Monday, 5 December 2016

Free Speech and Intimidation of Nurses.

   In Saskatchewan recently, a nurse, who posted on her Facebook page her concerns regarding the treatment her grandfather had received in a long term facility, has been found guilty of professional misconduct.  The nurse had written about the 'subpar' treatment her grandfather had received.  She had written the post as a caring family member, not in her professional capacity as a nurse and was not in any way involved with the treatment team who provided the care.  The Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association, ruled that she had violated the act by harming the reputation of nursing staff at the facility and had undermined the public's confidence in the staff. They also stated that she had not used the appropriate channels to bring forward her complaints and did not conduct herself professionally when using social media.  In  other words, they were saying that because she is a nurse she did not have the  right to voice her concerns in a public forum because it might make the public aware of some inadequacy of treatment and undermine confidence in  the staff or the facility.  This may be precisely what is needed.  It is called transparency, which everyone is in favour of, except when it applies to them.   The Association ignominiously expressed the opinion that unfavourable comments by one of their members in good standing should not be divulged to the public, no matter how accurate it may be..  What arrogance!  What unmitigated gall!  To want to punish a nurse for speaking out her mind regarding the treatment her grandfather received is unbelievable in an era when we pay such lip service to freedom of speech. 
   Her punishment has not yet been revealed. 
   She gave some specific advise re improvement of care which the facility might be well advised to take.   Perhaps her message will persuade families of long term facility patients to  monitor the treatment of their loved ones more closely, which would be a good thing for all concerned.
   Freedom of speech means others are free to express their opinion, even when  they don't agree with you!  This is a gross contravention of civil rights that I hope the nurse will  pursue . 
  Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association have to realize that opinions such as these should not and cannot be suppressed.  A culture of intimidation of nurses for voicing their opinions and concerns is no longer acceptable, unless it breaches the nurse/patient relationship or involves malice.


  1. I would comment on this but the College would reprimand me!!

  2. Control the people by controlling their speech. But they can't control what I'm thinking -and I'll bet you can guess what that is!