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Ethical Question

Nurses   (1,441 Views | 20 Replies)
by JK123 JK123 Member Nurse Student

JK123 specializes in Informatics/Med Surg/Psych.

275 Profile Views; 16 Posts

Hi everyone,

Let's say there is a psych patient that attempts suicide. Then a coworker takes a picture with his or her phone of the blood, sends it to another coworker, and then that coworker shows it to me at a later date. 

Would I be ethically bound to report that to my immediate supervisor?

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

6 Followers; 13,247 Posts; 59,364 Profile Views

Yes ... assuming that your immediate supervisor is the proper person to report it to.   To simply let the improper behavior go on to who knows what end would be a violation of your obligation to uphold the standards of the profession.

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JK123 specializes in Informatics/Med Surg/Psych.

16 Posts; 275 Profile Views

Thank you so much for your timely response. I agree.

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Tenebrae has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative.

1 Article; 1,470 Posts; 11,000 Profile Views

Unless there is a clear clinical reason for a photo document eg documenting the progress of a wound or something else, people shouldn't be taking photos in the work place. 

And if a person does take a photo, it should be with documented permission of the patient and only used by people who have involvement in the patients care

People do some stuff without thinking. I'm all for giving people a second chance. Personally my first approach would be to remind your co worker about this and that they need to delete the photo. If they dont, or do it again, then thats when you should take it up with chain of command

 

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12 Followers; 3,815 Posts; 28,781 Profile Views

I would stay out of it. But I probably wouldn't have seen it to begin with because I could not care less about what anyone wants to show me on their phone so try to steer clear of people who tend to be obsessed with such things.

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FacultyRN has 12 years experience.

85 Posts; 654 Profile Views

Yes, that warrants reporting. I am disgusted that 2 nurses would think it was acceptable to take a picture of such a scene and share it/keep it on their phones for personal entertainment. Ew.  I would hope both nurses involved lose their jobs at a minimum, as anyone who thinks suicide attempts are entertaining shouldn't be working with mental health patients. Is this a real scenario or hypothetical?

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SilverBells is a BSN and specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager.

20 Posts; 243 Profile Views

Oh, yes.  Completely inappropriate.  There was no medical/documentation need for taking that picture, violating privacy.  And it shows insensitivity to the patient and his or her situation.  

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Puppy Kisses specializes in RHIT with a crap load of medical experience..

13 Posts; 105 Profile Views

If you do not say something and it comes out that you knew, you will also be in trouble. 

Edited by Puppy Kisses

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Nurse SMS has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,106 Posts; 48,197 Profile Views

Absolutely you should say something. Good for you for recognizing it. Shame on them. Other people's crises are not our entertainment.

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JK123 specializes in Informatics/Med Surg/Psych.

16 Posts; 275 Profile Views

Thank you all for your responses. The consensus is what I hoped for, that reporting something like this is the right action to take.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

3 Followers; 4,290 Posts; 31,047 Profile Views

On 12/9/2019 at 12:51 PM, JK123 said:

Hi everyone,

Let's say there is a psych patient that attempts suicide. Then a coworker takes a picture with his or her phone of the blood, sends it to another coworker, and then that coworker shows it to me at a later date. 

Would I be ethically bound to report that to my immediate supervisor?

Assuming there was no identifying information, and it was a picture of "blood" and not an actual patient, I would say, "I'm going to pretend that you never showed me that." and walk away.
At a later time, I'd offer helpful reminders and advice that they would hopefully take.

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1 Follower; 346 Posts; 3,326 Profile Views

While I agree that it was inappropriate, I don't believe every inappropriate action warrants reporting. If it was an extreme instance of recording patients and uploading it on a website, then yes absolutely. I believe you should discuss this matter with the person who showed you the picture. In the future, probably be wary of this person and establish boundaries. 

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