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Patient Disrespect that I never admitted to.

by JoJo

I am a registered nurse and was fired for "disrespecting a patient". I was working one night on the night shift when a co-worker was sitting with a patient at her desk in a chair. She called me over and asked me to be in a picture with him. I initially said no, but did agree after some convincing.(I was 7months pregnant and was used to people harrassing me for pictures.) He was awake and talking to her when this happened. It was a quick shot and only my arm (in which I was caring a straw for a drink for my patient) was caught in the picture. My co-worker then text messaged me the picture. I deleted it immediately.

I was fired because I later found out that this man in the chair was confused during most of his stay. It was assumed that I knew this fact when I was posing for the picture.(which I did NOT).Apparently my co-worker had sent this picture out to several other co-workers who may have found it offensive. My boss never even saw a copy of the picture. Although I did admit that it was my arm in the picture, I never admitted that I knew anything about the man and even said from the beginning that I did not know him at the time.

I did appeal the decision through the company's appeals process and lost that appeal because my manager said that I had been his nurse during his stay 2 times and was charge nurse once. He was on our floor for 30+ days and I only had him 2 of those nights. I have many patients each night and don't remember the details of each one. I had no idea who he was and certainly did not know he was confused. I assumed that he was alert and had agreed to be in the picture with his nurse who took the picture.

Hi JoJo,

I think what I'm missing here is why the picture was considered to be "disrespectful". Are you leaving out some detail about the picture that would make it so?

Oh, and by the way .. what happened to the person that took the picture?

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Yes, You should apply for unemployment and appeal if necessary
by: Chris - webmaster:)


I wish I knew what state you were in, only because after you've dealt with unemployment in multiple states .. you get a feel for the way they interpret their disqualification statutes, but other than that I firmly believe you do have a leg to stand on that what the employer chose to fire you for will not stand up to the test of "willful misconduct".

Unless there is a rule which prohibits posing for photographs with patients .. or taking photographs of patients. I believe it will not be seen as misconduct.

Worse case scenario, I think it will be found that your action was a one-time mistake that did not rise to the level of misconduct that would not have caused harm to the employer.


by: Jojo

The only reason that it was said to be "disrespectful" was because he was aparently "disoriented" and they said he "couldn't defend himself" and "wasn't able to consent". But again, I did not recognize him and he appeared to be fine and talking with his nurse (who was also fired for not only disrespecting the patient, but also violating patient privacy.)
I guess now my question is should I even bother applying for unemployment? I understand that the burdon of proof is on them to prove that I was fired for cause. If they are saying that they fired me for disrespect,and disrespect is defined as taking a picture of a DISORIENTED patient,and I wasn't aware of his mental state, do I have a case just by stating that I didn't know him? What do you think?

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