Stay tuned for a very special post coming up soon with a special guest.
But in the mean time: Check out this story about a nurse who, displeased with an officer who wrote her a speeding ticket, said “I hope you are never my patient.” And then got fired. And sued.
Lawyer: First, Jeez, lady. The first thing everybody should know: don’t say anything to a cop who has stopped you for some reason that you don’t absolutely have to say. “Yes” and “No” are quite possibly the only words you need.
But okay, our heroine here clearly didn’t get that memo. The post tries to frame it as a question of whether health care professionals should be held to a higher standard than other people. I’m not sure that’s really the point — the question is, did her statement constitute a threat, or not? I would be inclined to say no. After all, she didn’t say “You better hope you are never my patient.” As a threat, it doesn’t make much sense. Her explanation — that she doesn’t wish to see him again — makes a lot more sense.
Nurse: Well, it’s certainly unprofessional. . . I think perhaps her statement could be taken to mean that she would not give good care to someone who she personally disliked. which is not ok. Now, if she did wind up with him as her patient, it would be appropriate for her to ask to switch to a different patient assignment if she felt she couldn’t give good care to someone she disliked.
Lawyer: If it were determined (say, by a jury) that it was a threat — and your discussion above speaks to that — then would the hospital have the right to fire her? Well, if she’s using her position as a health care provider, with power to administer drugs, run machines, and such, to threaten anyone, police officer or not, I’d say it’s fair for her to get canned.
But I wouldn’t limit that to health care providers. If a teacher got pulled over by a cop who had children, and said “You’d better hope your kids are never in my class,” that’d be some pretty major trouble. If an off-duty cop gets into a dispute over a game of darts in a bar and says to the other guy “You’d better hope I never see you speeding out there, buddy,” again, he’s on shaky ground.
Nurse: Should you be fired for acting unprofessional outside of the workplace if you are discussing your job/profession/place of employment? I mean, that does reflect poorly on the hospital, but i don’t know if firing is justified or not.
Lawyer: Perhaps the health care situation is more fraught because we are all so vulnerable in the hands of those who care for us when we are sick — surely the ethical rules for doctors and nurses deal with the issue of establishing trust.
(I would like to pause and note that the locale is Colorado Springs. So I’m taking their poll with a grain of salt.)