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.