'I can have a voice': Sask. appeal court overturns $26,000 penalty levied against nurse for social media posts
SASKATOON -- A Prince Albert nurse who authored a social media post critical of her grandfather's care has had her $26,000 penalty dismissed in a decision by Saskatchewan's highest court.
In 2016, Carolyn Strom was fined for professional misconduct by the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association after criticizing a long-term care home in a 2015 Facebook post saying her grandfather received sub-par care in the weeks before his death.
Strom wrote on Facebook that some unnamed staff at his long-term care facility in Macklin, Sask., were not up to speed on delivering end-of-life care. She also identified herself as a registered nurse.
The Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association reprimanded Strom, fining her $1,000 and ordering her to pay another $25,000 in costs.
She tried unsuccessfully to appeal her case in 2018.
She then headed to Saskatchewan's appeal court to ask that it overturn the earlier appeal dismissal and quash the regulatory body's decision.
"Although she identified as a nurse and an advocate, she was not and did not purport to be carrying out her duties as a nurse. She was on maternity leave and spoke to the quality of care provided by a distant facility with which she had no professional relationship. The private aspect of the posts was made clear and was significant. Further, and as has been noted, the posts have not been shown to be false or exaggerated and, on the face of it, would appear to be balanced," Justice Barrington-Foote wrote in the decision which dismissed the SRNA disciplinary decision.
"I'm glad that it has been ruled that I can have a voice; that nurses and professionals can have a voice about health care, especially when it involves our own family members," Strom said on Tuesday.
--With files from the Canadian Press