Nurses spreading misinformation about COVID-19 has become such a concerning trend that eight leading nursing organizations, including the US Boards of Nursing, have issued a policy brief in response. The consequences of engaging in spreading misinformation can result in suspension and/or loss of professional nursing license as well as loss of specialized credentials. The crux of the issue is included in the following excerpts from both the press release and the policy statement:
It is an expectation of the U.S. boards of nursing, the profession, and the public that nurses uphold the truth, the principles of the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses and highest scientific standards when disseminating information about COVID-19 or any other health-related condition or situation. – Retrieved from press release
When identifying themselves by their profession, nurses are professionally accountable for the information they provide to the public. Any nurse who violates their state nurse practice act or threatens the health and safety of the public through the dissemination of misleading or incorrect information pertaining to COVID-19, vaccines and associated treatment through verbal or written methods including social media may be disciplined by their board of nursing. Nurses are urged to recognize that dissemination of misinformation not only jeopardizes the health and well-being of the public, but may place their license and career in jeopardy as well. – retrieved from policy statement
The following is reprint of the press release and includes a link to the official policy statement:
Leading Nursing Organizations Issue Policy Brief Regarding Nurses Spreading Misinformation about COVID-19
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Dawn M. Kappel Director, Marketing & Communications 312.525.3667 direct 312.279.1034 fax firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO – NCSBN and seven other leading nursing organizations* have issued a policy brief to address the misinformation being disseminated about COVID-19 by nurses. The brief notes that when nurses identify themselves by their profession, they are professionally accountable for the information they provide to the public.
It is an expectation of the U.S. boards of nursing, the profession, and the public that nurses uphold the truth, the principles of the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses and highest scientific standards when disseminating information about COVID-19 or any other health-related condition or situation.
The brief concludes by stating, “Nurses are urged to recognize that dissemination of misinformation not only jeopardizes the health and well-being of the public but may place their license and career in jeopardy as well.”
*Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), American Nurses Association (ANA), American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) National League for Nursing (NLN), NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA), National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) and Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN)
Founded March 15, 1978, as an independent not-for-profit organization, NCSBN was initially created to lessen the burdens of state governments and bring together nursing regulatory bodies (NRBs) to act and counsel together on matters of common interest. It has evolved into one of the leading voices of regulation across the world.
NCSBN’s membership is comprised of the NRBs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. There are three exam user members. There are also 27 associate members that are either NRBs or empowered regulatory authorities from other countries or territories.
Mission: NCSBN empowers and supports nursing regulators in their mandate to protect the public.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of NCSBN and not individual members.
Published by Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN, FNASN, FAAN
Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN, FNASN, FAAN, is a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN), currently in her 22nd year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District. Robin is the Director for New Jersey to the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) Board. She is proud to be a Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Fellow and past Program Mentor. Robin is the honored recipient of multiple awards for her work in school nursing and population health. These awards include, 2019 and 2020 National Association of School Nurses President’s Award, 2018 NCSN School Nurse of the Year, 2017 Johnson & Johnson School Nurse of the Year, and the New Jersey Department of Health 2017 Population Health Hero Award. Robin serves as faculty in the School Nurse Certificate Program at Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing, where she teaches the next generation of school nurses. She was presented the 2018 Rutgers University – Camden Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award for Part-time Faculty. Robin writes a weekly blog called The Relentless School Nurse. She also writes a monthly column in My American Nurse, the official journal of the American Nurses Association. Robin’s work is included as a case study in The Future of Nursing Report 2020-2030. You can follow Robin on Twitter at @RobinCogan.
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