New policy brief issued by leading nurse organizations says disseminating incorrect information jeopardizes public health.
Nurses who circulate COVID-19 misinformation verbally or in writing—including social media—could jeopardize their license, according to a new policy brief issued by leading nursing organizations.
When nurses identify themselves by their profession, they are professionally accountable for the information they provide to the public, asserts the brief, issued by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), and six other leading nursing organizations.
Because COVID-19 is a potentially deadly virus, providing misinformation to the public regarding masking, vaccines, medications and/or COVID-19 threatens public health, according to the NCSBN.
"Misinformation, which is not grounded in science and is not supported by the CDC and FDA, can lead to illness, possibly death, and may prolong the pandemic," the policy statement reads.
The policy statement defines misinformation as "distorted facts, inaccurate or misleading information not grounded in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and counter to information being disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."
It addresses misleading or incorrect information pertaining to COVID-19, vaccines, and associated treatment.
“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,” because they may be disciplined by their board of nursing, the brief states.
"It is an expectation of the U.S. boards of nursing, the profession, and the public," says a NCSBN press release," 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."
“Misinformation, which is not grounded in science and is not supported by the CDC and FDA, can lead to illness, possibly death, and may prolong the pandemic.”
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
Nurses are professionally accountable for the information they provide to the public.
Providing COVID-19 misinformation to the public threatens public health.
Nurses must uphold the highest scientific standards when circulating information about COVID-19 or any other health-related condition or situation.