Nurses Fired for Facebook Postings
July 09, 2010
Protecting patient privacy is one of the cardinal rules in nursing (hello, HIPAA). The legalities behind breaking a patient’s trust and breaching their confidentiality is one of the first principles nurses are taught. It doesn’t matter how it’s done — verbally, on paper, via texting or online — it’s still wrong.
Earlier this year, five nurses who worked at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, CA were fired from their jobs for their Facebook postings discussing the cases of several patients. The center’s CEO, Larry Anderson, stated that no photos, patients names, or other identity-compromising information were posted.
“We recently identified an incident involving hospital employees who used social media to post their personal discussions concerning hospital patients,” Tri-City CEO Larry Anderson stated, adding that an internal investigation “yielded sufficient information to warrant disciplinary action.” — sandiego6.com.
According to various news reports, a sixth hospital employee was disciplined, but not fired.
This isn’t the first incident of social media being an issue when it comes to patient privacy, nor will it be the last. How should hospitals regulate social media? Should sites like Facebook and MySpace be banned from hospital staff?