A Prince Albert nurse could lose her job for comments she made on Facebook about her grandfather’s care.
The Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association (SRNA) accuse Carolyn Strom of professional misconduct and violation of confidential health information after she complained on Facebook about the care her grandfather received at St. Joseph’s Health Facility in Macklin, Sask.
In a hearing notice, SRNA writes Strom’s post on Feb. 25, 2015, says not everyone was “up to speed on how to approach end of life care” when her grandfather spent a week in palliative care at the facility before he passed away.
“This has been an ongoing struggle with the often sub-par care given to my Hollman Grandparents (especially Grandpa) for many years now,” a comment under her original post said. “Whatever reasons/excuses people give for not giving quality care, I Do Not Care. It. Just. Needs. To. Be. Fixed. And NOW!”
The Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Act classifies professional misconduct as anything that is “contrary to the best interests of the public or nurses or tends to harm the standing of nursing.”
In the hearing notice, SRNA alleges Strom violated the Health Information Protection Act by disclosing both her grandparents’ health information online. They also allege that as a nurse, she failed to take her complaints through proper channels within the healthcare system before going public, and in making such comments damaged the facility’s reputation. Strom identified herself as a registered nurse in the post, which the SRNA says means she “engage(d) the professional image of registered nurses in general as well as (her) personal professional obligations.”
Strom’s lawyer Marcus Davies called the whole matter “an example of over zealous prosecution” and a “direct attack on free speech.”
“If you want to take professionals out of any public discussion of the issue then that will impact lawyers, accountants, engineers, doctors,” he said. “Everybody in a self-regulated position will be removed from the public discourse on issues that affect that profession. Who’s interests are being served by shutting that conversation down?”
Davies said Strom’s grandmother support her granddaughter’s comments and does not think her privacy was breached. He added he knows SRNA has investigated other social media-related cases but has not taken any to a disciplinary committee like Strom’s.
“I’m completely shocked that the SRNA would choose to take this matter so far as to take the nurse to a disciplinary hearing at which her life and credibility to practice nursing will be on the line,” Davies said.
Both the SRNA and The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses said they do not comment on matters that are under investigation or before a disciplinary committee.
SRNA’s notice said after reviewing the case, the investigation committee offered a resolution, which Strom turned down. Davies said Strom did not agree with what was written in the statement of fact. He said they submitted a second statement of fact which SRNA refused.
The matter will now go before a discipline committee on Feb. 10. If found guilty, Strom could be expelled or suspended from the association and face fines.