The Placenta Incident & The Shawshank Redemption

So I ran RNchat last night to open up discussion about The Placenta Incident (click over to read about it).

It’s a movie in the making. Generally speaking, I sometimes wonder if the ghost of Warden Samuel Norton in The Shawshank Redemption still possesses a part of the nursing profession.

Unless the patient related to this story was actually harmed, the story is largely pretty humorous.

And yet dramatic events like these, which garner media attention, displace important issues that get almost none.

I mean: there are so many horrifying things that happen in Healthcare every single day:

  • Someone hangs a bag of Dopamine thinking it’s normal saline and runs it in at 250
  • A bitter, burnt-out nurse curses out a a student for forgetting his pin and the patient in the room behind them falls out of bed and breaks her hip
  • Ralph in Accounting shows the CFO that the hospital can save $250,000 a year by cutting nursing staff and the next year the hospital pays out $2,500,000 in litigation due to nursing burnout

And now we have social media thrown into the mix:

  • Nursing instituions lead by (good) people who don’t know the difference between “a” Twitter and a sparrow are handing out sentences on a generation that uses both everyday without taking the time to find out what it’s all about.
  • The generation that grew up on digital technologies and social media are learning hard lessons about the consequences of a dopey tweet, a weird status update on Facebook and that picture of their sprawled out naked body on the floor of Delta Tau Delta.

It’s so easy to miss what matters most when you’re stuck on what matters least.

That may have been what’s happened here in this story.

I don’t know about you, but I think we’re kinda losing our minds and I think the best option we have of saving ourselves from our own dopery is mindfulness.

Social media may be the most disruptive part of human evolution – ever. It comes, however, with prices: mindfulness may be its biggest.

We really do live in interesting times.

No shortage of material for artists to grip.

Maybe there’s a metaphor for the need of a re-birth of nursing somewhere in that placenta.

Nursing will never be emerge from all of the dopey stereotypes dumped on it over the decades unless it finally puts down to rest all the emotional violence within its own house.



Humor. The laugh is the crowning achievement of evolution. Let’s use it more often – in nursing and everywhere else.



The Winkler Nurses Case on #RNchat

When I started #RNchat last year (@RNchat on Twitter), my hope was to assemble a simple and supple forum for nurses and the public to discuss important issues from the perspective of a diverse group of people.

Here’s a re-post of the transcript for Friday, February 12, 2010’s RNchat, with my commentary on the Winkler County, Texas Nurses case:

Below is a SlideShare of #RNchat for Friday February 12, 2010, organized in chronological order (from beginning of chat to sometime just after). The chat was moderated by Ellen Richter (@EllenRichter on Twitter).

The #WinklerRNs case was the topic of conversation. In Winkler County, Texas, nurses who went through the torment of being charged for leaking private medical information. One of the nurses went to trial and was acquitted within one hour. Now the nurses are responding

This is an important case, one which – among many other things – highlights the need for swift and bold and sturdy nursing organizations. This case isn’t just about defending nurses: it’s ultimately about the safety of patients, the ethical fiber of nurses and doctors and administrators and government officials. Had Anne Mitchel been found guilty, the ramifications could well have been ominous for the integrity of our entire health care landscape.

Friday’s RNchat, discussed topical features of this case: the best practices for whistle-blowing and how to get more organizations behind nurses and the public. Feel free to share the presentation below.

Let’s hope that nurses don’t become scapegoated victims. Do nurses make technical mistakes? Sure they do – we all do. But it’s critical that nurses never feel afraid of expressing their sincere perceptions, their intuition nor their ethical belief system. People can die under those circumstances.

Nurses are the last Jedi Nights of our faltering Republic. A cheesy metaphor? Yes. But it’s true. Anne Mitchell and the other nurses involved in this case are Jedi Knights who fought through a derangement of how ethics and law and responsibility should work.

Anne Mitchell has gone through a Kafka-like hell. Let’s hope she receives comfort and equity and sanity.

NOTE: We also are preparing for a special even in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Details upcoming soon!

As always, thank you to those who joined today. If you’re new to #RNchat, just follow @RNchat on Twitter and we’ll provide updates and links on how to make the best use of this nursing chat. You can also send inquires to info [at] RNchat [dot] org.

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