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

A ‘Ruined Generation of Men,’ Plus a New Class Divide? Digital Adverse Effects in the News

By Michael Fergenson, AJN senior editorial coordinator

LAN Party NW, 2009/Chase N., via Flickr

There continue to be questions raised about the harmful effects of the excessive use of digital devices, mostly in the young but also in adults. Such ills as ADHD, violence, poor school performance, social isolation, and bullying have been attributed to the overuse of gaming, the Internet, and social media Web sites.

A ruined generation of men? Psychologist Phillip Zimbardo, well known for his ethically borderline 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, contends that video games and digital media do have a detrimental effect on today’s youth, especially males. His recent article, “The Demise of Guys: How Video Games and Porn Are Ruining a Generation,” argues that addiction to video games and online porn “is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.”

He refers to stories such as a South Korean man who went into cardiac arrest after playing a video game for 50 hours straight, a man whose wife kicked him out because he couldn’t stop watching porn, and a mass murder suspect who claims to have used video games to prepare for his crime of shooting 77 people. Zimbardo argues there may be a link between violent video games and real-life aggression.

Causation is hard to prove, but many studies have pointed to negative physiologic and psychosocial effects of such games over […]

2017-03-27T12:15:49+00:00 June 8th, 2012|Nursing|0 Comments

Staffing: Hot Topic as Usual for Nurses

Karen Roush, MS, RN, FNP-C, clinical managing editor

Our recent Facebook post on an article on nurse staffing at the NPR Shots blog (“Need a Nurse? You May Have to Wait”) got a lot of responses. Staffing is a hot topic for nurses—from both a personal  and a patient care perspective. And I say “hot” because it never fails to raise emotions.

Everyone agrees that adequate nurse staffing is essential for safe, high quality patient care and nursing job satisfaction. Research has shown that it significantly improves patient outcomes.

Yet we—nurses, as well as the larger health care community—continue to debate how to determine what “adequate staffing” is and how to best achieve it. Acuity-of-care measures? Unit-by-unit mandated staffing plans? State-mandated staffing ratios? What do you think?

We’ve published numerous articles and news pieces on this topic in recent years; here are a few examples:

News, reports, and analysis (open access articles)

“Nurse Staffing Matters—Again”

“California Mandated Nurse–Patient Ratios Deemed Successful”

“Nursing Shortage—or Not”

Feature. Requires subsciption or purchase; abstract only

“Nurse Staffing and Patient, Nurse, and Financial Outcomes”

And here are some blog posts that deal either directly or indirectly with issues related to nurse staffing.

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2016-11-21T13:10:00+00:00 May 31st, 2012|nursing perspective|1 Comment

“Let Patients Help”: Nurses and e-Patients

Joy Jacobson is a health care journalist and the poet-in-residence at the Center for Health, Media, and Policy at Hunter College, where she teaches writing to nursing students.

In the March issue of AJN, a letter writer responds critically to my news report, “Leveling the Research Field Through Social Media,” published last October. My report summarizes some recent trends in medical research, including patients using Facebook and other social networking sites to push for the funding of research into treatments that the science may not support. I go on to discuss PatientsLikeMe, which describes itself as “a health data-sharing platform” designed to “transform the way patients manage their own conditions.”

The letter writer objects to the idea of patients sharing their own data online. Can vulnerable, mentally ill patients, she asks, consent to participate in online research? Is enough being done to safeguard them? “I suggest we disseminate information to nurses that helps them steer patients away from Web sites such as PatientsLikeMe,” she concludes, “until programs and processes are in place to better protect the public we’ve pledged to serve.”

Several PatientsLikeMe researchers responded to this nurse’s points; a synopsis of their responses was included along with the reader’s letter in the March issue. “What we are doing is new and as such should be scrutinized frequently and rigorously by peers to ensure we are meeting the ethical standards one would expect for our patients,” they write. “We believe our […]

Patient Privacy and Company Policy: What Nurses Should Know About Social Media

Should you be able to have an online discussion about hospital policies that aren’t working or are unfair? What if the point of your discussion is to improve working conditions or to troubleshoot and not to cast an uncomplimentary light on your employer? Right now, the answer is “good question.”

If you’re a nurse or health care worker of any sort, if you sometimes use one or more of the many available social media options (Facebook, blogging, Twitter, etc.), if you’re worried about what it’s OK for you to do or say online, if you have a job or are thinking of looking for one, we strongly suggest you take a look at this month’s iNurse column in AJN (quoted above).

In it, Megen Duffy, RN, aka blogger Not Nurse Ratched, considers such issues as the following:

  • hospital social media policies (always read them; some are surprisingly restrictive)
  • HIPAA and potential issues raised by blogging about aspects of work
  • the ways your social media history may be mined by HR departments at prospective employers
  • the reasons why she strongly believes that social media isn’t going away and has many potential benefits, despite various well-publicized pitfalls—and why nurses need to let their input be known so that social media policies will be sane and balanced

And, since this is social media, we hope you’ll let us know your thoughts, in the form of comments. Maybe Megen will even weigh in, if you […]

2016-11-21T13:12:03+00:00 August 26th, 2011|career, healthcare social media|6 Comments