NY Med - a great reminder about social media and nursing


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Has 1 years experience.

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.


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.


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.


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.

I would like to post some comments on my behalf.

1.) The picture i posted didnt violate the hospital social media policy or HIPPAA.

2.) the picture I posted was actually originally posted by a doctor who also worked in the ER a week earlier. I was scrolling through his TL a week later, saw the photo and decided it was a strong picture and screen shot it and reposted it on my page. Nothing ever happened to the MD who posted the picture.

3.) in the 7 years I was there at NYP I was NEVER written up or warned about any social media postings and in fact the three nurses on the TV show were ENCOURAGED to make posts and maintain online presence to promote the show and in fact the PR department at the hospital started our pages for us each and told us to stay active and as long as we don't speak negative about the hospital or violate policy or HIPPAA----which I never did. I have also never had any issues with my employment record- I chaired committees and I also was the leader for Quality Improvement in the ER and I was a charge nurse and preceptor and triage nurse. I received a promotion 6 months before I was fired. I had one issue where a VIP patient complained about me when I didn't rush her right into the ER (our census was 154 I had no space for stable patients), but other than that- my record and ALL of my yearly reviews were Strong and even Exceeds standard.

So - lets be honest-- I am in the spotlight, and when you are in that spotlight you are under a microscope and you have to try to please everyone and you're held to a different set of standards. Is this fair- not exactly, but it comes with the territory. I have never received any formal or informal PR training and at the end of the day- we all make mistakes, and we must learn from them. I never thought that post would offend anyone and my intentions were genuine, however- that's what I have learned from this all is that sometimes we must venture our thought process outside "what we think" may or may not be okay. NYP is not union, and another very unfortunate issue is that when you're on TV people you work with- even after 7 years- WILL BE jealous and people can change. With that being said- do the math.

Losing your job suddenly and unexpectedly is not just a nursing thing- its a human thing. But we have to Deal With It. along with every other trial that we face as grown ups. I believe that there are a lot of issues that this profession needs to work on and especially with how nurses are portrayed in the media and on TV. I mention water at the nursing station as one because my union hospital ALLOWS us to have closed water bottles at the desk and so its not exactly a strictly regulated OSHA law-- this is just a random example. But something deeper is ---- why is it that a nurse gets fired, yes the MD who originally posted the pic NEVER even got a talking to? There is a double standard here and that is something that I work to change and create awareness over.

Do I do alot of self promotion?----> yes. I also run a website, a social media campaign, a brand, serve as a spokesperson, and I am also in Grad School finishing my MSN as an ACNP while working as an RN in the ER. I have alot on my plate and I have goals and not everyone will approve or agree with what I do and thats okay. I am here to do as much positive professional work that can reflect upon our profession and the media as possible. I seek to become a resource and public figure for nurses and students. I have 6 nurses in my family and if you spend 5 minutes talking with me- you will understand WHY i do WHAT i do. So- not only do I have to promote, but I want to- because I am sick of the only nurse on TV being NURSE JACKIE.

WE as a trusted profession deserve a more respected representation of what we do. I cannot sit and read all the negative comments about what people write about me and at the end of the day- If i have influenced and helped 5 people and ****** off 2000- I am okay with that. However- I would prefer that before people make judgements that they reach out and clarify with the source.

Thank you for this thread and your time.

katie duke

I was never warned by any managers or directors. I was only casually warned from my friends bc they knew I was under a microscope

katie duke

It was not my picture. I was at home a week after It was posted on a DOCTOR's page and saw it and decided to screen shot it and repost it bc its a very intriguing picture. I thought it was positive. So- a week later on my own personal time I RePosted the pic from the screen shot of the docs instagram page.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

Welcome to AN! The largest online nursing community!

Hospitals have and always will...do exactly as they wish. I am sorry you lost your job. It was not HIPAA. It was an empty trauma room.

I have seen many GOOD nurses fall to bad administrations. You were handed lemons and turned it into lemonade..Kudos!

@katieduke, thank you for coming onto allnurses.com and providing us with a more detailed explanation of what happened! You're absolutely right when you said it's always best to go right to the source of the story in order to check our facts. The producers of the TV program only showed us a brief snippet of the incident and this allowed our imaginations a little too much room to run wild! Like Esme said, we are glad that you were able to find new employment quickly...it sounds like NYP needed to make an example of someone and your number was up!

Best wishes on all the irons you have in the fire!


Has 1 years experience.

I don't understand the anger re: someone not reaching out for clarification - this is an internet discussion board, not a published news article. We are not reporters, we're just people discussing something that happened on a televised program.

I'm sorry you lost your job, and the physician probably should have lost his as well, but if an MD jumps over a cliff first is it wise to follow? Thanks for taking time to respond, I wish you luck in your future career endeavors.