Facebook has become a fairly popular venue for travel nurses and recruiters to socialize and exchange industry related information. Of course, recruiters are always looking to recruit new candidates as well. Given that this is a relatively new use of Facebook for the industry, we thought it would be useful to discuss 13 things to know about using Facebook for travel nursing.
1: The Real Name Requirement
Facebook’s Terms of Service requires users to use their real names and information. Specifically, the agreement states:
Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:
1) You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook…
This policy of maintaining a real identity is one of Facebook’s core values. It also marks a huge differentiation between them and many other networking websites. Sites like Twitter, Instagram and most others allow “usernames” which ultimately allow for anonymity.
Many people credit this one tiny policy for much of Facebook’s phenomenal growth. Real identities allow members to identify their personal connections easier so the network can grow more fluidly. Using real identities also serves to keep socially unacceptable behavior and spam in check.
Why is this important? Well, many people aren’t comfortable mixing their “social life” with their “professional life”. As a result, many in the travel nursing industry are creating Facebook accounts specifically for their work related identity. For example, you will see names like “Ima Nurse” or “Mike ABCStaffing”.
Of course, you’re not breaking any laws by doing this. However, you could have your account suspended or deleted. Travel nurses may not be to concerned about this. It’s fair to assume that they’re creating an account with a fake name just for the purposes of communicating anonymously.
However, recruiters might be more concerned. If you’re using the service for recruitment purposes, then you’re probably trying to build a network on Facebook. After all, referrals are the best source of new candidates. So it would be pretty disappointing if your account got deleted after putting in all that hard work to build your network.
It’s tempting to think that you’re safe from having your account suspended given that there are over 1.3 billion members on Facebook. However, Facebook provides members with a self policing mechanism. Users can visit a profile and select the Menu Icon on the bottom right of the cover photo to report an account to Facebook. As a recruiter, your competitors just may be that ruthless.
2: Only One Personal Account
Along the very same lines, Facebook’s terms allow individuals to create only one personal account. It’s fair to assume that this policy is much more difficult for Facebook to enforce. Nonetheless, users run the risk of having their accounts suspended if they create multiple personal accounts.
3: Friend Request Rules
Facebook urges users to send friend requests only to people that they have a real life connection to. To police this, the service allows users who receive friend requests to flag the request as Unknown. A user’s ability to send friend requests can be suspended if they are flagged as unknown too many times.
Many travel nurses understandably complain about receiving friend requests from unknown recruiters, so they may be relieved that this feature exists. However, Facebook is fairly lenient with this, especially when the two users have a mutual friend. Unfortunately for this policy, there are a few Facebook users who are connected to so many folks in the travel nursing industry that almost everyone has a mutual connection.
4: Using “Following” And “Lists” To Manage Your Network
With this in mind, Facebook does have features that allow members to differentiate between various types of connections. This way, you could potentially use the service for both business and personal use while not mixing them up too much.
First, Facebook has a “Follow” feature. This feature allows one way connections to exist. When someone “Follows” you, then your Public posts have the potential to make it into the Follower’s News Feed. Remember, you have the ability to select who to share with when you post a something on Facebook (Public, Friends, etc.).
To allow people to Follow you, go to your Settings page and select “Followers” on the left side. Then select “Everybody” in the “Who Can Follow Me?” section as pictured below. Again, only the posts you mark as public will be visible to your followers.
Second, you can use “Lists” to segment your friends however you want. Facebook has a default set of Lists set up for you already and you can create new lists as you desire. This way, when you add someone new to your network, you can add them to the appropriate list. You can also go through your current list of friends and add them to lists as you see fit.
When you enter a status update, you’ll be able to select which list will be able to see the status update. It’s important to note that the people who see the status update will be able to see the name of the list they’re on. It’s not prominent, but it’s there if you know how to find it. The point is, don’t name your lists something that you wouldn’t want the people on the list to see.
With lists as a travel nurse, you could potentially communicate your desire for a new travel nursing job to only your recruiters and colleagues if you created a list for such. Or as a recruiter, you could communicate a status update only to your travel nurse connections.
To create a new list, go to your Home page and hover your mouse pointer over “Friends” on the left side navigation menu. A “More” option will appear as the image below illustrates. Select it and you will be taken to the Lists page where you can select Create New List.
5: Following A Travel Nursing Group Conversation
When you contribute to a post/conversation in a travel nursing Facebook group, you are automatically set to receive notifications with updates to the conversation. If you want to follow a conversation, but don’t have a contribution to make, then there is a feature that will allow you to do so. Simply select the carrot menu icon in the top right corner of the conversation box and then select “Turn On Notifications” as pictured below. This feature is available for both the Desktop and App versions of Facebook.
6: Tag a Travel Nursing Conversation To Find It Later
Many travelers are already aware that the “Turn On Notifications” feature exists. So, when they see someone add a period or comment that says “following” to a conversation, then it may seem as though the person is doing this in order to receive update notifications for the conversation.
However, it’s likely that the person is leaving a quick and easy comment so that they can easily find the conversation some time in the future. By adding something to the conversation, the activity will make the conversation show up in your activity log so that you can find the conversation more easily. This is because your activity log typically has much less activity than the groups do.
7: Groups Have 3 Privacy Settings But No Guarantee
There are 3 privacy settings for Facebook Groups: Public, Closed, and Secret. To the best of my knowledge, the largest and most active groups are public. This probably has a lot to do with the privacy settings on public groups. When a group is public, everything can be viewed by everyone.
For example, when you post in a public group, the activity can show up in your friends’ news feed. This is great publicity for the group and tends to get more people to join. Of course, it may also annoy your friends and get them to either unfollow the group’s activity or unfollow your status updates altogether.
In a Closed Group, only group members can see the posts that are made to the group. However, the group can still be found by anyone using Facebook’s search feature. Additionally, the members of the group can still be viewed by anyone. Again, the main advantage with a close group is that your activity in the group doesn’t get pushed into your friends’ news feeds unless they are also in the group and only group members can view activity.
In a Secret Group, nothing is viewable or searchable to anyone other than current and former group members. However, like Benjamin Franklin said, “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.” It’s certainly possible for a member of a secret group to report on what’s going on in the group. They could even take screen shots of activity in the group for verification purposes.
Why is this important? Well, many travelers want to speak candidly and openly about their experiences whether good or bad. That’s part of the beauty of these groups and others like them; they’re great for finding support among those who share similar experiences.
But this is where Facebook’s “Real Name” policy can be a real pain in the behind. It would be nice to have anonymity so that you could have a truly private conversation. In fact, that’s part of the allure of the classic Forums that predated social networks and still flourish around the web.
In any case, this shouldn’t diminish the convenience and usefulness of the groups. It’s just something users need to keep in mind when using the service.
8: Travel Nursing Facebook Groups Can Be Searched
Travel Nursing Facebook groups are really active. The ability to search within a group is a huge convenience. Moreover, due to the activity level, there’s a pretty good chance that a topic you’re interested in has already been discussed. For example, if you’re looking for feedback on a particular travel nursing agency, then try to search for them in the group as you may find much more information that way than by creating a new post.
The search feature works for both content and member names. So if you’re looking for posts from a particular member, then you can search by name. Facebook’s search feature is not as advanced as what you would find on a search engine like Google, but it’s very useful nonetheless.
The search feature is currently only available on the desktop version and not on the APP which is disappointing because our estimates indicate that over 50% of travelers use the app. That said, if you really want to search a group from your mobile device, you can use your mobile device’s web browser.
By default, Facebook will serve their mobile web site if you access from your mobile device browser. You’ll notice that there will be a “m.” in the URL. For example, the URL will be https://m.facebook.com. If you remove the “m.” from the url, you will get the desktop version. It will be clunky and slow, but you’ll be able to search!
9: Some Facebook Groups Have Useful Files
One of the great things about Facebook groups is that they have a feature that allows members to upload documents like PDFs and Microsoft Word Documents as well as create static documents using the Facebook editor. At the top of the group page, you’ll notice a “Files” link. Select it to view the useful resources that have been added.
10: Group Moderators Control Group Rules
Facebook Groups can be created by any Facebook member. The group creator is automatically deemed an administrator. As such, they are able to remove users from the group and/or remove posts from the group among other things. These powers allow them to police the group to ensure that group rules are followed.
Administrators can change group rules at any time. For example, a group can be created with very loose rules in the beginning to encourage membership growth. Then when the group gets large enough, the rules can be made more stringent to ensure that activity stays relevant.
Additionally, groups can be “monetized” by the group owner. For example, a travel nursing group owner might require that agencies and recruiters pay for the privilege of posting jobs within the group. Facebook does not facilitate payments but they do not prohibit this activity either.
11: Facebook Can Change Group Features At Any Time
With that in mind, it’s important to remember that the ultimate owner of Facebook Groups is Facebook. This means that Facebook can change the way groups work if they decide things aren’t going the way they’d like them to.
For example, LinkedIn is another networking site that has a Groups feature and they’ve had them up and running for quite a bit longer than Facebook. At some point, LinkedIn recognized that its groups had a spam problem. So they instituted a policy whereby users who were flagged as spammers in one group were automatically flagged as spammers in all groups. The affected user has to contact group administrators individually to request the ban be lifted.
Facebook’s groups are still relatively young having been re-released in 2010. It’s fair to say that they’ll be tinkering with them in the future.
12: Employers Are Searching Social Media
Everyone is aware by this point that prospective employers are researching their candidates’ online as part of the hiring decision-making process. However, the depth of that research and the reasons employers provide for denying candidates is pretty surprising.
A national poll conducted by CareerBuilder in 2014 found that 43% of employers search for candidates on social media sites with another 12% reporting that they have plans to start in the near future. More importantly, the poll found that 51% said they found content that caused them not to hire a candidate. A couple of the most common reasons employers gave for declining a candidate are things that we often see discussed in Facebook Groups. The list provided by CareerBuilder is as follows:
- Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 46 percent
- Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs – 41 percent
- Job candidates bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee – 36 percent
- Job candidate had poor communication skills – 32 percent
- Job candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion etc. – 28 percent
- Job candidate lied about qualifications – 25 percent
- Job candidate shared confidential information from previous employers – 24 percent
- Job candidate was linked to criminal behavior – 22 percent
- Job candidate’s screen name was unprofessional – 21 percent
- Job candidate lied about an absence – 13 percent
Now, as far as the travel nursing industry is concerned, it’s likely that agencies are not as stringent as permanent employers when it comes to some of these issues. Either way, it’s a good idea to keep this issue in mind when using social media to discuss work related issues. Again, if this were an anonymous forum or message board, then there would be far less to worry about, but Facebook’s “real person policy” means everything is traceable.
13: Guidelines for Nurses on Social Media
Given the privacy regulations surrounding the provision of medical care, it’s important for nurses to adhere to guidelines that many others don’t have to worry about when discussing work related issues. We are by no means experts on this subject, so we’ll defer to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Here is a link to a detailed white paper titled A Nurse’s Guide to the Use of Social Media. Be sure to take a look to ensure that you’re aware of all the sensitive issues.
Given that forums and groups devoted to travel nursing have existed and flourished via many other services, it’s fair to say that Facebook is gaining popularity by virtue of convenience. With so many people already on Facebook for other reasons, it’s much simpler to utilize than other services. We hope the information provided here helps you get more out of the service and avoid potential pitfalls.
As always, we’d love to hear about your experiences with this issue. Please post them in the comments section below along with any questions, concerns, or items we missed!