Nurses Fired For Mocking Child With Gunshot Wound on TikTok
Two nurses who worked in the pediatric unit of Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee have been fired after posting a TikTok detailing an incident with a pediatric patient who came in with a gunshot wound. The original TikTok has been deleted, but it was reposted by @nurse_nya, where it quickly garnered outrage.
@nurse_nya This is deplorable behavior. This hospital needs to put out a statement IMMEDIATELY. #lebonheurchildrenshospital #nursenya #patientadvocate #nursepractitionerstudent #blacknurses #blacknurse #blacknursesrock #empathy #pediatrichospital ♬ They Don't Care About Us - Michael Jackson
The TikTok was titled “Pediatric Nurse Icks” and shows two nurses with their masks down detailing what they find to be an apparent “ick” in the world of pediatrics: “When a kid comes in with a gunshot wound but then cries because we gotta stick` em for labs,” one nurse describes as the other one laughs out of frame. The original user, @kennedihall, hashtagged the video #icks #trauma #pedsnurse #rn #nursesoftiktok.
The TikTok video follows a string of other problematic TikTok videos allegedly posted by nurses—such as a group of labor and delivery nurses at Emory Healthcare who joined the “Icks” trend, resulting in those nurses also reportedly losing their jobs.
The Hospital’s Response
Le Bonheur Children’s hospital’s webpage has a clear motto across their site that reads, “Where Every Child Matters” and they did take swift action to address the video on their own social media. The hospital posted that they conducted a “thorough investigation” into the situation and that the individuals who appeared in the video are no longer working for the hospital.
The statement didn’t address if the former or current employees underwent any type of training to specifically address working with patients and patient families with gunshot wounds, but it did note that regular social media training will be conducted with the staff.
The hospital’s Facebook page is currently full of many posts highlighting stories of the wonderful care provided by the hospital’s healthcare team, such as a festive photo shoot in the NICU to a nurse-turned-patient whose pregnancy turned out to be a complicated one. And comments on the hospital’s post poured in from patients’ parents with stories of the care their family had received at the hospital.
The response to the video has been primarily horror and outrage, but many nurses on social media also used the video as an opportunity to point out some important educational points about both nurses and patients working in traumatic situations. Any nurse knows that working in healthcare can be challenging and that even the most outlandish situations can seem routine after a while.
But one nurse noted that the video reminded her of how her mentor once told her that the moment she loses empathy for a patient is the moment to consider that a break or career switch might be necessary.
And another nurse pointed out that despite what the nurses said in the video, it’s actually when patients are in large amounts of pain and going through trauma that seemingly “little” things like getting lab work done become overwhelming.
Although it’s a tough thing to think about, the video can be an important reminder that behind all the work nurses have to do that seems routine, is always a patient who may be facing a tough situation for the very first time—and that always deserves empathy, respect, and compassion.
A Larger Issue at Hand
According to stats, 25 children in Memphis were killed by gun violence in 2022. And in October, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Regan Williams spoke to a local news station regarding the area’s problem with gun violence.
“Overnight, we had a devastating trauma come in that was a gunshot wound,” Dr. Williams told Local Memphis. “Those, unfortunately, have too frequently in our hospital and in our community and frankly, too frequently to children across the country.”
Nurse.org reached out to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and received the same statement that was released to the general public after the incident occurred. The statement can be found above.