Why I Stopped Blogging About Nursing

Scrubs from Jaanuu

Scrubs from Jaanuu

This is a rough one for me to write, so bare with me. My minds going in 100 different ways on how to put this into words but I'm going to do my best. When I first started my blog, I had every intention of it being around 50% nursing. It was a topic I loved to discuss and was something I felt I could really make a difference with. Don't get me wrong, I'll talk to a brick wall for hours about hair and makeup and fashion, but talking about nursing was different. It allowed me to connect, empathize and educate all on a much deeper level and I loved feeling like I was putting something out there that could actually make a difference. I liked to share tidbits of health info, talk about what It's like to be a nurse and share heartwarming/eye opening stories. My intentions were always 100% pure, but I guess that didn't quite relay.

The week before my wedding, I was told by my manager at the time that someone had *anonymously* turned my blog in for a HIPPA violation (HIPPA is a medical information privacy act that essentially states that you can't give any information that would reveal a patient's identity. We are coached on this all throughout nursing school as well as orientation at most healthcare jobs). Should a nurse violate HIPPA, it can result in disciplinary action and being stripped from his or her license. It's a huge deal. To make matters worse, not only did this anonymous person try to turn me in once, they did it TWICE. Once the week of my wedding and once again the week I returned from the honeymoon. The second time they wrote an *anonymous* letter to our compliance office. A LETTER. The happiest time of my life was riddled with worrying about my job. It should be said that I did NOT violate HIPPA, but none the less, the experience of going through this was horrid. Iā€™m omitting quite a few details to ensure the correct amount of privacy regarding the whole issue and I assure you, this is the readers digest version.

I completely understand being concerned about a patient's privacy, I'm concerned every day about maintaining their personal information. But thats the part that stumped me the most. By turning me in twice, it would appear that this person was truly concerned about protecting patients, right? Yet, I never received any message that said, "Hey, you might want to think about taking your blogs down" or "I'm afraid you gave away too much patient info, you might want to look at that again". This made me feel like it was more of an attack than an action in the best interest of patients. Nevertheless,  I spent the week before my wedding and the month after feeling like I had a spotlight on me, and not the good kind. I was concerned for my license, the thing I worked so hard to get. 

At that point, I stopped blogging about nursing. My manager at the time was extremely supportive and encouraged me to continue to blog about nursing, but it gave me no joy, only a pit in my stomach. I was afraid to say anything because I knew there was someone out there that hated me enough to want to get my license taken from me. Let that sink in. SOMEONE WANTED TO RUIN MY CAREER. Thats huge guys, huge. I still get a pit in my stomach when I think about it. 

So where do I go from here? To be honest, I'm still a little afraid, but I have a new found determination. This semester I'm in a class called "Health Care Policy and Advocacy". I cracked open the book and in the FIRST CHAPTER it mentioned a nurse blogger and how she uses that platform to facilitate discussion and change. THE OPENING CHAPTER OF A PUBLISHED TEXT BOOK. WOW. And it hit me. I have a platform mainly comprised of strong, smart women (and a few super cool dudes that put up with me saying that I'm "literally obsessed" with every sweater I try on) and I would be stupid to waste it. As horrible as the whole situation was, it taught me a a valuable lesson. Not everyone wants you to succeed. Not everyone wants you to use your voice. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't.

While my blog is still, and will continue to be, a fashion and lifestyle blog, I'm excited  to start incorporating nursing back into it. I'm ready to start using my voice again and making an impact in my little corner of the internet and I'm excited to have you guys do it with me. As sucky as it was, this whole situation made me extremely conscious and aware, and thats probably a good thing moving forward.

Should the person who turned me in read this- thank you. You gave me a drive and determination to chug forward that I didn't have before. You made me vigilant, sharp and self-aware. You made me realize what this career meant to me and what a special platform I have to share all the wonderful things about nursing. 

So here's to fresh starts and positive outlooks! 

Hannah Vance