Will Nursing's Reputation Suffer?

  1. The nursing profession is continuously ranked as one of the more ethical and trustworthy professions in the country. But recently in the past few years, there have been many stories where nurses are accused (some found guilty) of doing things that are unethical.

    For instance, during Hurricane Katrina, nurses were charged with killing patients intentionally.

    Also, there is a nurse standing trial today for the murder of her husband (Court TV).

    A couple of weeks ago, our local news showed the story of a male nurse who stole the identity of two of his pt’s to buy cars. I believe he lived in FL, and then moved to TN.

    I was watching Case Files recently, and a CNA was charged in the death of over 30 pt’s, which he poisoned with arsenic or cyanide.

    My question is do you think that the action of a few nurses, CNAs, could ever ruin the reputation of nursing? Maybe I pay much attention to these stories because the accusers involved are in the same profession as we are. I can’t help but wonder if people not in the nursing profession see the stories and look the other way, or if they begin to distrust the nursing profession all together.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Cosper123
    With the katrina thing, I think most rational people would understand why those nurses did what they did. And even if they don't, they could still understand the logic that led to the decisions that were made.

    In any case, that was an extreme situation that a vast majority of nurses would ever be put in to.

    As for a nurse murdering their husband...who doesn't murder their husband nowadays? Seriously though, there are way more stories of Christians going nuts and killing off their children, but I don't go assuming that everyone at church is out to off their kids.

    As for the nurse who stole the identities...yeah this is a huge risk considering how many people have access to sensitive information. Given the numbers, I am surpised this doesn't hit the news more often.

    And yeah, heard a few stories about nurses killing off patients in various situations. So this probably holds the most weight.

    However, to give ya the short answer after all of this...no, I don't think it will have an affect on the general public. But yes, with some people this will hurt the reputation. With that having been said, those same people constantly look over their shoulders for black helicopters and keep locks on their fridges so I'm not too concerned.
  4. by   ranchwife
    Isn't it amazing how when it's a "NURSE" that commits the crime, the whole nations know it was a "NURSE"!!!!!!!!! However, when it's a plumber, an accountant, a banker, a waiter, a school bus driver, a ditch digger (etc, etc) you never see their profession plastered on the front page of the paper!!! Sheeeshhhhhh!!!!!!!!
  5. by   TrudyRN
    [quote=Cosper123;2158916]With the katrina thing, I think most rational people would understand why those nurses did what they did.

    Please remember: At this point, they are only accused. They are not convicted. The 2 are very different.

    Furthermore, a physician was also accused.

    For the OP: there is often 1 story or another circulating about killer nurses, psychopathic nurses, Munchhausen by proxy nurses - like Genene Jones of Texas. Thankfully, she is in prison in Texas and will, hopefully, never get out. She caused the death of, I think, 13 children and adults, by OD'ing them on heparin and by using succinylcholine to give them vaccinations in a pediatrician's office. That story is a marvel in how the hospital where the Heparin OD's occurred noticed a high death rate when she was working but did absolutely nothing about it except eventually fire her. She then went to work for the pediatrician. And think about it - why would a Peds office ever need sux in the office? So was the doctor also nuts or criminal? Or did Jones fake the doc's signature on a drug order or had she somehow stolen sux from the hospital before being fired? Or what?

    A CRNA where I worked a long time ago was stealing Valium from PACU. When it was learned that he was the guilty party, they just fired him and did not go after his license. He went down the road and got a new job that very week. His drug use was personal, as far as I know. But still it is creepy.

    There was a nurse a few years back who walked out of a patient's room and said to her colleagues, "Well, I did it. I killed so-and-so." She is probably still awaiting trial.

    There are nurses like the one portrayed by Kate Jackson yesterday in a Lifetime Movie Network story about a really psycho OB nurse who stole 1 baby and later murdered another mom and ripped the baby from her very womb.

    I guess it should not surprise us that there are mentally ill nurses, for there are mentally ill everywhere. So no, I don't think that the public perception of nurses suffers in general. If I were John Q. Public and knew nothing about nurses, I might be more scared but wouldn't really have much choice if I got sick and needed a nurse.
  6. by   DusktilDawn
    I read about Genene Jones years ago. If I recall correctly, she used other medications beside heparin to harm patients. People that voiced suspicion regarding her were ignored, the same thing happened with Charles Cullen. Those that voiced their suspicion were not only ignored, but labeled as trouble-makers. In fact one nurse was fired for her part in blowing the whistle in regards to Charles Cullen. In both instances, these people were allowed to move onto other jobs.

    I agree with you Trudy, why would a pediatrician's office need succinylcholine. In the Genene Jones case, you think the physician would have clued in something was wrong when kids started coding in her office, how often does that happen?
  7. by   justme1972
    [QUOTE=TrudyRN;2159018]
    Quote from Cosper123
    With the katrina thing, I think most rational people would understand why those nurses did what they did.

    Please remember: At this point, they are only accused. They are not convicted. The 2 are very different.

    Furthermore, a physician was also accused.

    For the OP: there is often 1 story or another circulating about killer nurses, psychopathic nurses, Munchhausen by proxy nurses - like Genene Jones of Texas. Thankfully, she is in prison in Texas and will, hopefully, never get out. She caused the death of, I think, 13 children and adults, by OD'ing them on heparin and by using succinylcholine to give them vaccinations in a pediatrician's office. That story is a marvel in how the hospital where the Heparin OD's occurred noticed a high death rate when she was working but did absolutely nothing about it except eventually fire her. She then went to work for the pediatrician. And think about it - why would a Peds office ever need sux in the office? So was the doctor also nuts or criminal? Or did Jones fake the doc's signature on a drug order or had she somehow stolen sux from the hospital before being fired? Or what?

    A CRNA where I worked a long time ago was stealing Valium from PACU. When it was learned that he was the guilty party, they just fired him and did not go after his license. He went down the road and got a new job that very week. His drug use was personal, as far as I know. But still it is creepy.

    There was a nurse a few years back who walked out of a patient's room and said to her colleagues, "Well, I did it. I killed so-and-so." She is probably still awaiting trial.

    There are nurses like the one portrayed by Kate Jackson yesterday in a Lifetime Movie Network story about a really psycho OB nurse who stole 1 baby and later murdered another mom and ripped the baby from her very womb.

    I guess it should not surprise us that there are mentally ill nurses, for there are mentally ill everywhere. So no, I don't think that the public perception of nurses suffers in general. If I were John Q. Public and knew nothing about nurses, I might be more scared but wouldn't really have much choice if I got sick and needed a nurse.
    I have a cousin that lives in New Orleans and it wasn't long ago that the charges against the nurses and the physician were dropped.

    I wished it had made the national news, because it should have.
  8. by   st4304
    [QUOTE=Hopefull2009;2159508]
    Quote from TrudyRN
    I have a cousin that lives in New Orleans and it wasn't long ago that the charges against the nurses and the physician were dropped.

    I wished it had made the national news, because it should have.
    Thank you! I have been wondering what happened to those nurses and the physician accused. My heart went out to them and everyone involved (accept the prosecutor, of course).

    I guess the charges being dropped is not "newsworthy" or juicy enough to make it to the national media. Sad.

    Sherri
  9. by   mr.ahp
    the reason the media isolates nurses in these situations is because the nurses job, is to do the oposite of what they have been acused of.
  10. by   Antikigirl
    Oh Lordie...yeah, there is a magial filter on careers that need to have ethic and trust that stops all wrongful people from getting in...yeah right, like you have never heard of an MD doing something malicious, a priest doing something horrid, a lawyer, a caregiver, a mother/father....nope, malicious behavoir is a equal opportunity employer!

    When I hear of all the hype of a nurse doing something wrong I realize right away..it is HYPE. The medias attempt at a story that will gain people's attention by shock value. Boring news day perhaps...so I don't give it much credit till I hear the real story...because heck, how many of us here have told stories of wrongful accusations or overreactions of situations we have been involved in and the truth seems to take a back seat?

    And to think that nursing is the most ethical of career paths...oh please, we are HUMAN. I am just an ethical person where I come from, and to some my values are not ethical...so be it...but to candy coat me as far as being some Saint because I am a nurse...oh heck with that! I am a human being first...ME..then a nurse as a career accenting who I already am! The nurse comes second..and dang it...I want people to realize this instead of raising me up a rung or two just because I got a grant to RN school and took it, kept with it, do it well, it fit....and continue it. No actually if you look at it realistically...I got offered a grant..I took it for job security and pay when it was offered, found the other joys later! Ethical? Maybe...but I was NOT going to let anyone down by accepting that grant that could have gone to a person that had always wanted to be a nurse...and I did take that into full consideration...ethical??? Who knows..that is in the eye of the beholder, but I will say my patients, staff do appreciate that I did choose to go!

    Nurses are people, people come with attributes that are both positive and negative...lets educate folks in that simple fact...we are HUMAN, not some sort of saintly figure. Then these shocking stories will not pack the punch and fear they do today!

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