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Old 01-26-2008, 07:14 AM
Nurse Stella
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Default Workplace Censorship

I just read adriennezurub's post about being terminated for writing a book. I had something come up the other day, not quite as drastic, but it still got me thinking. A couple of nurses were discussing a town wide issue in the office, and one of us said, "I'm writing a letter to the editor of the paper". Our agency director, (not a nurse) piped in and said any letters to the newspaper had to be cleared by her! When asked why, she said it's a small town, and people will know where we work, and the letters would sound as if the agency supported the issue. And most definitely we could not sign "RN" after our names. We tried to argue the point that the issue we were discussing had nothing to do with health care, but she didn't care. "There will be retribution for anything printed without my ok." I thought we had a bill guaranteeing freedom of speech?

Bev
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Old 01-26-2008, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Nurse Stella View Post
I just read adriennezurub's post about being terminated for writing a book. I had something come up the other day, not quite as drastic, but it still got me thinking. A couple of nurses were discussing a town wide issue in the office, and one of us said, "I'm writing a letter to the editor of the paper". Our agency director, (not a nurse) piped in and said any letters to the newspaper had to be cleared by her! When asked why, she said it's a small town, and people will know where we work, and the letters would sound as if the agency supported the issue. And most definitely we could not sign "RN" after our names. We tried to argue the point that the issue we were discussing had nothing to do with health care, but she didn't care. "There will be retribution for anything printed without my ok." I thought we had a bill guaranteeing freedom of speech?

Bev
Something is wrong here - we have the right to sign RN after our names anytime we want to and a simple disclaimer in the letter would let everyone know it is not the opinion of the facility.

And there is no way anyone should be able to keep you from using your freedom of speech - this is where a good union comes in or a labor attorney.

Then again, you can always write a letter stating that you WOULD have written a letter, but there is no freedom of speech at your facility!

Stuff like this really ticks me off!
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Old 01-26-2008, 01:34 PM
LesleyJoy
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Bev,

Unless you and the other RNs have signed agreements not to publish letters/books without the express approval of your agency, what your Agency Director has stated is illegal. You might want to consider speaking with the person to whom the Agency Director is responsible.

Joy
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Old 01-26-2008, 04:51 PM
Babyboomer
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I do think there is a phobia out there. I wrote an essay at a national conference last year. I mentioned that as an ambulatory nurse, I found it a little more difficult to implement in-patient based policies into the outpatient settings and that it was nice to have some resources from the association that I was affiliated with. The essay was written at the conference, and to be only published in their newsletter. At work later, I let a co-worker read my original handwritten version. She thought it was great, so she told our manager (not a nurse) to read it. He was very troubled and told me that if any higher ups would read my essay, it would look like he didn't know how to do his job. I was floored. I think any hint of bad press is terrifying to our employers.
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Old 01-26-2008, 06:16 PM
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I don't think it is right but I don't think I could write any letter to any newspaper and sign it with my own name and RN without at least speaking to our communications team.

I am not sure that if it had nothing to do with health they would be interested, but I don't think I would take the chance.

It is, I am afraid, a sign of the times.
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:22 AM
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A very sticky situation. Why should she have anything to do with what you write? If it did come back to the agency all she has to say is that 'as a nursing agency we recommend independent and creative thought in our workplace, we encourage our staff to respect other's views even when we may not agree with them (for the safety and benefit of our patients), as a result the views expressed by ........ on ...... may not be the views of all staff and thus can not to be taken as the views of this agency'.
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Old 01-28-2008, 09:42 AM
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This is loco. Ask your boss to put her/his policy IN WRITING. Unless you signed away your rights as a U.S. citizen when you took the job, you have the right of free speech. If you really want to stir the pot, call the ACLU about this. I bet they would REALLY love to hear about this.

MJ
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:08 PM
Polaris
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We had a situation at our facility where a staff member (not a nurse) wrote a letter to the paper regarding an incident which involved their family member. We also are from a very very small town and everyone knew that she worked at hte hospital.

The incident even involved health care and outside factors which affected her family member's care.

There was nothing but support from our administration. They even made a statement saying she had the right to write a letter as a personal citizen and they supported her right to do so. She did state in her letter that it reflected her views only and not necessarily those of her employer.

Most of the scuttlebutt came from the staff at the hospital. It was equally divided on whether she should have written the letter or not. But regardless, our admin team did a good job of supporting her constitutional rights.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:49 PM
NurseSean
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It's YOUR license....you own that little RN after your name. You paid for it in blood, sweat, and tears (and mucous, and poo, and emesis, etc.).

Sign away!!!
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Old 01-28-2008, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by NurseSean View Post
It's YOUR license....you own that little RN after your name. You paid for it in blood, sweat, and tears (and mucous, and poo, and emesis, etc.).

Sign away!!!
AMEN!


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