Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but I will not allow patients or their families/visitors to film me while giving care. Some seem to think every minute of the day qualifies as a YouTube video. I have firmly said more than once, “I’ll come back to do what you need to have done once the camera/phone is put away.”
I have had people complain and grumble because I wouldn’t allow them to place the phone six inches from where I was about to give an injection in the friend’s backside. They were mad and said, “only your hand is in the picture,” but I still declined. Last week a 19-year-old we had all night after an alcohol bender took a selfie as I was wheeling him out of the ED room, like it was a graduation photo or some other memorable event. What are my rights at work not to be a part of this? I realize people take pictures in the delivery room, but to me this is a different issue.
Dear Nancy replies:
First of all, you should be commended for taking a position against being filmed or photographed without your consent when you provide care. The American Nurses Association has published two documents that you may want to review to help support your position. The first is the Nurses’ Bill of Rights, available at (www.nursingworld.org/NursesBillofRights). The document speaks to such issues as the nurse being able to practice in a work environment that supports and facilitates ethical practice in accordance with the Code of Ethics for Nurses. The code itself, in Provision 5, clearly explains a nurse owes the same duties to himself or herself as to others, including the responsibility to preserve one’s integrity. You can read Provision 5 and the entire code at (www.nursingworld.org). Point the cursor to the Ethics tab and then click on the code from the drop-down menu.
You also should review your workplace’s policy on social media and on photographing and video taking, especially as it pertains to you as an employee. As you know, most employers have a social media policy that focuses on employees taking photographs of patients, commenting about patients on social media sites, etc. Some employers also have a more general photographing and video policy that prohibits employees from being photographed or videotaped in any manner while at work. If such a policy exists where you work, you can easily rely on it when refusing to be photographed when providing any patient care. If your workplace does not have such a policy, you may want to suggest one be developed by the facilitys Policy and Procedure Committee.
You also need to discuss your concerns with your nurse manager and inform her/him that this is an important issue to you and your nurse colleagues.