Canadian nurse in legal battle because of Facebook post




A registered nurse from Regina, Saskatchewan, underwent a drawn out and expensive legal battle over a Facebook post, according to a Feb. 18, 2017, article published in the Toronto Sun and written by Ashley Martin.

Two years ago, according to the article, Carolyn Strom, RN, criticized her grandfather’s long-term care suggesting on Facebook that there was “a lack of compassion and education among staff.” Six nurses who had cared for Strom’s grandfather took offense to the post stating that it tarnished their reputations, although they were not mentioned by name, the article said.

In October, the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association’s discipline committee found Strom guilty of professional misconduct, as her Facebook post was found to “harm the standing of the profession of nursing,” under the Registered Nurses Act, Martin wrote in the article.

“In finding her guilty, the SRNA wrote its intent was not to muzzle Strom,” Martin wrote. “The discipline committee will render its written decision as soon as possible.”

“Nurses are accountable for their actions and answerable for their practice.”

According to the SRNA website, “The regulatory body is accountable for ensuring members are competent in providing the services that society has entrusted to them. Individual members are personally accountable for their professional nursing practice through adherence to the code of ethics, practice standards and maintaining competence.”

The Canadian Nurses Association 2008 Code of Ethics listed on the SRNA website states, “Nurses are accountable for their actions and answerable for their practice.”

Here in the U.S., the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s “A Nurse’s Guide to the Use of Social Media” states, “Nurses must not make disparaging remarks about employers or co-workers. Do not make threatening, harassing, profane, obscene, sexually explicit, racially derogatory, homophobic or other offensive comments.”

In part, the guide discusses patient confidentiality and adhering to HIPAA regulations.

“The definition of individually identifiable information includes any information that relates to the past, present or future physical or mental health of an individual, or provides enough information that leads someone to believe the information could be used to identify an individual,” the guide stated.

 

Click here for more information on using social media to positively effect your career and avoid social media pitfalls.

 


About the author
Sallie Jimenez

Sallie Jimenez 

Senior Nursing Editor Sallie Jimenez develops and edits content for OnCourse Learning’s Nurse.com blog, which covers industry news and trends in the nursing profession and healthcare. She has more than 22 years of healthcare journalism, content marketing and editing experience.

2 responses to “Canadian nurse in legal battle because of Facebook post”

  1. I’m not sure what the purpose of this post is. I have read Ms. Strom’s facebook post and there were no disparaging comments towards an employer or co-workers, and there were none about the nursing profession either. Therefore she did not breach the code of ethics. A more careful reading of this situation would make for a more nuanced and useful analysis on your part.
    Your selective reading of the code of ethics is rather concerning. The code states that nurses must protect patient health, interests, dignity, safety and peaceful death. It also states that nurses must advocate for better health care provision. These are things that Ms. Strom did. In this sense, she did not harm the standing of the profession at all. The regulator did, however, by acting as a self-interested corporation. The SRNA’s rationale for disciplining Ms. Strom (which I have read in its entirety) is disjointed and incoherent at best. While the SRNA claims to defend the public interest, there is nothing in its decision that reflects this commitment and provides any constructive guidance on the use of social media by nurses who advocate for quality patient care.

  2. Registered Nurse life is too hard and struggling, as they support their patients at the best. But sometimes in some unfortunate sense you may get negative reviews from the patients.

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