Ethical Question

Posted
by Patient Patient Member

As my screen handle says, I have been a patient far too many times in my life. Those experiences are why I need to ask this question. I work with a woman who has been going to nursing school for the past 3 years and will graduate in May. She is a great book learner and technician from what I can determine, however, I have serious doubts about her personality being suited to any area of the medical profession that requires patient contact.

Since this student began clinicals, everyone within earshot has been treated to stories about her patients. She believes that she is not violating HIPPA laws because she does not name names. The stories she tells are always something to do with patient's reproductive and elimination areas, and are told for their titillating value with absolutely no sense of sympathy or empathy. Apparently she is not alone as she states many of her co-students engage in the same behavior - at the hospital!

Should this woman actually become a full-fledged nurse, she has a lifetime of material for getting her jollies. Many people, myself included, have told her to knock it off but she just doesn't get it. In all of the humiliating procedures I've had to endure in my lifetime, I have NEVER been treated with anything but courtesy, respect and professionalism by workers in the medical community. I understand that there will be a certain amount of joking from time to time just to release some tension, but this woman is far and away abusing the trust of her patients.

Now my question: I've warned her several times to stop telling tales out of school but they continue. Would it be out of order for me to call the school and ask them to hammer some ethics into their students?

Katnip, RN

2,904 Posts

Talk to her clinical instructor if you can.

I can't say for sure, since I haven't heard what she says, but it does sound like she's out of line. And you don't have to name names to violate HIPAA.

purplemania

purplemania, BSN, RN

2,617 Posts

it is an attention getter and shows a lack of maturity and good judgement. Regardless of whether or not she continues to talk this way on the job, she will probably exhibit immaturity and poor judgement in other areas. I believe she will have a tough time once she gets employed.

Antikigirl

Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience. 2,595 Posts

Some people use humor to overcome uncomfortable situations, and I find if I hear a medic poking humor at folks it could be that they are uncomfortable or nervous about something, or they don't understand the amount of power Nurses have with just a simple phrase.

Most times this passes, or if management is allowed to hear that you have heard others doing this (as you said..it isn't just that one...others are following suit)...maybe a memo out to remind folks that this is inappropriate and people will be listening out for it it may change.

We had a rash of this happen at my facility when we had some VERY bad blood between admin and medical staff...it wasn't to hurt patients although it does, but when a memo came out reminding folks not to do this..it certainly quelled. In our case medic staff was so intimidated and feeling so down that they forgot they were actually professionals, and needed to knock that off. Sadly it took time for the wounds admin did to staff to heal, but things are back. I also found that most of the comments were to lighten up the spirits with humor, or people were simply so upset it didn't matter anymore (kind of the old 'fine fire me' deal..but not the way to go about it).

Talk with your admin staff and tell them you have heard several people speaking of residents outside the clinical sence. I wouldn't name names at first, because you can get some pretty angry people at you, and that isn't your intention either. If nothing comes of it...start singing names I guess.

I am a rather vocal person about this subject, and I do tell folks "hey, that is not professional and you may want to think about who that would embarress if that was to get back to them!?!?! Or, what management may do if they heard you???". That usually will quell things, but the staff knows me well (and I am one of their bosses) and value what I say...other nurses at my facility...heck no, wouldn't go as smoothly. Finding someone most folks trust and maybe put a buzz in their ear to pass around helps too..but keep it professional not grapevine gossip.

KKay

KKay

4 Posts

What this "nurse" is doing is so incredibly immoral it needs immediate attention taken to stop it. It is not and should not be excused by "letting off tension" or " blowing off steam" Yes, we all have had our moments of doing that but any nurse who is professional will talk to one good friend nurse during a break and in a secluded space somewhere like the nurses lounge and out fo earshot of others. I would start and I mean just start with talking to the charge nurse on the unit, then I would follow up with a letter (letters alwasys get paid attention to) to the nurse manager , the dean of the nursing school she attends and the president of the hospital. HIPPA or not this so very wrong and needs to be immediately stopped, she might be a fabulous nurse otherwise and it would be a shame for this to be the cause of her dismissal down the road. You would be doing her a favor whether she thinks so or not. And please don't worry none of what I have said to do will be the cause of any major problems or her not finishing school. She at most will be reprimanded with note in her file. But most of all it hopefully will show her how exptremely important it is to respect all patients in all respects. Good luck to you and i'll keep you in my prayers that you won't be a patient long enough to feel like you have to address this kind of issue but I am so glad you did take the time. Thank you for keep us on our toes.

As my screen handle says, I have been a patient far too many times in my life. Those experiences are why I need to ask this question. I work with a woman who has been going to nursing school for the past 3 years and will graduate in May. She is a great book learner and technician from what I can determine, however, I have serious doubts about her personality being suited to any area of the medical profession that requires patient contact.

Since this student began clinicals, everyone within earshot has been treated to stories about her patients. She believes that she is not violating HIPPA laws because she does not name names. The stories she tells are always something to do with patient's reproductive and elimination areas, and are told for their titillating value with absolutely no sense of sympathy or empathy. Apparently she is not alone as she states many of her co-students engage in the same behavior - at the hospital!

Should this woman actually become a full-fledged nurse, she has a lifetime of material for getting her jollies. Many people, myself included, have told her to knock it off but she just doesn't get it. In all of the humiliating procedures I've had to endure in my lifetime, I have NEVER been treated with anything but courtesy, respect and professionalism by workers in the medical community. I understand that there will be a certain amount of joking from time to time just to release some tension, but this woman is far and away abusing the trust of her patients.

Now my question: I've warned her several times to stop telling tales out of school but they continue. Would it be out of order for me to call the school and ask them to hammer some ethics into their students?

rnmi2004

rnmi2004

Specializes in private duty/home health, med/surg. Has 10+ years experience. 534 Posts

My gosh...has this person not seen any of the HIPAA videos? You don't have to name names to be violating their privacy (& therefore, the HIPAA laws). If you give details about the situation, a friend or family member within earshot could easily figure out who the anecdote is referring to, & complain to the facility. I'm pretty sure any hospital would be VERY ticked off to learn that this is going on.

You did the mature thing in trying to speak with her about it first. I don't know what to suggest as far as the next step. Good luck with the situation.

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