Speaking Publicly ‘As a Nurse’: Case in Canada Highlights Risks, Responsibilities

Douglas P. Olsen, PhD, RN, associate professor, College of Nursing, Michigan State University, writes about ethical issues for AJN.

Recently, a disciplinary committee in Canada found a nurse in breach of the Canadian Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses for posting negative comments on Facebook and Twitter about the care given to her grandfather in a long-term care facility before his death. The nurse was accused of violating her grandfather’s confidentiality, not using proper processes for noting complaints about his care, and potentially harming the institution’s reputation. She was found guilty of professional misconduct but not guilty of violating his privacy. The ethical breach was based on her public declarations about the nursing care.

Key to the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association decision to find the nurse guilty appears to have been the fact that the nurse prefaced remarks with the phrase, “As a nurse . . . ” Adding this phrase to one’s communications confers the authority of scientific and experiential expertise. It further implies that one is versed in the proper procedure and standards for evaluating accuracy and relevance of clinical information and that one’s conclusions are communicated honestly for constructive purposes. The credibility added by identifying the nursing credential is deserved—and therefore carries responsibilities.

What are the conditions for an ethical response when speaking publicly ‘as a nurse’? […]

2016-12-20T15:09:59+00:00 December 16th, 2016|Ethics, healthcare social media, Nursing|2 Comments

Nursing Voices: The 10 Most-Read AJN Blog Posts of 2016

flickr creative commons/by you me

As the editor of this blog, I’m often amazed by the originality, honesty, and quality of the writing that comes to us from people who are, in many cases, not writers by trade. AJN Off the Charts publishes articles about professional issues, health policy and research, and clinical topics, as well as many nurse and patient stories. Here are ten popular posts from 2016 that you might have missed. Some of the authors of the posts listed here are regular contributors, some are AJN editors, some are first-time contributors; some are established scholars, some are new to the nursing profession.

If you like these posts, please consider subscribing to the blog (see the right sidebar) to receive new updates by email. It takes just a second, and all content at this blog is free.

The 10 most-read posts we published in 2016.*

What a Nurse Really Wants
“I just want some support. I just want to take care of my patients, and maybe get a lunch break on any given day. I just want to be heard.”

CDC Opioid-Prescribing Guideline for Chronic Pain: Concerns and Contexts
“These new guidelines cast a very wide net. Many patients with chronic pain will find themselves facing new hurdles to adequate relief.”

A New, Updated AJN Off the Charts Blog

by Saida, via Flickr by Saida, via Flickr

AJN Off the Charts has been moved and redesigned—nearly in time for the start of Nurses Week.

The address of the updated blog will remain the same as always: ajnoffthecharts.com.

Please forgive the recent blog downtime. If you encounter any technical issues, please let us know about them, via our new contact page.

As with the old blog, all blog followers and subscribers should continue to receive notifications of new posts. If you find that you are not receiving these, please let us know. […]

Electronic Health Records: Still-Evolving Tools to Help or Hinder Nurses

By Betsy Todd, MPH, RN, CIC, AJN clinical editor

Photo by Marilynn K. Yee/New York Times/Redux Photo by Marilynn K. Yee/New York Times/Redux

One of my earliest memories of electronic health records (EHRs) is the day I had to review a chart at another hospital in the city. As I headed over to medical records, I expected at worst a “big” chart—one of those 15-inch stacks of multiple folders from a long hospitalization. I wasn’t allowed access to their system to view the chart online, so I was escorted into a separate room, in which the printed-out chart was waiting for me.

But their electronic chart wasn’t “printer-friendly,” and the hard copy version now consisted of thousands of pages of documentation spread out over a nine-foot long table. Many of the pages included only a line or […]

Ebola, One Year Later: What We Learned for the Next Big Epidemic

By Betsy Todd, MPH, RN, CIC, AJN clinical editor

Scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles budding from an infected VERO E6 cell (35,000x magnification). Credit: NIAID Scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles budding from an infected VERO E6 cell (35,000x magnification). Credit: NIAID

U.S. hospitals have not seen a case of Ebola virus disease since November 11, 2014, when Dr. Craig Spencer was discharged from Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. While the number of new infections has declined dramatically in the West African countries where the 2014–2015 epidemic began, it is virtually certain that the disease will continue to resurface.

This epidemic was by far the largest and most geographically widespread Ebola epidemic to date, with approximately 28,000 cases (suspected, probable, or confirmed) and more than 11,000 deaths in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, the three hardest-hit countries. The seven other countries affected account for a combined total of 34 confirmed (and two probable) cases and 15 deaths.

According to a recent WHO report, these numbers include (through March of this year) 815 confirmed or probable cases among health care workers, more than half of whom were nurses or nurses’ aides. (Doctors and medical students made up about 12% of total health care worker cases.)

This epidemic has been, for some, a wake-up call about the ease of global disease transmission. […]