Privacy and safety issue is probably the first thing that a person would be concerned about if talking about professional networking disadvantages. Indeed, it is the biggest challenge for such kind of services for now. Health care (and nursing as a part of it) is one of the most regulated fields. Nurses have to follow many rules and maintain boundaries, a set of which has been published by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN, 2014). A nurse has to be aware and cognizant and act, first of all, in the interests of the patients. That is why, using professional networks, nurses have to be extra careful and sure that they do not violate any rules. The primary precaution is to control how much information and details you share. Let us, for example, consider the following scenario. A network user posts something interesting about one of the patients changing names but identifying details and shares it only with friends. Several of the user’s friends find this post interesting and share it, and so on. As a result, this post becomes public. Such kinds of situations should be avoided. Moreover, even private messages can not guarantee that the information you send will be protected. Since it is stored on the Internet, there is always a possibility that a network account will be broken by hackers.
It is not the best possible option
The discussion of complex concepts can be rather difficult without face-to-face communication. People perceive the information in their way, through the prism of emotions, and in the light of their experience and knowledge. And if a discussion contains some complex ideas there is always the risk that those will be misunderstood. On the other hand, sometimes face-to-face communication is impossible (because of long distances, a tough schedule, and so on). To get through this challenge, network users can resort to a Skype connection, for example.
No immediate feedback
Another disadvantage of professional networks in comparison to face-to-face communication is the absence of immediate feedback. To get an answer to his or her question, a person has to wait until an interlocutor appears online. Since this situation can hardly be changed, the most important and urgent questions should not be solved with the help of networking.
Examples of Professional Networking Sites
In this part of the paper, let us give several examples of how medical organizations and people who work for them can use networks.
Using Social Networks for Professional Purposes
To start with, it is not always necessary to create a networking site – many health care organizations successfully use the existing ones. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook go first on the list. Moreover, many organizations have both their networking site and groups or pages on social networking sites. As an example, Nurse Rounds on Facebook – a page is created “for nurses to chat, share stories” (About Nurse Rounds, 2015, para. 2). Additionally, the same page contains a link to the website called Nurse Rounds. It is described as the “social network and professional network for nurses” (RNrounds, 2015, para. 1). It would not be surprising if the same Nurse Rounds could be found on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks. Surely, using such kinds of services for professional purposes, nurses should pay particular attention to privacy and safety issues.