Famous Nurse Fired for Instagram Post

Katie Duke, nurse and star of ABC’s NY MED, was fired recently for posting an image to Instagram with the caption man vs. 6 train. The image, seen above, is of a trauma bay after the man was worked on and saved (image from gothamist.com).

This upsets me for a number of reasons. The first is quite obvious to me: Katie Duke is featured on a reality show that follows nurses and doctors as they work hard to save lives in NYCs emergency rooms. The show gives the viewers a unique insight into the challenges that healthcare providers face daily.┬áHer patients stories are broadcast on television–what makes an Instagram picture so dangerous if the show portrays the stories as well?

Second, Katie’s┬ásupervisor allegedly told her that she was not in violation of the hospital’s policies or HIPPA regulations. She was, in fact, being fired for “being insensitive”. Really? Was she being insensitive when she was working to save this man’s life? To a certain degree, I accept that she was being insensitive–but only because nurses have to be insensitive at times to make it through their difficult jobs. When people come in to the ER dead or dying, we need people who can detach from the emotion of that experience and work with clear heads and without shaking hands. A good nurse is one that can detach in times of emergency to provide the best care possible to the patients. There is no blood or body parts or patients in this photo. Just paper and supplies and chaos left by the people who worked to save a life.

The last and most concerning detail for nurses is this: Duke alleges this was a repost from a doctor who originally posted the image to Instagram. And according to Duke, he was not even reprimanded. Lovely.

All of this is concerning to me. In an age of social media and reality TV, we need better guidelines for employees in hospitals. More nurses will undoubtedly fall victim to the same fate as Katie Duke if we don’t work to clear this up. No doubt New York Presbyterian lost a great nurse–a nurse who is not easily replaced.


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