I maybe in trouble, HIPPA Violation

  1. 0
    It might be easier to discuss what I know about HIPPA. I am a nursing student to begin with. From what I've learned is that sharing patient information with those who are not directly involved with that patient's care is wrong. Talking about the patient even when there is no mention with names or any way to identify the patient is even wrong whether it be in an elevator or any other place.

    My infraction:

    In this world we now share our thoughts and beliefs with the online world, Facebook is something that so many people utilize now to stay in touch with friends and family. Unfortunately I made a posting about my experience that day in the healtch care setting. I spoked about how I got to see preocedures and aid in it, how I felt about it, the way I smelt after wards. I wrote all of that unknowingly that I was violating HIPPA because I had not mentioned names, I wasn't speaking about any specific patients it was gross because I had talked about smelling like vagina and onions(the onions coming from my sandwhich really not the patient), I didn't mention where I was working at they were strictly reflections of my experience. The content of it was inappropriately gross but I didnt' feel like there was a violation that I had comitted. In essence it was offensive to some people and it came near the line of violating HIPPA, one of my class mates had reported me to my program coordinator and I am having to write a paper for him citing how I will correct myself and what interventions I plan on doing. My coordinator also told me that there will be a punishment that I will learn later in few days before lecture. He will discuss his interview with me to other people to decide what the punishment will be, I'm scared of being thrown out of the program or worse, delaying or not allowing me to graduate or sit for the NCLEX. I'm scared of not being able to graduate and delaying my time. What could happen to me?
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  4. 51 Comments so far...

  5. 17
    Anything you mentioned could happen.. No need to worry because it will not change the outcome. The best thing to do is own up to the unprofessional post, never do it again and when you have your meeting explain how much you have learned from this...While your post did not name anyone it was unprofessional and some employers as well as school's take offence to such comments. FB is not the place to mention such things..

    If you post anything on FB, keep it short, sweet and positive..

    Vagina's and onions, that's offensive and shows a lack of professionalism.

    When you do your paper, it's HIPAA
    Chin up, Sparrowhawk, leapout, and 14 others like this.
  6. 6
    Good day:

    https://www.ncsbn.org/NCSBN_SocialMedia.pdf is a good read.

    In terms of any social media -- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. -- remember some key points:

    1. The information you post typically belongs to the place you post (this is not necessarily a copyright discussion item; just they have the data, and currently have a lot of leeway as to what they can do with the data).

    2. Never assume any privacy when posting on a social media network even when using privacy settings; see #1.

    3. Google indexes everything; and there are other search engines as well that do not respect any robot settings. This ties into the 1st two points above. If the network doesn't release it, chances are high other search engines have a copy anyway (that they can release, sell, etc.).

    The above stated as general rules of thumb, based on "one of my class mates had reported me" I would remove all class mates from your social media areas (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) OR use the privacy settings that they are in their own group... and you take extreme care what you share to that group.

    While I've been on the receiving end of HIPPA, and I'm sure I'll learn more about it should I get accepted into nursing school, what you shared that you posted should be explainable in terms of it not really being a violation.

    I strongly agree with Sun0408 concerning being professional on any network.

    In 2012, there was a Gallup survey once again ranking registered nurses (RNs) as the most trusted profession, based upon their honesty and ethical standards.

    That is something to strive to live up to over time.

    Thank you.
    flexiseal, tewdles, GrnTea, and 3 others like this.
  7. 4
    Honestly, my classmates and I ranted and raved all through school about the crazy stuff we saw (minus patient identifiers, of course). With HIPAA these days, however, it's not terribly surprising a school would react to benign FB posts. It's a shame that your classmate tattled, and hopefully that person will be removed from your friends list.

    Most people will give you advice along the lines of "don't have a FB, and if you do, post nothing negative," but I don't agree with that. I just don't add co-workers or anyone who I don't want to see my ranting and raving. I also don't use my real name on FB, or display pics of myself. Just because I'm a nurse doesn't mean I forfeit the right to have an online presence and opinions that aren't sunshine and rainbows.
    SleeepyRN, NurseDirtyBird, CareQueen, and 1 other like this.
  8. 6
    Quote from Sun0408
    Anything you mentioned could happen.. No need to worry because it will not change the outcome. The best thing to do is own up to the unprofessional post, never do it again and when you have your meeting explain how much you have learned from this...While your post did not name anyone it was unprofessional and some employers as well as school's take offence to such comments. FB is not the place to mention such things..

    If you post anything on FB, keep it short, sweet and positive..

    Vagina's and onions, that's offensive and shows a lack of professionalism.

    When you do your paper, it's HIPAA
    Sun0408: You said exactly everything I wanted to say and I'd give you extra "likes" if I could.

    OP: I don't think the issue was HIPAA violation in as much as it was a monstrous display of poor judgment... which does not bode well for you as a nursing student.
    You gotta gotta gotta have self-control and good judgment.
    Good luck.
    Altra, tewdles, BeesMama, and 3 others like this.
  9. 3
    Sun408,

    Thank you for your response. If I didn't make myself clear, I did have the meeting with him already and he told me at the end of the meeting that there will be a punishment he doens't know what it is but he will let me know in a few days after discussing the matter with other people or maybe the BON.

    I did own up the unprofessional posting, I removed it immediately after my classmate called me and told me that students were talking about me. I didn't realize what I had done and that even the content of what I wrote, regardless if it did not mention patient identification is still a big slap on the hand and it's not right. I got too comfortable with writing and saying whatever was on my mind, realizing my entire world was on display classmates and friends/family. I didn't conduct myself professionally. I also didn't 100% understand the rules and terms of HIPAA and being ethical as a nurse....even though I thought it was ok to share what I wanted without revealing information. I apologized for embarassing myself and the school, and I appreciate the corrections he's working with me. I just want to keep doing what I"m doing and enjoy it still being within limits. People talk too much in this world and they interpret things very differently I should've not been so naive and stupid.

    Thank you thoughfor the support.
  10. 4
    Quote from nekozuki
    It's a shame that your classmate tattled, and hopefully that person will be removed from your friends list.
    It is a shame OP was tattled on, but you can't really run around posting about your pt's onion/vagina issues... it's just tacky and someone is likely to take offense... or want to cause trouble.
    You can post what you want, but just be ready what can happen after you do.
    evolvingrn, psu_213, KelRN215, and 1 other like this.
  11. 4
    I just want to say thank you for the responses, all of you. I am very worried about myself. I do have a heart, a great big heart and I love being with people and caring for them, I never want to hurt anyone and I've done that untentionally. I should take extra precautions now and rethink about who I want to add to my social network.
    Chin up, SleeepyRN, OCNRN63, and 1 other like this.
  12. 8
    Although unprofessional, I don't see where a HIPAA violation was made.
    leapout, OCNRN63, applewhitern, and 5 others like this.
  13. 0
    BostonFNP,

    I just try not to question things as it was a very intense and sticky situation in that office, if the Program director says I've violated it then I must have. My future is in their hands. The last thing I want to do is go and probe into "what did I violate?" with the Director.

    FYI, I love Np's and what they do, you guys are amazing.


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