'My Patient died' Facebook post

  1. I posted on Facebook, "for the first time in my nursing career I had to call a family and tell them their mother died". Somebody that knows where o work replied "hopefully not my aunt". Is this a HIPPA violation on my aunt?
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    About miladaniels

    Joined: Jul '12; Posts: 13; Likes: 6

    42 Comments

  3. by   Wuzzie
    No. But you should really just take it down. It's quite possible it could turn into one if people start offering up information and since it's your post you're responsible for it. Really. Just take it down and refrain from posting about work/patients at all.
  4. by   egglady
    Why would you feel the need to put that on social media?
  5. by   Rose_Queen
    A) Best not to post about work at all on social media
    B) Unless that person learned about someone being hospitalized through a job at a covered entity, no. The general public is not held to the standard that employees are.
  6. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    I'm confused. The person's aunt is your aunt? ("Is this a HIPAA violation on my aunt?")

    But I'm going to try to answer this.

    The person who commented was not violating HIPAA unless that person is providing care to the patient. Family members are not held to HIPAA law.

    I am in the minority when I say that posting about work on social media is not necessarily a bad thing (unless your employer expressly forbids it) but there are ways to post things without giving an inclination of to whom you are referring. I can understand how posting something helps you come to terms with it and the responses you get may help validate your experience and see that you are supported and valued.

    What I do (and I know, I'm weird!) I find song lyrics or a quote that sums up my feelings (or hey, even a meme!) but in no way will tell anyone who your patient is.

    One day I came home and couldn't get my one patient out of my head. I was so worried about her and felt the need for some sort of outlet. So I found a long quote from the Wonder Years and posted it. No one knew what the heck it really meant but I still got feedback and I knew who it was about.
  7. by   Truth_be-told
    We bottle in a great deal of stress and pressure and have very few people to talk to about it. It is tempting to vent on FB but seeing your employers like to spy on you and think they have the right to check up on your facebook account, be well advised to post under an alias like I do. Different name, city, age, etc. If you are job searching, deactivate your account. Set your privacy settings to "friends only" so your managers and employers cannot see how much you hate them or suggest that they step in and help out on the floor more often. Asking them to help or asking to be treated fairly are 2 sure fire ways to get yourself harassed or fired in this profession.
  8. by   Rose_Queen
    Quote from Truth_be-told
    We bottle in a great deal of stress and pressure and have very few people to talk to about it. It is tempting to vent on FB but seeing your employers like to spy on you and think they have the right to check up on your facebook account, be well advised to post under an alias like I do. Different name, city, age, etc. If you are job searching, deactivate your account. Set your privacy settings to "friends only" so your managers and employers cannot see how much you hate them or suggest that they step in and help out on the floor more often. Asking them to help or asking to be treated fairly are 2 sure fire ways to get yourself harassed or fired in this profession.
    When it's out there on social media, it can be viewed publicly if settings are not tight enough. The employers aren't out to get anyone, and in fact the vast majority of people who post inappropriately on social media are turned in by those on their friends list.
  9. by   SobreRN
    Not posting anything more specific than what I do for a living is what I post on FB. Given I live in a small town I have seen people I know in passing being booked in; I never mention in social media or anywhere else on patient status.
    I stick with photos of flowers, snow, wildlife, cute grandchild pictures etc...posting about patients is fraught with pitfalls/ potential HIPAA violations; best to steer clear of any patient posts. Best to take down that post.
  10. by   CBlover
    First of all, its HIPAA, not HIPPA. Second, sounds like a homework question. And no your aunt didn't violate HIPAA but you can by posting stuff like this. Leave work completely out of social media. Period.
  11. by   psu_213
    Probably not a HIPAA violation, but I think you are best never posting anything about work on FB. I had a NM that talked to us, as a unit, and said that not to post about patients, not to post anything negative about the hospital, doctors, etc. She said it would be OK to say "I had a really tough day at work today." I mentioned this to a friend who is a nursing educator. She said, even this is not a great thing to post. She tells her students to not post anything work related on FB--even the "tough day" comment could be taken out of context by a potential employer, and they could look at someone as a whiny employee. In a competitive job market, the hospital could just steer clear of hiring someone like that.

    In addition, a potential employer could look at the "tough day" comment and think, "oh, great, someone who is going to put their thoughts on work on social media," and, again, go with someone else. Why take the chance.
  12. by   Alex_RN
    Everyone should review their privacy settings from time to time.
  13. by   Been there,done that
    Be vigilant regarding confidentiality. The post itself is not a HIPAA violation,yet, as there are no patient identifiers. As you said, people know where you work, some of THEM might know people admitted to your facility... and piece together who you are referring to.
    Your facility could see that as a breach.

    Your username and avatar appear to be your real name and actual photo. We are anonymous here on AN to protect ourselves and our patient's privacy.
  14. by   Tenebrae
    In IMO its very close to being a violation of confidentiality. All that needs to happen is for someone to know where you are working, or know what ward you are on and it would be easy to figure out. Also if someone from your work read that they may well see that as a violation


    Sometimes you want to have a vent, make a noise, or express feelings about what has happened at work

    The sky gained another star this morning. Conundrum of palliative care feeling relieved when it's all over
    This is as much as I would ever post about loosing a patient at work

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