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NY Med - a great reminder about social media and nursing

Posted

Has 1 years experience.

Not sure if anyone else watches NY Med, but on last night's episode, a staff nurse was fired for instagramming a photo of what a trauma room looks like after a patient has been treated. Many people were upset because it didn't violate HIPAA, but it's important to remember terminations for social media are becoming more and more common. So before you post that picture, ask yourself... 1) Would the hospital want me speaking on behalf of their brand? In a former life I did a lot of branding/marketing and just know that many healthcare facilities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars setting forth a very specific image. Yes, NY Presbyterian did allow cameras into their ER, but what was release from that footage is a very carefully crafted, heavily vetted image of what they want people to know about their brand. What the nurse posted was not--she took it upon herself to take a photo while on the job and put it out on a social media platform. Just know that hospitals google themselves on facebook, instagram, etc... and they are looking for anything being said about them - good or bad. 2) is this therapeutic for the patient and their family? I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that seeing a bloody room where their family member was treated was not something that family enjoyed, nor were they probably consult to the photo being posted. If they had been asked, how do you think, "Do you mind if a put a photo of your loved one's treatment room up on my personal instagram?" would have gone over? If the intention behind a photo is self promotion, best save it for another setting. So don't get fired- practice good judgment with social media! New season started last night on ABC. There wasn't a patient in the photo but there was mention of what he was treated for (being hit by 6 train). Given the 24 hour news cycle (and how bad the papers are) it'd be very easy to figure out that patient's name.

Edited by traumaRUs

I didn't realize NY Med was still on. Are they new episodes? What channel?

I cannot imagine taking a picture of a patient and I definitely couldn't imagine taking it and then posting it on social media!

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Wonderful reminder. Even in the days before Social Media (yeah, back in the stone age) employees were prohibited from putting themselves into any sort of public situation (political rally, news interview, demonstration) in which their appearance (uniform, job information, etc) would convey the impression that they were serving as a representative of the organization.

It has always been classified as a 'conflict of interest' to use your employment as a means of personal gain... whether that gain is in the form of a monetary reward, self promotion or public acclaim. Critical thinking is not limited to the bedside.

unicoRNurse

Has 3 years experience.

Ooh, thanks for sharing this example of what not to do -- and for the reminder about NY Med!

I didn't realize NY Med was still on. Are they new episodes? What channel?

I cannot imagine taking a picture of a patient and I definitely couldn't imagine taking it and then posting it on social media!

Thursday nights at 10 on ABC. All new.

sjalv

Specializes in CVICU. Has 1 years experience.

I'm a child of the smartphone generation (I just turned 20) but cannot fathom why any employee would ever take a picture at a hospital and then put it on the Internet. Even if it is a selfie in the clean linens closet.

Many people were upset because it didn't violate HIPAA

I guess I don't understand how people can make that rationale. Her caption on the post said "Man vs. 6 Train". When someone gets hit by the subway, it makes the news. Everyone who saw that picture and read the caption knows exactly who was in that room. Granted, a lot of times the news will say, "Man was transported to 'such-and-such' hospital and is listed in guarded condition", but would you want the trauma room of your loved one plastered all over social media?

I also watched last night episode and it was def a eye opener. I'm happy that the nurse was able to find another job....i can't believe they fired her without warning and she had 5 years plus on the job. I'm happy that you decided to write about the effect of conscience of abusing social media.

I'm happy that the program showed her being fired as a consequence of her actions, not just "Hey and here she is working in a new hospital!" Not even a nurse who made it onto the cover of a national magazine is exempt from hospital policies and regulations regarding social media. I'm sure she's an excellent nurse and she demonstrated that even excellent nurses can make monumentally bad decisions. I'm glad that she found a new job and that NY MED highlighted her experience so that others can benefit by watching what can and will happen if you break the rules.

seconddegreebsn

Has 1 years experience.

I guess I don't understand how people can make that rationale. Her caption on the post said "Man vs. 6 Train". When someone gets hit by the subway, it makes the news. Everyone who saw that picture and read the caption knows exactly who was in that room. Granted, a lot of times the news will say, "Man was transported to 'such-and-such' hospital and is listed in guarded condition", but would you want the trauma room of your loved one plastered all over social media?

Sorry, I should have clarified, she's claiming she didn't violate HIPAA (I guess that's up for discussion and you make good points - see one defense of her here: NY Med Social Media Firing | EMR and HIPAA), and the general attitude in the comments sections seemed to be one of "nurses are not disposable, how dare they fire you!" and not one of pointing how that posting that was probably not the best judgment. I have to wonder what else happened that there was no warning and it went straight to termination - perhaps this was not an isolated case? I have no idea.

Edited by seconddegreebsn

and the general attitude in the comments sections seemed to be one of "nurses are not disposable, how dare they fire you!"

Gotcha, no worries! She did say on the show that "people tried to warn me, and I guess I have a hard head". So either her coworkers, or nurse managers or whoever already warned her I would guess.

It's a tough spot to be, but I think the hospital made the right decision. You have to set a precedence. When would it stop? "Well if so-and-so got away with it, why can't I post anything?"

If I was in the decision process of firing her, I would rather let her go and uphold the accountability and reputation of my hospital/staff and be short a nurse, than to keep her on.

Just some of my thoughts...

Seriously no one should speak of or post any image about their hospital online anywhere, ever. Unless you are the hospital PR rep, don't even think of doing this because no good will come of it. I don't post anything more than "Last night was busy"! and I posted that one time only. I also hide where I am employed by leaving that information blank. My coworkers and family know who I am and where I work, no one else needs to know that information and hiding it could prevent you from being a target for crazy patients or their families.

This is such a simple thing I don't know how long it's going to take everyone to realize that they need to just not do this. Ever.

I forgot to say, as mild as what this transgression seems to be, if I was in the hospital's place I too would have terminated this person. Not to do so sets a precedent that this is OK to do. If it's OK this time they why would it be wrong to post a picture of what an empty room looks like right after a code? And on and on it would go.

Just because HIPAA wasn't broken means nothing at all.

Miss.LeoRN

Specializes in Cardiac Stepdown, PCU.

Okay I have a question. During our orientation recently we were told/lead to believe that even just taking a picture in ANY patient/treatment area of the hospital was a HIPAA violation. Is that not accurate? NOT THAT I EVER INTEND TO! It could just be a hospital policy, and it's in general I would say a great policy - but they really drilled into us a fear of not even taking a picture in the cafeteria because there could be patients in there.

pooh1258

Has 1 years experience.

Look at it this way - would YOU want someone taking pictures of you to post on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, if you were in that situation? That's how I judge any "questionable" post. I know I wouldn't want pictures taken of me in my most vulnerable moments, let alone posted for the whole world to see without my permission, regardless of whether you can see my name, DOB, face, etc. Then again, some people probably wouldn't care.

pooh1258

Has 1 years experience.

After seeing the picture she posted, I have to ask, did she post it immediately after he was taken out of the room? I could see how the hospital would be upset at the fact that the "man" might have had family that didn't know at that time, etc. However, there doesn't really appear to be a HIPAA issue considering there's not a patient in the picture (the label does give it away though but on the technicalities of HIPAA- not a violation)! Was the picture the right thing to do at that time, probably not, especially with that label, but to be fired for a picture of the chaos left over in a room after a trauma....I think there's more to the story.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Okay I have a question. During our orientation recently we were told/lead to believe that even just taking a picture in ANY patient/treatment area of the hospital was a HIPAA violation. Is that not accurate? NOT THAT I EVER INTEND TO! It could just be a hospital policy, and it's in general I would say a great policy - but they really drilled into us a fear of not even taking a picture in the cafeteria because there could be patients in there.

HIPAA protects a person's protected health information (PHI). It applies to individuals only.

She did state that she had been warned about her social media posts a number of time previously.