A nurse in Canada has been found guilty of professional misconduct for posting her frustrations on social media.
Carolyn Strom was upset over her relatives medical care when she decided to write about it and post it to her Facebook and Twitter accounts.
According to CBS News, Strom, a registered nurse in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, told management to “get all your staff a refresher” on end-of-life care. “Don't get me wrong, 'some' people have provided excellent care so I thank you so very much for your efforts, but to those who made Grandpa's last years less than desirable, please do better next time."
The response from staff at the facility was far from welcoming. They found her comments “humiliating,” and subsequently filed a complaint with the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association (SRNA), accusing Strom of professional misconduct.
After an investigation, the SRNA's committee for disciplinary action on nurses found Strom guilty of professional misconduct. According to SRNA Strom may have been “motivated by perhaps grief and anger,” but she was still “bound to act with integrity." regardless of her personal situation at the time.
“The Discipline Committee does not seek to ‘muzzle' registered nurses from using social media,” the committee wrote. “However, registered nurses must conduct themselves professionally and with care when communicating on social media.”
There are no regulations in the books for guidelines on nurses who communicate their feelings on social media and Strom has filed a petition to urge the SRNA to overturn their guilty decision and set some clear guidelines for social media posting.
Strom's penalty will be decided at a later date.
“This precedent-setting decision is enough to send a chill down the spine of every nurse and nursing student in Canada,” the petition reads. “Not only is it a blatant attack on free speech, but it raises serious concerns about ... the dangers of silencing nurses even when they witness subpar care.”