Emory Healthcare OB Nurses Fired After Mocking Patients On Viral TikTok
In the world of TikTok, a new trend of describing “icks” has taken over and a group of what appeared to be nurses from Emory University got involved by posting a video of “Labor and Delivery Addition Icks.” (Yes, that’s “Addition” from the video, not “Edition,” as it should be.)
Their “icks” included everything from patients who report 8/10 pain while not dilated and still plan on no epidural, to dads who demand paternity tests outside of the labor room door, to patients’ family members who are too demanding. While some have argued that the video was simply a group of healthcare workers blowing off some steam, others have reacted strongly, saying it’s completely unprofessional and reflects badly, not just for this group of nurses, but the healthcare profession as a whole.
And in a world where videos can go viral quickly, the Emory Healthcare facility responded just as fast, and it appears the healthcare workers in the video have now lost their jobs.
Icks Over an Icks Video
The original video was posted by @hanhinton on TikTok and while the user’s profile is still active as of press time, the original video is no longer appearing on their profile. The video, however, has been posted by many others on TikTok, so it’s still available to view. The video depicted what appeared to be four different nurses with stickers blocking their name tags describing their own personal “icks” that they encountered in the labor and delivery unit.
“My ick is when you come in for your induction talking about, ‘Can I take a shower and eat?’” said one healthcare worker in a condescending tone at the start of the video.
“When you’re going room to room, from one baby mama and your other baby mama…ick,” another said, as laughs can be heard from behind her.
“It’s the unlimited trips to the nurses’ station for me,” added another nurse with an eye roll.
While the comments from the original video can’t be seen, Buzzfeed reported that there was an immediate outcry when the first video was posted. The outcry is still continuing with comments on the reposted video and social media outlets. One video repost, for instance, has 13.7K comments, many criticizing the healthcare workers’ actions in not only having such thoughts towards patient care but in going one step further and recording and publishing it.
One commenter even noticed that ironically, the “icks” video had a pretty major error in it that could be an “ick” by itself:
However, not all the comments were negative. Some pointed out that the “icks” reflected real situations that happen in labor and delivery and noted that they can be irritating because nurses are human after all.
But some of the hardest comments to read were those of pregnant patients, or patients who expressed real pain and hurt in wondering if their own nurses had similar thoughts, or if they would be judged when giving birth.
Disciplinary Action Taken
Regardless of how TikTok viewers and commenters felt, the reaction from the healthcare workers’ employer, Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, was swift.
On December 9, Emory Healthcare posted a statement on Instagram in response to the TikTok video, calling the employees “former employees” and deeming their comments “disrespectful” and “unprofessional.”
“Emory Healthcare is committed to patient- and family-centered care,” the healthcare organization added in their caption.
Reactions on social media are mixed to the disciplinary actions taken by Emory Healthcare towards the nurses. While a large majority supported disciplinary action being taken against the healthcare workers who made the video, others believed that a better course of action would be to help teach them professional standards for future care. After all, it could be argued that the nurses may have been young, grew up in a world where posting everything on social media is the norm, and may have truly not understood how a TikTok video could have such a significant impact on their jobs and patients.
Nurses and Social Media
A Reddit thread discussing the video brought up how it may signal that healthcare workers need better training about handling their social media presence.
“I'm a psychotherapist and, along with obviously not sharing conditional information about clients or having a big identifiable social media presence, I would never say anything publicly (or privately tbh) that would make people who see psychotherapists feel concerned that they are secretly being judged or mocked,” said one commenter. “You represent your profession. And some professions like psychotherapy, nursing, teaching etc. are positions of trust because you work with vulnerable states and groups - so there are expectations that go along with that. I would think that would be conveyed during training.”
Regardless of how you feel about the video, it is a good reminder to brush up on how to manage your social media as a nurse. Some good tips include:
Never post anything that could identify a patient.
Never post about your employing healthcare facility.
Don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable saying in front of your manager, HR, or CEO of the hospital.
Don’t post anything that reflects badly on the nursing profession as a whole.
And while social media videos may have unfortunate consequences such as termination, it’s also important for nurses to realize that negative consequences can extend even beyond losing your job—if you do anything that violates HIPAA for a patient, you could also face civil fines and even lose your license.
The bottom line is when in doubt, avoid the “ick” of a video or post you will regret and stick to decompressing in a way that doesn’t have the potential to hurt you, your co-workers, or anyone else—because losing your job over a TikTok just might be the ultimate “ick.”
Nurse.org reached out directly to Emory Healthcare and did not receive a response at time of publication.