NY Med Social Media Firing

Update: Katie Duke stopped by and left the following comment that’s worth noting:

Thank you for this article and review. I did not violate any aspect of the social media policy or HIPPAA and was technically fired for what my manager calls “we just don’t want you working here anymore and you’re insensitive” (as referring to the post)

I have been in the spotlight for several years and thoroughly respect the rules and regulations of our profession and it’s presence on social media. My goal is to change the portrayal of nursing in the media. We all make mistakes and we must learn from them. Do I feel it was a terminable offense? No- I feel I should have been counseled or even given some constructive criticism. After all- I am a great nurse and was with NYP for 7 years and of their motto is to put patients first then they should advocate more for the retention and growth of the nurses they have. Nurses are NOT disposable. Thank you for this venue to get the dialogue going about this rather controversial and taboo topic.

I applaud Katie’s efforts since I’ve often commented how nurses are an afterthought during an EHR selection and implementation process and that’s a pity since they’re such an important part of the organization. I imagine this same thing applies to other hospital policies. Thanks for your added comments Katie.

Last night was the premiere of the second season of NY Med on ABC. I saw the previous season and enjoyed it and so I was interested to see the new season. I like all of the show except for Dr. Oz who is obviously there because he has a big name and not because he’s actually practicing medicine. I love the quote I read online “Dr. Oz is a fake even when he’s scrubbing in. His mask isn’t on while he’s fake scrubbing.” All of the Dr. Oz parts felt very contrived so they could get him involved in the show. When real cardiology was being practiced, he called in the leading expert, or at least someone who actually could help the patient.

Dr. Oz part aside, the 3 ER nurses are my favorite part of the show. I remembered 2 of the 3 from last season and so I was really glad to see that they were back. Those are some firecracker nurses that always face interesting situations in the ER.

While the show isn’t perfect since as soon as you turn a camera on, people change, it’s still an interesting look into the challenges that many doctors and nurses face on the front lines of healthcare. While Grey’s Anatomy is a well written, entertaining drama and sometimes taps trending topics for its story, it’s not a good depiction of reality.

With the above review, I was particularly intrigued last night when Katie Duke, one of the ER nurses, got Fired from the hospital for posting a picture on Instagram. It was pretty interesting to see both the other ER nurses and Katie’s first hand response to her being fired and escorted from the building.

Since this is EMR and HIPAA, let’s talk about the HIPAA implications of what Katie did. They didn’t show the picture she posted for very long, but there were no people in the picture. Just a room after they’d had a trauma case in the ER. Basically, at quick glance I can’t imagine there’s any HIPAA violation with the picture. She did tag the picture with a number of hashtags. The only one that seemed in question was the “#Man vs 6 train” one, but that’s not a HIPAA violation either or would be an enormous stretch to make the case that it is a violation.

I think it’s fair to say she didn’t violate HIPAA with her instagram post. However, that doesn’t mean she didn’t violate a hospital social media policy. I’d be interested to see New York Presbyterian’s (the hospital who fired her) social media policy. It’s hard to guess at what the policy might include. I’ve seen really strict social media policies, really open social media policies and organizations with no policy (that’s scary). Given their policy, it might very well have been appropriate to fire her. In fact, if it wasn’t, Katie Duke seems like someone who would fight back in court if it wasn’t appropriate.

While Katie Duke was fired from New York Presbyterian, she was hired at Roosevelt on the West Side. I wonder what they said to Katie about social media when they hired her. In the NY Med episode they show her doing well. Although, they noted that she was great with patients, but was having a challenge getting up to speed on their computer system. Makes me wonder what EHR they use in their ED. Although, I think it’s safe to say that this could be said about any ER nurse in any ER regardless of the computer system they use. It just takes some time to get up to speed on an EHR.

In case you’re wondering, Katie Duke has launched a website and on July 1st she’s launching a YouTube show, she has an endorsement deal with Dickies and Cherokee scrubs, has speaking engagements around the country, and a line of merchandise around the phrase “Deal With It.” I guess that’s how she’s chosen to deal with the firing. If you look at her Twitter account, you can see a lot of nurses who really look up to her and appreciate her.

The discussion of social media in the workplace is an important one and it’s really important that you understand your employer’s views on the subject if you’re going to take part in it. Although, I think we all have to appreciate the irony of a hospital firing someone for posting a picture to instagram while that same hospital has a bunch of cameras video recording in their hospital for a TV show on ABC. Feels pretty hypocritical, do as I say, not as I do.

What do you think? Did you see the show? Where will social media sharing take us in healthcare and what will be the good and bad consequences of it?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

14 Comments

  • Thank you for this article and review. I did not violate any aspect of the social media policy or HIPPAA and was technically fired for what my manager calls “we just don’t want you working here anymore and you’re insensitive” (as referring to the post)

    I have been in the spotlight for several years and thoroughly respect the rules and regulations of our profession and it’s presence on social media. My goal is to change the portrayal of nursing in the media. We all make mistakes and we must learn from them. Do I feel it was a terminable offense? No- I feel I should have been counseled or even given some constructive criticism. After all- I am a great nurse and was with NYP for 7 years and of their motto is to put patients first then they should advocate more for the retention and growth of the nurses they have. Nurses are NOT disposable. Thank you for this venue to get the dialogue going about this rather controversial and taboo topic.
    Sincerely- katie duke

  • As a huge fan of the show with personal interest, I cant sit back and not correct you in your article. The actual picture was tagged Man vs 6 train and Katie was not hired at Newark Hospital she was hired at Roosevelt on the West Side. Im not here to debate weather Katie or the Hospital was wrong in this situation but if you are going to write an article please make sure to have your information correct as the first of the mistake could be considered very different then Man vs Bus. Buses hit people in the city all the time. I know that sounds strange but it does happen. Man vs Train doesnt happen as often and could be linked to the patient a lot easier. Again I am not here to argue what the outcome of the picture was. Just hope you would look into your facts a little more before your next article.

  • Again I am not for the firing of Katie at all and dont want that to be said from what I posted. I just felt that if you are gonna write an article were people can comment and come to their own decision on how they feel about the situation, they should at least have the correct I information.

  • Thanks for stopping by and adding your comments Katie. I’ve updated the post to include them.

    Brad, thanks for the corrections. I’ve updated the post with them as well.

    I look forward to seeing Katie on future episodes and what she talks about on the new YouTube show.

  • THERE IS NO LAW THAT SAY’S THAT YOU CAN’T TAKE PICTURES OF A HOSPITAL ROOM AS LONG AS THERE’S NOT A PATIENT IN THE ROOM. A HOSPITAL IS A PUBLIC PLACE. SHE CAN SUE THEM FOR ILLEGAL TERMINATION IF SHE WANTS TO. PEOPLE TAKE PICTURES INSIDE OF HOSPITALS EVERYDAY.

  • Without seeing the photo, it’s difficult to say whether or not there was a violation. Man vs. train hashtagging is rather descriptive, in my opinion, and can lend itself to giving too much information to the general public about a particular patient. It’s possible it was violated in this case, but again, without seeing the photo (I don’t want to see it, by the way), it’s hard to say.

    Interesting situation, however.

  • I’ve never heard of the TV show, but I do know that social media and a medical situation generally spells trouble.
    Medical offices (yes, hospitals) need to have a rock solid policy on social media, and the staff of these offices need to:
    a) know the rules of the office
    b) realize there are very few situations in the medial office where they should be taking a picture on their phone so they can post it on social media.
    Medical employees need to be ultra conservative when it comes to social media. I guess you could say they just need to deal with it.

  • It is at the very top, in the URL of the post. Plus, it’s in the author’s bio at the bottom of the post. I’ll consider your comment though and see if I can put it somewhere else as well.

  • Put your phone away, you’re at WORK, do the JOB you were hired to do. #seriouslykatieyourenotallthat

  • Katie did not take the photo according to the ABC news story accompanying the show. The photo was taken by a Doctor and posted to his Instagram account. Katie simply reposted the picture to her account. The Doctor was not fired but Katie was.

    That raises a lot of questions;
    Was the discipline appropriate and fair?
    Are there different Hospital rules on what a Dr can post to the internet but a Nurse can’t?
    Was the Hospital reaction due to the difficulty in replacing Doctor vs Nurses and not the seriousness of the action?
    Was there more going on behind the scenes which we are not aware?

    Dan

  • “Was there more going on behind the scenes which we are not aware?”

    I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the case. It might be things Katie did outside of social media, but it could just as well be something going on with her supervisors as well. My guess is that the social media stuff was just the straw that broke the camels back.

  • Does anyone have the info on the doctor who posted the original picture? It’s the first time I ever heard that it was taken by someone else and reposted by Katie

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