to be inappropriate or offensive. Use your professional judgement in deciding whether to post or share something. Remember that comments or posts may be taken out of context, or made visible to a wider audience than originally intended.

You may choose to include a disclaimer on your profile that your views are your own, and that they do not represent the views of your employer or anyone who contracts your services, the regulator adds.

 Guidance on using social media



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