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Be cautious with your use of social media

When you have been accused of something that forces you to have to defend your professional license, you may feel scared, confused, stressed and frustrated. In such circumstances, it is natural to want to vent about the situation on social media.

However, social media is not an appropriate outlet. In fact, if misused, it could end up hurting your case.

The perception of you matters

Say that you are a nurse accused of alcohol abuse. Taking to social media and retorting something like, "I cannot believe this. I rarely drink!" can undermine your credibility if other status updates and/or pictures show you enjoying liquor. So can posts such as, "I may have wanted to drink a thousand times at work, but I never did." They can come across as flippant and could portray you as someone who does not take his or her job seriously.

It could also be that there is some evidence that apparently backs up the accusation. Some people unwittingly hurt their case by uploading pictures of themselves in the middle of seeming misdeeds, or it is their friends or colleagues who do so on their own social media pages. Strict privacy settings might help but can lend you a false sense of security. All it takes is one person to screenshot a post and to send it to an official.

What you should do

If you cannot vent on your usual outlet, social media, what can you do? The important thing is to listen to the advice of your attorney. If you do not yet have one, it is a good idea to retain one immediately. This is true even if you think the accusations cannot possibly succeed. As for outlets, many people find that counseling helps, as do solid friends. In situations where there is an imbalance in life, finding or restoring balance can be a huge help. So, you could explore ways of making new friends or creating new habits.

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