Lost job over HIPAA violation, what is employment potential? - page 4

Hi a relative of mine was an RN. She just lost her job over a HIPAA violation. She took a cellphone picture of a patient and sent it to a friend. She later had a falling out with the friend and he... Read More

  1. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    0
    Quote from sequin121
    This is not an usual situation, unfortunately. Picture taking, posting pictures and information to facebook pages, etc seems to be done with little to no thought. Do I think most of these nurses are disrespectful or malicious? No! I think they just don't think. And having camera phones, at the ready, makes these mistakes so much easier. In my opinion, cell phones should stay in the locker (unless required for your job) and only accessible at breaks and lunch. That all being said...here is my two cents. Your relative made a mistake...an error in judgement. Life didn't end and there was no bad outcome to the patient. Was it wrong? Yes. Was it the worst that she could do, as I nurse? No. My thinking is that her hospital felt the same way or they wouldn't have given the resignation option. Frankly, I'm glad that she is feeling this nervous and remorseful. It shows that she recognizes the error and likely won't make it again. Isn't that the lesson we want from any mistake?

    At my hospital, all reference checks come through the personnel dept. and they only give dates of employment and job title. Your relative may want to check her hospital's reference policy before she goes job hunting. Also, even though she would reflect as a voluntary resignation and doesn't HAVE to disclose the reason for termination, it is wise for her to be honest during the interview process. The nursing community can be quite small and if she was hired and her new employer heard this information from someone else, it would be worse for her.

    I think she can work again as a nurse but as mentioned, in this column, it's a tight market. Good luck to her!



    Big City or small town....the nursoing community is not only small it is incestous!!!!!!! Has anyone ever gone to a seminar or dinner for nurses or nurse administrators or your state's nursing governing board or organization? I have and I will tell you I have heard on several occasions discussion where the "children" are employed followed by laughter because "better you then me!" Ha Ha Ha......I don't find this funny but it is very true.....sad but true.


    "What does not kill us makes us stronger" Nietzsche
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  3. Visit  SENSUALBLISSINFL profile page
    0
    Quote from sequin121
    your relative may want to check her hospital's reference policy before she goes job hunting. also, even though she would reflect as a voluntary resignation and doesn't have to disclose the reason for termination, it is wise for her to be honest during the interview process. the nursing community can be quite small and if she was hired and her new employer heard this information from someone else, it would be worse for her.
    i agree, her best bet is to be honest, this shows integrity on her part. i know you do not seek lectures, but you must understand you cannot post a serious action like this and not expect someone to give their two cents at such an act. while i am merely a nurse student, i know this already and i could not think of any reason that would possess me to take a photograph with my cell phone on a patient without consent, much less fowarding it to someone else. it took the threat of her so called friend for her to
    actually come clean to her employer on the matter, had this not happened, she would not have admitted her error and there would have been no lesson learned. do i think she should abandon nursing as a career? no, but since she as a rn knew this was illegal, she should at the very least be fined or something of that sort. fired? well, not sure how long she was at this hospital, perhaps a suspension and some re-training would have been fine. i know the seriousness of this, so to say it was "harmless" is out of place. yes, no one died, but a confidentiality violation was committed. and while you; as a friend, must be supportive, honesty among friends is imperative and i can understand your sympathy for her being the only breadwinner and the support of her family, but this action was caused by her and the hospital has the right to proceed according to their protocol. i am sorry, if i am coming harsh, is not my intention.
    i do wish her the best.
  4. Visit  GLORIAmunchkin72 profile page
    0
    "This is a Federal Offense...your friend may not have had malicious intent, but this was very serious.
    She was fortunate to be allowed to resign, there was a very real chance of an arrest and fines or worse."

    So many people own cellphones with cameras and without meaning to do any harm snap pictures at work with patients or residents. Little do they know about the implications. There are, however, those who take videos or snap pictures with intent to document a complaint.
  5. Visit  hubcap56 profile page
    2
    All I can say is, "Wow!" I can't imagine a circumstance in which it would seem like a good idea to take a photo of even part of a patient and send it to a "friend." And I deliberately put the word friend in quotes because, given the narrative of the OP, I strongly suspect it was a boyfriend as, in my experience at least, male-female friendships do not typically end up with falling outs that lead to threats of career-destroying actions.

    I have enjoyed good health thus far in my life but my wife was hit by a drunk driver many years ago and has had more than her share of surgeries and hospital stays. She hates having her picture taken even on a good day when she is all dressed up -- the idea that some nurse might take a picture of her in the hospital (to entertain herself or her male friend?) is really offensive.

    Some responders have mentioned additional HIPPA training and CEU for this nurse. Would everyone who knew before they ever heard of HIPPA that taking a photo of a patient for entertainment was morally wrong and degrading to the patient please raise their hand.
    subee and ittibittinurse like this.
  6. Visit  krazylady profile page
    3
    I am unsure where people are getting information that it is against the law to give out truthful information on reference checks. I worked for over 20 years in the human resources field before deciding to pursue nursing. I have worked in Maryland and New York, as well as handling offices in several other states. To the best of my knowledge, there is no law that says you can't discuss a former employees performance, whether they were fired, etc.

    However, most employers chose not to give information since they are afraid of getting sued. Even though the suit may be frivolous, it still winds up costing employers a ton of money.

    The company I worked for believed in total honesty and did not hesitate to give honest reference checks, including if the person was fired and what they might have been fired for. This also worked the other way, in not being afraid to give glowing references for our star employees.
    Jolie, Batman25, and hubcap56 like this.
  7. Visit  Future_Nurse007 profile page
    0
    Here in Dallas, there is something known as GroupOne. Every hospital in the DFW area uses it as a background check on an RN as part of the hiring process. I don't know how widespread it is for other states/areas, but they can pretty much black list nurses for almost any reason. I would think a HIPPA violation if posted to her record there would pretty much end her career...
  8. Visit  minirn profile page
    1
    Although the original poster said no lecture needed - and I see we got lots of lectures - I urge the OP not to be upset about these comments and advice. Even though you and your relative may not have needed it - the feedback is none the less helpful to others. Obviously we all need reminded about the importance of HIPAA. And the reminder of a close call (meaning it happened to someone else and we are only hearing about it) sometimes hits home more than a legal session at our hospital. I know this opened my eyes. I'm sorry for the nurse it happened to, but thank you for posting.
    knitsocks77 likes this.
  9. Visit  nursenow profile page
    2
    Wow! Taking a photo of a patient under any circumstances without their signed consent? Then sending it to a friend? That is a perfect example of that old saying "Just because you get through nursing school doesn't mean you have what it takes to be a nurse". (Yep, another lecture)
    Last edit by nursenow on Jun 16, '10
    minirn and hubcap56 like this.
  10. Visit  worldtraveler profile page
    0
    First off and if your RN Relative has not already done so, she needs to consult with a Competent Labor Law Issue/Rights Attorney. That should have been done from Day One before she resigned.There may(key word)be in her state options available to her she is not aware of as there can be a lot of "gray area" in the laws and how they are applied. In my state of Residence, I have seen far more serious offenses(pt endangerment, pt abandonment) by Nurses with much less of a consequence(s) then what happened to your relative. IMO, the Board of Nursing would have to have Concrete proof(such as the Picture you mention) before they could take a board action against your relative. As it is now, the Hospital has circumstantial evidence at best against your relative.

    Any chance your relative was a CNA or LPN or any held other type of healthcare licensure? If so she could work on her other type of License as her current problem deals with her work as an RN. These are options and may or may not apply. Good Luck to her.

    If anyone else finds themself in a similiar situation, please consult with a Attorney Before getting fired, submitting a resignation ect. Find out what your legal rights are before making a rash & hasty decision which you may regret for a lifetime. This particular situation as to the options given by management to this Nurse does not, IMO, pass the smell test. Years ago, a lifetime really I was in an employment situation(non-nursing) with options similiar to your relatives'. I had a meeting with the Department head but I hired an Attorney out of my pocket and she accompanied me to the meeting. Other options were made available at the meeting and I was also able to recieve Umemployment Benefits in the end. I'm not sure these "options" would have been made available to me had this Labor Attorney not been present. Unemployment Benefits may be an Option to your Relative as well. Check it out please.
    Last edit by worldtraveler on Jun 16, '10 : Reason: add
  11. Visit  ittibittinurse profile page
    2
    Rocky Mountain High, If you did not want to be lectured by us nurses then you should not have posted on this site. What your relative did was morally reprehensible. Nurses are held to a very high standard, which your relative apparently does not understand. I doubt she has an exemplary nursing career if she can pull a stunt like this especially when she was supposed to be adovcating and protecting a patient. I am sure this relative has done some things while nursing that were unethical...you just do not know about them.This is very disturbing and makes those of us who are extremely ethical look very bad. As for her gaining employment...good luck...the nursing community is very tight and we talk among ourselves about nurses just like your relative and we make sure our employers know about nurses like her. She should turn herself in to the state board before someone else does and take her medicine and then maybe seek employment. Above all, your relative should tell the truth about what she did and why...and if someone takes a chance on her great...we all make mistakes but this one takes the cake...this is the second worse violation I have ever heard a nurse commit....As for employment opportunities for nurses...I have had at least 6 offers in three weeks....If you are willing to work in any area of nursing you can get a job....seems like new nurses and nurses younger than 40 don't really want to work as nurses...nursing requires working long, unpopular shifts, call time, holidays, etc...it is what you sign up for when you become a nurse....so get out there and get a job...
    hubcap56 and SWS RN like this.
  12. Visit  StudentNurse2011 profile page
    0
    A previous employer usually isn't allowed to disclose details (of course, that may vary according to company policy). They're only allowed to give the dates of employment, job held (title), salary as of termination, and whether or not that person is eligible for rehire. Since she quit voluntarily, she doesn't have to put on an application WHY she quit, but the fact that she's not eligible for rehire usually says a lot to a potential employer. Assuming that she learned a VERY valuable lesson, she'll have to come up with a good story to match the fact that she quit but is no longer eligible for rehire.

    That being said, it's been my experience that the medical community is pretty small - even in larger cities. The hospital grapevine is alive and well - and it's not limited to just that hospital. There's a real good chance that the story will make it to other hospitals.
    Last edit by StudentNurse2011 on Jun 16, '10 : Reason: to add explanation
  13. Visit  roser13 profile page
    7
    Quote from krazylady
    I am unsure where people are getting information that it is against the law to give out truthful information on reference checks. I worked for over 20 years in the human resources field before deciding to pursue nursing. I have worked in Maryland and New York, as well as handling offices in several other states. To the best of my knowledge, there is no law that says you can't discuss a former employees performance, whether they were fired, etc.

    However, most employers chose not to give information since they are afraid of getting sued. Even though the suit may be frivolous, it still winds up costing employers a ton of money.

    The company I worked for believed in total honesty and did not hesitate to give honest reference checks, including if the person was fired and what they might have been fired for. This also worked the other way, in not being afraid to give glowing references for our star employees.
    I am "quoting" this posting simply to emphasize the misconceptions that are out there regarding reference checks. I am frustrated daily by postings here that misadvise others on what employer reference checks "can" and "cannot" say.
    nursel56, Jolie, BabyLady, and 4 others like this.
  14. Visit  worldtraveler profile page
    0
    Roser13--I feel your frustration as well. That is why in my post a few posts back I wrote anyone finding themselves in a life changing situation as the OP's relative, seek Legal Advice before making any rash decisions. What's that old saying ? "Decisions made in haste rarely result(s) in a good decision(s). In this day & age you need to make yourself aware of what your rights are under the law as too many times employees are railroaded into a decision based on faulty info that may or not be their best legal option. I made a deal years ago with my Attorney that I would not practice law and she agreed not to practice Nursing. lol Caveat Emptor


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