AWHONN Social Media Code of Conduct


The AWHONN Social Media Code of Conduct reflects who we are, what is important to us, and how we communicate in our meetings and in our online communities. The Code provides an overview of the general rules and policies that are consistent with the high standards of business ethics we uphold and emphasizes the value we place on trust and treating all members of our community with respect. That’s why we count on every member to follow our Code, to observe high standards of integrity, and to make decisions that will preserve trust. The Code is a great resource, but it does not cover every situation, so it is important to use good judgment in everything you do and to contact AWHONN if you’re ever unsure about the right course of action. Additionally, the online communities allows members to network on professional issues and not personal issues.  Due to the legalities of providing personal advice, members are not allowed to use the AWHONN Hubs for medical advice. While we encourage a lively exchange of ideas and insights, we do ask that you read and adhere to the AWHONN Social Media Code of Conduct when participating in AWHONN discussions.

Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination

AWHONN strives to maintain professional environments and professional in-person or online interactions where people are treated with dignity, decency, and respect – an environment characterized by mutual trust and the absence of intimidation, oppression, and exploitation. AWHONN will not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment of any kind. AWHONN will not tolerate negative biases and racial stereotypes from any party including staff, volunteers, speakers, guests, members, contractors, military, government, or industry representatives.

General Principles of AWHONN Community and Social Media Forums

  1. Maintain online communities that are open, secure, and trustworthy for all member participants.
  2. Establish fellowship and support among nurses that will enhance their care of women and infants.
  3. Cultivate engagement, exchange of information, collaboration, and sharing of innovative ideas relevant to nursing.

Code of Conduct Violation Policy

The Code of Conduct should not be seen as all-inclusive, but rather to give our members a general idea of the guidelines one should follow when participating in AWHONN online communities. AWHONN shall determine, in its sole discretion, whether there has been a breach of the Code of Conduct and may take any action deemed appropriate. In order to preserve an environment that encourages respectful and meaningful dialogue, AWHONN reserves the right to remove content and suspend or terminate participation on all lists for anyone who violates these rules.

Taking action against one of our members, particularly in regard to removing an account, is something we would like to avoid, but realistically may have to happen in order to protect the quality of service we strive to provide to our members. The restriction is not intended to limit in any way the professional networking and educational advantages of Social Media or to censor members. We have an obligation to the individuals and families we serve, the communities in which we live, and to each other to uphold our core values and to conduct AWHONN business with professionalism and integrity.

If you note something problematic in one of the communities or online forums, please advise the AWHONN online administrator via When unsure whether content is consistent with these policies, please err on the side of caution and do not post the content in Social Media. If there are questions on what content is appropriate to post,

Possible disciplinary actions for Code of Conduct violations

  • First and second violation, an email or phone call is communicated to the member that explains the violation that occurred. The post is removed.
    • The member may be placed in a moderation queue, where messages from the member’s account are reviewed before they are posted online.
  • Third violation, a formal letter is sent to the member who violated the Code of Conduct.
    • The member is removed from participating in AWHONN Social Media.
Rules Applicable to AWHONN Social Media and Online Community Participants

1. Respect the diversity of fellow forum users

Honor our differences. Fellow online users should always be treated with respect, without exception. Discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, disability, marital status, religion, sexuality, gender, gender identity, or any other legally recognized protected basis under federal, state, or local laws, regulations, or ordinances will not be tolerated. We want the AWHONN online communities to be welcoming forums for all members; this means that discriminatory statements, both clear and masked in words or images, are not appropriate. Harassing, bullying, trolling, taunting or defamatory content will also not be tolerated.

2. Communicate in a professional manner

Maintain open, honest, and respectful dialogues. Discussions should encourage conversation and not create divisiveness or tension. Every member deserves the opportunity to express his or her opinions on patient care related matters openly and in a civil, respectful manner. Participants should act in a dignified and courteous manner to avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false, malicious or improper action. Obscene, vulgar, or inappropriate language and/or images is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

3. Avoid discussions pertaining to politics, religion, and sexual content

AWHONN’s online communities are designed to enable discussion on topics related to patient care. Use of AWHONN Social Media to discuss and debate politics, religion, and non-health care related sexual content is prohibited. Posting of political promotions and/or content of self-interest is also prohibited.

4. Behave ethically

All persons participating in AWHONN online communities shall act honestly, in good faith, and with the highest professional standards.

5. Treat others as you want to be treated

Misunderstandings on forums are quite common often due to the difficulty in understanding the implied tone in another user’s remarks. Take extra care to be kind in your comments to other users and never react negatively to comments you perceive as rude or otherwise objectionable. Instead, it is always wiser to either end the discussion, ignore the comment entirely, or in more severe cases report the offense to the AWHONN staff at Responding to another user’s comments in a manner contrary to our posting policy will be viewed by AWHONN as equally inappropriate and may result in sanctions against your forum privileges.

6. Protect the integrity of AWHONN

Participants should safeguard AWHONN’s reputation and integrity by ensuring that any public statements relating to AWHONN, which are not official statements of AWHONN, are properly portrayed as the opinion of the individual making them. Statements directed to AWHONN as an organization should be expressed in a civil and respectful manner to avoid injuring the organization’s intellectual property or reputation by false, malicious or improper action. Obscene, vulgar, or inappropriate language and/or images is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

7. Advertising for other companies and personal business programs is strictly prohibited

Do not post solicitations of any kind (research, survey[1], service and/or product promotions, etc.). Participants are prohibited from posting commercial messages or promotions, advertising, or selling goods or services. Use caution when discussing products. Comments are subject to libel, slander, and antitrust laws. If you request information about a product or service, note that any responses are considered personal referrals and not an AWHONN endorsement. AWHONN does not endorse any vendors. Job postings are strictly prohibited on the online communities, but can be made at

8. Do not discuss AWHONN Social Media administrative/moderator actions on the forums

If you do not agree with a moderator or AWHONN staff decision, you may send a private message to the moderator or AWHONN staff administrator at You may not start a thread or post a complaint that your post was removed. Also, you may not post any private correspondence from an AWHONN online moderator/administrator. Membership account issues should be directed to and not displayed in a public forum.

9. Safeguard patient and member privacy; maintain confidentiality where applicable

Never share personal health information (PHI) on AWHONN Social Media. Preserve, protect, and secure PHI and hold in the highest regard health information and other information of a confidential nature obtained in an official capacity, taking into account the applicable statutes and regulations. Comply with HIPAA requirements. For more information about PHI,
visit: Remain mindful of any information you share — any personally identifiable information you share can be seen by persons with access to AWHONN Social Media. Do not disclose any kind of confidential, proprietary, or sensitive business or other information. Do not disclose personal emails, phone numbers, addresses, family information, employer details or any kind of private information that should not be displayed in a public forum. For security purposes, contact information should only be shared through direct messaging and/or by using “reply to sender” option.

10. Respect intellectual property rights

AWHONN Social Media may not be used in a manner that violates applicable federal, state, or local laws, or any other AWHONN policies, procedures, rules, or regulations. For example, while sources can be disclosed, participants may not post or distribute files, articles, or other information subject to trademark, copyright, or other proprietary rights, except with the express consent of the owner of the rights.

11. Avoid remarks that may constitute defamation

Posted statements that are offensive and insulting to individuals (or constituencies or organizations) violate the Code of Conduct and may violate applicable defamation laws. The term defamation can include verbal and written statements that are factually false. Defamation laws, which vary from state to state, are generally intended to protect individuals and organizations from false factual statements that could harm their reputations. One key element in proving defamation claims in most states is that the aggrieved party must establish that the defendant uttered or published a false factual statement to a third party. Exercise good judgment and avoid engaging in personal attacks against others while using the Social Media forum or AWHONN social media pages.

12. Adhere to antitrust laws

Users are prohibited from using AWHONN Social Media to communicate about prices or terms of service, to exchange practice management or any other proprietary information, or otherwise communicate in a manner that may violate federal or state antitrust laws.

13. AWHONN online communities are member-only forums

AWHONN’s various online communities are a benefit of AWHONN membership and administered by the organization for the sole use of AWHONN members. The sharing/forwarding of online discussions with non-members is prohibited.

14. Job postings are prohibited

AWHONN communities promote conversation, collaboration, and the exchange of information on the practice of patient care. Jobs may be posted in our career center here

15. AWHONN online communities are proprietary forums

The AWHONN online communities are private message boards administered by AWHONN. All message board content is allowed at the discretion of AWHONN. The organization reserves the right to remove any message board content without notice and for any reason. AWHONN reserves the right to remove forums with inactivity of at least 12 months or more.

16. Adherence to the Code of Conduct

AWHONN shall determine, in its sole discretion, whether there has been a breach of the Code of Conduct and may take any action deemed appropriate. In order to preserve an environment that encourages respectful and meaningful dialogue, AWHONN reserves the right to remove content and suspend or terminate participation on all lists for anyone who violates these rules. If you note something problematic in one of the communities or online forums, please advise the AWHONN online administrator via

17. Discussion Group Etiquette

Use the following guidelines to enhance your participation in the community of your choice.

  1. Stay on topic. Do not discuss irrelevant topics or post non-related links or images.
  2. Respect the opinions of your peers. If you feel the need to disagree, do so respectfully.
    Acknowledge that others are entitled to have their own perspective.
  3. Do not write anything that sounds angry or sarcastic even in humor. Without hearing your tone, your colleagues may not realize you are joking.
  4. Do not type in ALL CAPS. It could appear as if you are screaming.
    Check the most recent comments before you reply to a comment to ensure you are responding to the latest post.
  5. State concisely and clearly the topic of your comments in the subject line. This allows members to respond more appropriately to your posting and makes it easier for members to search the archives by subject.
  6. Send messages such as “thanks for the information” or “me, too” to individuals, not to the entire list. Do this by using the “Reply to Sender” link in every message.
  7. Do not send administrative messages, such as “remove me from the list,” to the group.
    Instead, use the web interface to change your settings or to remove yourself from a list. This can be done in your profile under My Account > Community Notifications > Notification Settings.
  8. Do change your email address, you do not need to remove yourself from the list and rejoin under your new email address; simply change your settings.
  9. Avoid excessively long posts. Limit word count to no more than 700 words. Additional content can be added as attachments.

Changes to the Code of Conduct

AWHONN reserves the right to revise the rules and guidelines contained in the Code of Conduct at any time. Participants are expected to check this page from time to time to take notice of any changes.

Appeal process

A member may not appeal removal of a post. A member may appeal their removal from a Social Media community by contacting in writing. Final decisions will be reviewed and decided upon by a panel of staff and peers. Appeals should include the following information:

  • First name, last name, email address, phone number
  • Full disclosure of any previous violations
  • Why you feel the Social Media or online community removal should be overturned; include any relevant or supporting evidence.

For any further questions or comments please contact


The views expressed on the various AWHONN online communities are those of the individual contributors. They do not, and should not, be construed as representing the views of the Organization. AWHONN makes no warranty, guarantee, or representation as to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information posted on its various communities and assumes no responsibility or liability regarding the use or misuse of such information for any purpose. AWHONN disclaims any responsibility to maintain copies of any information posted or to assure that such information is deleted. Unless specifically stated otherwise, AWHONN does not endorse, approve, recommend, or certify any information, advice, guidance, product, process, service or organization presented or mentioned on its online forums, and information from these forums should not be referenced in any way to imply such approval or endorsement. However, AWHONN retains the right to monitor posted information and remove messages or materials that it believes do not comply with its Code of Conduct.

Requests for Assistance

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the AWHONN staff at

[1] In order to disseminate surveys to AWHONN’s membership for a research study, the following information is required: 1) a draft of the post; 2) copy of IRB approval or exemption; 3) a study summary; and 4) a link to the survey.    Contact for additional information and pricing.