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Professional Standards – 2021 Reboot

As social media and health apps have become ubiquitous and almost indispensable part of
daily life among nurses, there has been confusion regarding the ethical, professional and legal implications of their online behaviour (Zhu et al., 2021).

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As much has changed in the information technology and health landscape since 2002, the year the College of Nurses (CNO) last updated their Professional Standards of Practice, an updating process is required to synthesize best practices so as to ensure there is a continuity in the best possible standards for patients in a modern context. As we know, social media apps have become ubiquitous and almost indispensable part of daily life, particularly among university students and health care professionals (Zhu et al, 2021). In this and with the emergence of technologies such as OTN, Telehealth, and digital charting, it is now of paramount importance that the CNO standards of practice are also updated.  As a recent study found, widespread usage of social media by registered nurses and nursing students, has given risk to concerns about privacy-related risks and online professionalism (Zhu et al., 2021). 


Each nurse is accountable to the public, to be aware of their digital thumbprint via social media platforms and using information technology tools and is responsible for ensuring that their practice and conduct meets legislative requirements and the standards of the profession. 

Continuing Competence

Each nurse maintains and continually improves their competence, including emerging information technologies / health tools and privacy standards and by participating in the College of Nurses of Ontario’s Quality Assurance (QA) Program. 


Each nurse understands, upholds and promotes the values and beliefs described in CNO’s ethics practice standard to include emerging ethical standards pertaining to information technology, social media platforms, and privacy standards. 


Each nurse possesses, through basic education and continuing learning, knowledge relevant to their professional practice – in particular in the field of emerging information technology growth and platforms.  

Knowledge Application 

Each nurse continually improves the application of professional knowledge which is to include the emerging field of digital information technologies, in particular personal and professional usage of digital social media and health platforms.  


Each nurse demonstrates their leadership by providing, facilitating and promoting the best possible care/service to the public to include virtual and digital health platforms.   


Each nurse establishes and maintains respectful, collaborative, therapeutic and professional relationships in person, digitally and through virtual health.  


College of Nurses of Ontario. (2002). Professional standards. Retrieved from 

Zhu, X., Hu, H., Xiong, Z., Zheng, T., Li, L., Zhang, L., & Yang, F. (2021). Utilization and professionalism toward social media among undergraduate nursing students. Nursing Ethics28(2), 297–310. 

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