Good News from Kansas after a Spectacularly Awful Day

Your humble charge nurse had an awesomely bad day, in a week of similarly nasty days, so crappy in fact that I’m too tired and fed up even for my usual upper-management-idiocy snarkiness. The only slight consolation is that I understand nearly every hospital in the Greater Toronto region has been overwhelmed with patients. Superior Hills General, our bigger neighbour down the road, I’m told, had an 36 admitted patients boarding the ED, and an unbelievable 61 patients held for consult.

The good news is that a judge has ruled against Johnson Community College in the placenta Facebook case. To say the court spanked the College would be an understatement. Some more details on the events leading to the expulsion:

Byrnes said the picture was on her Facebook profile for about 3 hours, until Delphia [Byrnes’ lab instructor] called her and requested she remove it, which she did. Byrnes says Delphia told her she wasn’t in trouble during the conversation.

But the next day, Byrnes said, Johnson County Community College Nursing Director Jeanne Walsh blasted her and the other students by screaming and crying at them.

“During the meeting, Director Walsh’s emotional conduct precluded the students from defending themselves and adequately explaining the reasons for engaging in the conduct in question,” the complaint states.

“Director Walsh summarily dismissed Plaintiff Byrnes and three other members of the lab group from the nursing program, and exclaimed, ‘I don’t know if I would want you back.'”

Is this how we want nurse educators to act? I don’t want to flog a dead horse, but again it strikes me the true professionals were the students, not the Nursing Director. In its press release, JCCC was typically gracious towards the students in admitting defeat, as it has been in this whole process. Okay, maybe not so much.

“We are disappointed with the court’s decision today,” said Terry Calaway, JCCC president. “Of course we’ll abide by the judge’s decision and readmit the student to the nursing program.

“The JCCC nursing program is widely known and respected for the quality of its instruction and its graduates. Sensitivity to patients and confidentiality of patient care is at the heart of what we teach. We took what we believed to be appropriate action, but the court saw the situation differently, so the student will be readmitted to the program.”

The students who took the photos were never expelled from the college, as has been reported, but were temporarily dismissed from the program.

Three other students who had been dismissed from the program will also be readmitted.

Classy to the bitter end, eh? (See, I’m so tired even my sarcasm bone is exhausted.)

To Doyle Bynes and colleagues: congratulations and well done. You do us proud, and you’re a credit to our profession.


*JCCC needs to give up on the “temporarily dismissed not expelled” spin. It’s a distinction without a difference, and it’s silly.


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  1. #1 by Zoe on Friday 07 January 2011 - 1224

    Glad to hear she’s able to resume her studies. I hope she goes on to be come an amazing nurse!

    I’m the CNE for our ER, and I had to speak to a colleague about a picture she posted online. She used her camera phone to snap a photo of a patient’s x-ray — a patient with a spectacular fracture after a spectacular fall — and posted it on FB. The photo itself had nothing to identify the patient, the problem started with the comments and chatter that followed, things like, “Hey was that the patient from bed 12?” So I called her at home, and requested she take the photo down and why, and she did. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it. I don’t see any need to make a bigger fuss. Certainly, if it happened again with the same staff member, I may have to take it further, but I sincerely believe it won’t.

    Anyway, this whole fuss with the student involved in this could have been easily avoided, and as you so aptly wrote in earlier posts, took advantage of the teachable moment.

  2. #2 by Zoe on Friday 07 January 2011 - 1231

    Oh yeah, one more thing…

    In in BC, and our ER’s are slammed too. On my last shift, we almost went on internal Code Orange to deal with the backlog, but administration doesn’t like negative press, and instead got a few other hospitals to take some awaiting transfers to relieve some of the stress. But all that does, really, is create a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” sort of deal.

    I don’t know what the answer is to this problem, but I just wanted to offer some empathy.

  3. #3 by ednursesauras on Friday 07 January 2011 - 1344

    Welcome news, glad the court ruling came down on the side of the student.
    Sounds as if the director needs to have her meds tweaked a bit…

  4. #4 by Jenn Jilks on Saturday 08 January 2011 - 1747

    If all those dang civilians wouldn’t get sick! I hope things settle down as the kids get back in school after holidays. Dang teachers. :-)

    Good news, thanks for the update.

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