“Nursing student wins Facebook placenta photo case”

So I’ve been following this story for awhile, but I have to tell you that headline is the most amazing random combination of words I’ve ever seen.  Can’t stop looking at it.  It’s like a mad-lib.

I haven’t written about it yet because, to be honest, I have a hard time forming an opinion.  I mean, sure, on one hand, it doesn’t violate HIPAA or school policies, she got permission to take the photo, and she’s just standing there looking happy with the placenta – she’s not like, juggling it.  So I can see how the school was overacting and just being generally ridiculous.

On the other hand, there are lots of things that might not be against any particular rules per se, but still may not be the smartest idea in the world.  And honestly, that’s what I suspect “posting a placenta picture from clinicals onto facebook” falls under.  (Which is probably why the school’s defense was to just throw around the word “professionalism” a lot.)

But then I saw that my mother – a former NICU nurse, now a professor at a nursing school – posted the same link on facebook and added “YAY!!!”

Now, our class at Metropolis has gotten a lot of memorable lectures about facebook and the terrible things that can happen if you post so much as a picture of an unused OR.  We’re pretty well familiar with the idea that you don’t take pictures in a hospital unless you’ve decided to change careers  – so I guess I expected my mom’s reaction to be similar.  And “YAY!!!” didn’t match up.

Me:  So, that placenta status- was that sarcasm?

Mom:  No, not at all.  The school’s whole case was just so stupid.

Me:  Yeah, it was silly – but with all the media attention and legal trouble, wouldn’t it be a different story if she was one of your students?

Mom:  Not at all.  I’d stand behind her 100%.  Heck, I’d even stand behind her in the picture.

Me:  Why?

Mom:  What do you mean, why?  Because placentas are cool.

There you have it.

12 thoughts on ““Nursing student wins Facebook placenta photo case”

  1. First: Your mother is awesome.

    I’m not sure how I feel about the picture. I guess I don’t take pictures like that anyway (ie, Big smile while posing with object I think is cool! =D pictures) and I can’t imagine taking the picture she did, or even wanting to.

    However, I definitely felt that the reaction of the school was ridiculous and overblown and I’m glad to hear she won her case.

  2. Placentas ARE cool.

    Plus, didn’t the student ask permission from her preceptor before she took the picture? And then she got expelled anyway? I thought that was a bunch of BS.

    If you took a picture of the aftermath of a code, sans patient, to capture how chaotic things were, would you get expelled for a HIPAA violation because the patient’s blood was on the floor?

    As a side note, my vet student friend took a picture of herself doing her first spay surgery. She was holding the dog’s uterus in that one.

    • Yeah, they claimed she got permission to take the picture, but not permission to SHOW it to anyone. Which the judge rightfully ruled is a bunch of bs.

      At my school, you *would* probably get expelled for taking a picture of anything so much as an empty patient room. We had some cases where residents were recently fired for posting pictures of hospital areas to facebook, even though they didn’t show any patient identifiers.

      I think that’s why I had a hard time viewing this as okay – it’s been pounded into my head that this isn’t okay (despite the lack of rationale) – but it sounds like that’s actually just my school’s position on it.

      • … Residents were fired for taking pictures of hospital areas without patients in them? What! Wow. Yeah, I think your school is more strict about this than mine, although I’m not about to test that theory and see for myself.

        • Yep. I have no idea – you’d have to think there’d be something else going on in those cases, but they said they couldn’t go into detail about it.

          I really wish we had rules about social media written out in our policy manual. Very few med schools have rules (beyond HIPAA, of course), and it makes everything seem risky, and any punishment seem arbitrary…

  3. This is the first I have heard of this story actually. It is nice that the judge ruled in a logical and reasonable fashion. While your right it was not the smartest thing ever done. It was not a crime. Big difference.

  4. Gotta agree with your mom on this one. It’s a ridiculous case, she did not violate any rules and I don’t find it unprofessional at all to be excited about an opportunity you got at your job or in school. Nope, can’t see anything wrong with it….

  5. Yeah (oh hi! I’m new here! *waves*), I am inclined to feel like this has little to do with the picture and everything to do with facebook. I’m surprised they expelled the students and didn’t discipline the faculty member, since she apparently helped them stage the photograph anyway.

    Still, I won’t be putting any hospital, anatomy lab, or body part pictures of any sort on my facebook. Better safe than sorry.

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