Sask. nurse charged with professional misconduct pleads not guilty

Carolyn Strom was reported to the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association after posting on Facebook about her grandfather's care at St. Joseph's Health Facility in Macklin, Sask.

Carolyn Strom posted on Facebook about her grandfather’s care

A comment posted on Facebook has a Prince Albert nurse facing charges of professional misconduct. (CBC)

A nurse from Prince Albert has pleaded not guilty to professional misconduct at a disciplinary hearing over a Facebook post. 

Carolyn Strom's grandfather died in January 2015. The following month she posted a comment to Facebook both criticizing and applauding the efforts made by the palliative care staff at St. Joseph's Health Facility in Macklin, Sask., about 250 kilometres west of Saskatoon.

Strom was reported to the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association (SRNA) by another nurse. SRNA charged Strom with violation of confidentiality, failure to follow proper channels, impact on reputation of facility and staff, failure to first obtain all the facts, and using status of registered nurse of personal purposes under the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses.

When the SRNA and Strom couldn't agree on a statement of facts, the matter was taken to a public disciplinary hearing.

At the two-day hearing last week in Regina, Strom pleaded not guilty.

Strom's lawyer Marcus Davies said the SRNA called witnesses to the hearing who worked at St.Joseph's who said "the comments hurt their feelings". Davies said that shouldn't impact the violation of confidentiality.

"The only people who have ever brought this up are the SRNA, not the grandfather's executors, his estate, his power-of-attorney, which is Carolyn's mother," Davies said.

Carolyn Strom pleaded not guilty to professional misconduct. (Facebook)
Strom also testified during the hearing. Davies said she explained how she uses social media to discuss health care issues.

Davies said the process has been a difficult experience for his client.

"When the prosecutor was so crass to ask her why she didn't ask for her grandfather's permission to post it to Facebook, she burst into tears and said because he was dead. That was a heartless and cruel moment," Davies said.

Davies said it will be a number of months before there's a final decision.

Closing arguments will be made on March 3.


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