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Explosive Problem for the University of Louisville – Nursing Student Expelled for MySpace Blog

March 12th, 2009 · 118 Comments

On Thursday, March 5th we learned that a nursing student at the University of Louisville was expelled because of a post on her MySpace account.

And it’s official. A law suit was filed today alleging the University has violated rights to free speech.

The student, Nina Yoder, filed suit against the University of Louisville, serving the following people: Angela Koshewa, UofL General Counsel; Jack Conway, Kentucky Attorney General; Dr. Ermalynn Kiehl, Associate Dean at UofL; and Dr. Marcia Hern, professor at UofL.

The suit alleges Yoder was expelled after posting her personal opinions on MySpace. They didn’t create a disturbance, didn’t breach confidentiality of any kind and didn’t advocate or endorse any illegal activity whatsoever. But she was kicked out of school, with no warning and no notice of charges against her, and wasn’t allowed to defend herself or present her side of the story during an appeal– which was denied with no reason specified. Long story short, Yoder’s right to free speech under both the Constitution and Kentucky law (sections one and two of the state constitution) was allegedly violated, she was retaliated against by University faculty.

We could go on for days, so let’s take a look at the factual allegations (edited for brevity/clarity, see the full suit by CLICKING HERE):

  • February 26 – Yoder received a call from Glenda Adams, professor at the Nursing School, who stated that she needed to meet with Plaintiff in person the following morning.
  • February 27 – Yoder arrived at the Nursing School and was greeted by Dr. Ermalynn Kiehl, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, who escorted her into an office with two persons believed to be police or campus security officers.
  • Dr. Kiehl informed Yoder that she (Kiehl) had “pictures” and that “students voiced concerns that lead us [the University] to believe you may have a gun.”

Read the rest and see the evidence after the jump…

  • Yoder did not have a gun in her possession at that time, and has never brought any firearm onto University campus.
  • Yoder was subjected to a pat-down search by the two security officers, and was found not to have any firearms or anything illegal on her person.
  • After Yoder was searched, Dr. Kiehl presented her with a printouts of posts allegedly made by Yoder to on her personal MySpace profile page. Here are those postings:


  • The posts were the personal beliefs of Yoder, did not create a disturbance, did not breach confidentiality of any kind, and did not advocate or endorse any illegal activity.
  • Dr. Kiehl informed Yoder that she could not allow her to become a nurse due to the nature of her posts.
  • Dr. Kiehl further informed Yoder that she had been withdrawn from all of her classes, and that she was considered “persona non-grata,” and not allowed to enter the University’s campus.
  • On or about March 2, 2009, Yoder received a letter from Marcia J. Hern, Dean and Professor at the Nursing School, which confirmed her “academic dismissal” due solely to her “internet postings.” Here’s that letter:


  • Per the Nursing School’s procedures, Yoder submitted a petition for review of her dismissal to the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee. See that here:


  • Yoder’s petition (above) specifically complained of violations of her constitutional rights by the Defendants.
  • Yoder was not allowed to attend the meeting of the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee in which her petition was decided, nor was she allowed to contact anyone from the University to inquire as to the status of the petition.
  • On or about March 11, 2009, Yoder received a letter from Dr. Kiehl informing her that her petition was denied. No further reasons for her dismissal was given in the letter, which is here:


Can you believe this? Expelled by a public university for expressing her opinions on a private website. Then she wasn’t allowed to defend herself or address allegations made against her. She appealed the expulsion, which was denied, with no reasoning given. And the University of Louisville thinks this is a-okay.

First the myriad Robert Felner scandals and now this? We don’t remotely agree with anything Yoder had to say on her blog, but what on earth? I have a feeling the national higher education community is going to lose its cool over this mess.

What do YOU think, dear reader?

Tags: Education · First Amendment · Investigation · Mainstream Mistake · UofL

118 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RBecker // Mar 12, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    This is insanity. Press hard on this, Jake, as I know you will.

  • 2 jake // Mar 12, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Insanity is an understatement!

    I’ll defend anybody’s right to say anything– even if I think they’re crazy.

    This just blows my mind. I’ve read and re-read everything from her MySpace account and can’t for the life of me figure out why she’d be in trouble.

  • 3 Marcus Carey // Mar 12, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Time for pitchforks and torches, as
    Glenn Beck would say.

    “Whether I agree with what someone says or not, I will defend to the death their right to say it.” various sources

  • 4 erica // Mar 12, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    what the fuck? i can’t wait to get expelled for leaving this comment!

  • 5 briansmith // Mar 12, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I think a little civil disobedience is in order…

  • 6 briansmith // Mar 12, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Evening rush hour outside the nursing school. Just in time for the 5 o’clock news.

  • 7 jake // Mar 12, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    I think a little competent leadership at the University of Louisville is in order.

    Have another story for tomorrow/soon about even crazier stuff. Stay tuned.

  • 8 William Summer // Mar 12, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Wow, this display of ignorance by U of L is appalling. How could they not foresee the potential fallout from a summary judgment of such a questionable case? What she said and the medium of communication notwithstanding, they didn’t even give her a chance to offer a defense. Is Dick Cheney or Karl Rove on the board of U of L now?

  • 9 E // Mar 12, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    She sure seems to have gone the extra mile to push peoples’ buttons.
    But this is still America, and she still has certain inalienable rights.
    I’m no legal professional, but I’ve played one before. I wouldn’t want to be UofL and have to show that my policies and behavior supercede the Bill of Rights.

  • 10 Marcus Carey // Mar 12, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Good scoop Jake. Great New Media Work!

  • 11 Bruce Maples // Mar 12, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    U of L has absolutely left themselves open to a lawsuit — but I’m not sure the free speech is the strongest argument here. (Although it is certainly compelling.) I think there is an air-tight case on due process and right to legal representation, especially in a hearing that can do significant and irreparable harm to the defendant. Sue for lack of due process and ask for punitive damages.

    And here’s a question — who fails to think of these things? I’m just a manager, not a big wheel like these top administrators, and even I know that you follow due process and allow for representation. These people are clueless, in addition to seeming to be on repeated power trips.

    In fairness, there is one possible explanation for this bizarre story — the Va Tech shooting. That administration settled with most of the victim’s families for $11 million.

    U of L’s response in this case is completely wrong, in my opinion … but I think they may be operating out of a post-VaTech mindset.

  • 12 really? // Mar 12, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I think what we are learning is that JR is like Stalin. We thought it was Felner, and it was, but we are seeing over and over that JR believes he (and UofL) can do anything he wants. No wonder Felner and his ilk thrive at U of L. I’m not surprized that other administrators feel the their power is absolute. I read the blog and I’ve seen much more provocative stuff than this on MySpace. For this U of L ruins the life and career of a young person? For this someone is label persona non grata on state property? Remember the fiasco over the International Service Learning Program? That was another big screw up. How many can there be in five years? What is going on? Is there no oversight in Frankfort or is the whole state this corrupt?

  • 13 Polar // Mar 13, 2009 at 1:26 am

    Expelling Yoder is wrong on more levels and for more reasons than I could ever begin to describe. Ermalynn Kiehl needs to be ousted from her position, along with anyone else who had influence on this decision. I hope Yoder wins her lawsuit. I also would inspire her to publish her writings, as she is not far from being the female version of Hunter S. Thompson. Fucking hilarious!

  • 14 Jessica // Mar 13, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Well, it certainly seems like the whole situation was poorly handled, but that’s not really all that shocking.

    The first letter from the School of Nursing to Yoder says that she violated “the nursing honor code which [she] pledged to uphold on September 7, 2008.” I’d like to know what that’s referring to.

  • 15 Ray Re // Mar 13, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Wow, this chick is rude, crude, and un-PC as Hell. I think I love her. Any nekkid pictures?

  • 16 Bob // Mar 13, 2009 at 10:22 am

    The faculty/administration involved in this mess are in over their heads–unable, it is clear, to deal with the missions and complexities of an urban research institution. Replace them.

    Or wait, maybe this is another “we have great policies we just don’t enforce them” situation. In that case, never mind.

    Anybody still wonder why University Counsel is seen on campus as a big part of the problem rather than a source of the solution? Did these folks graduate from our Law School?

  • 17 Ray Re // Mar 13, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Hell, Bob, Greg Stumbo and David Williams graduated from your law school, a law school which honors a fucking Stalinist like Carl Braden. Dearest Nina, please look me up after you own a chunk of Uof L’s nursing school. We’ll go blow up the woods with AK-47s, one of the three best Russian exports of all times, the other two being women ( not the hairy ass ugly ones) and vodka. You can make me truffles and I’ll pray for you, silently.

  • 18 Novena // Mar 13, 2009 at 11:21 am

    “What Did You Call the UofL?”

    There is a “real” university of the mind, heart, and soul; and a PR-facade of one that exists only as a mere physical entity. Today the UofL has established, for all to see, that it has given up any pretense of being a real university. Enter our grounds, and there will be no truth to find. Step in our hallways, and there will be darkness. We close our office doors to truth-seekers. We welcome those who are fooled by glitz, money, and PR-shams. We are no longer a true university.

  • 19 jake // Mar 13, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I disagree. UofL is definitely a true university.

    The leadership of that university aren’t leaders, however, and should be ousted post haste.

  • 20 Ray Re's Willie // Mar 13, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Jake, please post a pic of Nina post haste. My turgidity is discernable, and I need to know if said turgidity is justifiable ala the split-tail Russian militia pics in Nina’s MySpace postings.

  • 21 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Mar 13, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Sounds like a due process case as alluded to in another comment. It seems likely that with some of her MySpace content she violated the standards for being a nurse, but if she wasn’t given a chance to defend herself, it’s the school that’s in legal trouble at this point, no question.

    On the other hand, if she is reinstated, then given due process after a similar incident in the future (which seems likely given her attitude), it’s likely she won’t become a nurse. She needs to stop her unnecessary negative comments about the profession she’s going into.

    Free speech is great. But if you basically sign a contract to live up to a certain standard, then don’t meet that standard, you’ve lost your right to the benefits that you signed the contract for.

  • 22 jake // Mar 13, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Standards for being a nurse at the University of Louisville don’t dictate that you can’t express your opinion or vent or complain or even make fun of your chosen career path. If that were the case, nearly every nurse I know would have been kicked out of school almost instantaneously.

    Same for physicians.

  • 23 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Mar 13, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Jake, I think she went well beyond your description of merely making fun of her career path. It was clear denigration of the profession. The problem here is that UofL acted too precipitously, rather than undergoing a fair process that would have ultimately led to her dismissal, in my opinion.

  • 24 Novena // Mar 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    “Plato versus Ramsey”

    Jake, what I mean by a “real,” or “true” university is almost a Platonic concept. By that I mean a “real,” or “true,” Form that exists as an ideal of what a more perfected form would look like. By that measure, UofL would seem to be lacking–and its “leaders” would be even more lacking.

  • 25 jake // Mar 13, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Steve, you bring up an important issue: opinion. And UofL is letting opinion get in the way of facts, guidelines, laws, etc.

    Novena, got it.

  • 26 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Mar 13, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Certainly UofL’s school of nursing can act as an arbiter with respect to whether a student violated their code of conduct. As long as the student is given due process, an opinion (as it were) based on any facts that the student violated the code can decide the matter. Sometimes when you break the rules, you pay a price. C’est la vie.

  • 27 Novena // Mar 13, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    “Central Question for Lawyers among US”

    Would not the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment on free speech override any UofL code of conduct?
    Wouldn’t UofL have greater responsibility in terms of breaking the student’s Constitutional rights?

  • 28 Novena // Mar 13, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    “The Chronicle Already Picks Up Yoder Story”

    The controversy at UofL is in the 3/13/09 online issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, the leading academic newspaper in the world. I must say that the story gives more attention to the student’s actions than it does to the UofL’s neglect of due process. Its title is “Expelled for Her Online Comments, Former Nursing Student Sues University.” Perhaps next week’s print addition will throw fuller light on the controversy–though Jake broke it first, as usual.

  • 29 Henry Watterson // Mar 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Novena –

    Not necessarily. Assuming that Yoder signed a contract agreeing to abide by a code of conduct, she may have given up certain rights. The First Amendment is not what people think it is. For example, I have a right to speak my mind in the public square, but my employer can fire me if I go around disparaging the company. In other words, I have a right to say what I think about the company — but they have the right to fire me for saying it.

  • 30 Annex Regent // Mar 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Novena, how about Descartes versus Ramsey…Jim, I think you are a bumpkin political hack, therefore, you are.

  • 31 HowardWCampbelljr // Mar 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I have included what the school of nursing has as their Nursing School Code of Conduct. I am not certain that this is what they are referring to but my read of it does not seem to pertain to what Nina has stated in her myspace page.

    I join my fellow students today to pledge my commitment to the highest ideal and academic standards of my education at the University of Louisville School of Nursing.

    I recognize I am entering a profession in which I have responsibility for the lives of others. With that responsibility comes accountability for my actions.

    Therefore, as a representative of the School of Nursing, I pledge to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, accountability, confidentiality, and professionalism, in all my written work, spoken words, actions and interactions with patients, families, peers and faculty.

    I pledge to work together with my peers and to support one another in the pursuit of excellence in our nursing education and to report unethical behavior.

    I will work to safeguard the health and welfare of clients who have placed their trust in me and will advocate for the client’s best interest.

    I recognize that these responsibilities do not end with graduation, but are a lifelong endeavor.

  • 32 jake // Mar 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    HWCjr: Thanks for that!

    But I still can’t see where she’s violated any code or agreement.

    The entire world of higher education is in an uproar over this mess. And the legal community in Louisville is about to blow a gasket.

  • 33 HowardWCampbelljr // Mar 13, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    One of the point I would look at is the statement “with patients, families, peers and faculty.” At least in her page, she was not dealing with any of the above!

  • 34 Explosive Problem for the University of Louisville - Nursing Student Expelled for MySpace Blog // Mar 13, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    [...] Explosive Problem for the University of Louisville – Nursing Student Expelled for MySpace Blog [...]

  • 35 Annex Regent // Mar 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    FYI, Jake. Louisville lawyers never blow gaskets. The occassional seal, yes, but never gaskets.

  • 36 jake // Mar 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    AR: HA – guess you’ve never been around a drunk attorney/judge. Bourbon is a requirement for gasket blowing, apparently.

  • 37 Flag // Mar 13, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Well, whadayouknow. D’ol administration’s dun it agin. What goes around stays around.

  • 38 Novena // Mar 13, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    “Nietzsche versus JR”

    For Annex Regent:
    Nietzsche: “If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
    JR: “I am the abyss. Is that my arse or brain that I see?”
    Nietzsche: “JR, you are being redundant.”

  • 39 btucker // Mar 13, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    The writings of this would-be Nurse Ratched are harmless (humorless) utterances that should be discounted by anyone with half a brain. I don’t see any violation of anything except, perhaps, good taste.

    The University may never get the dung back into the mule on this one.

  • 40 Tom // Mar 14, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Ray Re,
    Just so you know, Nina is from Russia. So if you take her into the woods with an AK, you’ll have 2 of the best Russian exports. Speaking as someone who has been in the woods with her and an AK, it’s good times.
    Here is a link to the local news article, you can see pics of here there, and even video. Not nekkid though :(
    Nina came from Russia, joined the US Army after 9-11-01 as a Medic, got her US citizenship, and is now trying to become an RN on her GI Bill.
    She’s a tough girl, and I hope she does well. I don’t think UofL has a chance, but some student activism would probably help.

  • 41 wc // Mar 14, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Wow, what a story. I heard about this and was fully prepared to support UofL on this one. As a teacher educator, we too have a code for teachers; we expect teacher candiates to uphold certain standards, such as for example, not treating some kids differently because of their race, gender, etc. So comments like, “I made that kid miss recess just to see a black kid cry” would be enough to dismiss the teacher candidate from the program. So, I was fully prepared to support the dismissal of a nursing student that violated a code of conduct.

    But I read every word of Nina’s facebook page and blog. Every word. She’s a true right winger and I happen to disagree with all her politics. But there were no comments that led me to believe she was in any way incompetent or that she mistreated any patient–or even that she harbors views that would preference some patients over others. Ok, she’s a mess–a clever, excellent writer who probably has some deep rooted anger from growing up in Russia. But there was nothing here that would warrant a dismissal–nothing against the code that Howard shared. Is there some other code out there we are not privvy too–one that says nursing students can’t like Sarah Palin? If there isn’t something missing here, UofL is in deep shit on this one.

    Ok, ok. I am convinced! The problem IS Ramsey, not Willihnganz and Felner and Karp and Ronau and Kolander and ….

    Buck stops with you Ramsey. You blew it again.

  • 42 Always Amazed // Mar 14, 2009 at 10:45 am

    A question for UL officials: if the CEHD students had blogged about their reactions to Felner’s unethical behavior or the unethical behavior observed of his annointed “leadership team”, would they have been expelled without the right to appeal? Were there CEHD students who were intimidated to leave that program but not as gutsy/smart as Yoder to hire an attorney?

    Yes, there is a pattern that is starting to reveal itself. I’m sure a few ex-CEHD faculty will say that they left instead of fighting like Yoder is fighting because the risk of damage to their careers was too high to instigate a legal battle.

    Jake’s reporting of the Felner story created a fertile bed for Yoder’s story to receive such national attention and for Yoder to get a chance to speak publicly through the media. Without that prep, Yoder’s story wouldn’t have much weight becuase it would be easy for the C-J to back Ramsey and spin Yoder as a nutcase if the story reached the light of day.

    Jake, your blog is a safe place that the general public now knows they can tell their story and that is HUGE.

  • 43 jake // Mar 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Note to anyone at UofL: Could you provide me with a copy of all documents nursing students must sign that are similar in nature to the one noted above?

  • 44 L Sabin // Mar 14, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I guess I just don’t understand how attendance in a public university can be contingent on the attendee’s willingness to sign away his/her constitutional rights. Are there any other instances where you have to waive constitutional rights in exchange for access to a public facility?

    As someone mentioned earlier, if this were a private school or private employer, it would be different. It seems to me like this case hinges on the fact that UofL is a public university.

  • 45 Ray Re Rachmaninoff // Mar 14, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Dang, Tom, I see Nina makes you breast feed. Russian chicks are tough, aren’t they?

  • 46 wc // Mar 14, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    L Sabin,

    It is not “attendance at the university” that is contigent upon signing away rights. Likely, Nina could do or say just about anything and no one would raise an eyebrow in her Eng 101 or Chem 100 class. It is when she enters a profession and the profession seeks to uphold a code that a contract of sorts becomes part of the equation. Then, she either signs or she seeks a different profession. It works with teaching, law, medicine, etc.

    However, in this case the code she signed, as posted here, was generic. She violated nothing. Had she said she refused to give meds to the boo hooing patient, then the university might have the right to kick her out. But as outrageous and vile as her words might be, she did not violate the code. She made no statements that would reflect poorly on her actions as a nurse.

    I just bet…just bet… it was other students who raised a stink, don’t like her, and wanted her out. They went to the dean who went to the provost, and the provost this time decides to be tough and get on top of this and bam! Nina is out. The problem is–the provost would be wrong on this one just as she was wrong on the Felner one. Niether the provost nor the president has a mind for this sort of thing (i.e., rights) and can provide no leadership. These folks just can’t get it right.

  • 47 wondering // Mar 14, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    It seems that some folks on witch hunting trip managed to put nina in trouble. Why were they were reading her personal stuff to begin with?

  • 48 Marc // Mar 14, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Warning UofL students, if this is the “constitutional bar” that UofL officials are judging as offensive and dangerous than a lot of other student’s heads are going to roll. There may not be anyone left on campus! I just read her myspace and truly don’t get the fuss??????? It’s a little radical on the second amendment and religion, but there’s a great deal of conversation about the sanctity of human life. I never saw any postings that were outwardly racist and nothing more derogatory than what you would see on cable TV! It’s actually rather mild compared to many of the myspaces out there. In some ways it seemed like a confusing combination of Rush Limbaugh, the movie Religulous and a Monty Python skit.
    Where is the violation of confidentiality? She never mentioned a name; she didn’t even mention a location.
    Before you believe the sensationalism of the talking head media you might want to go to her site yourself like I did. You might be surprised! Don’t forget she is veteran who has supported our country and the freedom of speech that is protected under the US constitution.

    I know Nina and from my observations she is a very good mother, a caring person and would make an excellent nurse
    Good luck Nina!

  • 49 Novena // Mar 15, 2009 at 6:35 am

    “The CEHD Exodus and Its Reasons”

    Always Amazed, re: your point about why many faculty left UofL. Here are some reasons:
    (1) most all got better jobs on saner campuses;
    (2) they were tired of hitting their heads against the granite, i.e., the merciless, uncaring power of Bobby, his team of losers, and the knuckleheads in Grawemeyer;
    (3) they knew they were working with a madman, supported and allowed to run loose by the same above knuckleheads (note that nothing was done even after a vote of no confidence against Felner);
    (4) they sensed that nothing was going to change for a very long time (note the cadavers we call the Board of Trustees who continue to back JR, SW, etc., no matter what they do).
    Indeed, the ex-faculty have been shown to be correct on all those counts. From all reports, they have definitely landed in more sober, happy pastures. And they still feel for those who remain.

  • 50 Ray Re // Mar 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Nina and Tom, here’s the skinny..Tell those “old Americans” skeered of guns to kiss your freedom loving asses. They patted you down??? For the love of (insert preference here)

  • 51 Flag // Mar 16, 2009 at 11:34 am

    The pat down was nothing more than trying to find a valid reason to expel her. They must have realized that they had no basis. Not sure the pat down itself wasn’t a violation of her rights – in the absence of other due cause or consent.

  • 52 Novena // Mar 16, 2009 at 11:54 am

    “Nina vs. Bobby”

    Flag, do you think Felner got such a “pat down’? Remember (how can we forget?), he was a powerful dean, however awful. Nina had far less power as a student. But she still has rights. Maybe the “pat down” issue should be in her lawsuit.

  • 53 AtUofL // Mar 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Due process anyone?

  • 54 HarryFTP // Mar 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Go Nina – may your actions give others at UofL (faculty, staff and students alike) the courage and inspiration to stand up for their rights!

  • 55 Al // Mar 16, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I think there’s probably some serious forehead slapping going on amongst the Universitiy’s administration right now.

    This is a thinly veiled and poorly executed witch hunt that is so glaringly obvious, their credibility has been irreparably damaged.

    HIPAA?…not even close. If it were HIPAA related, then that would have been the charge. Think about it. They know it’s not a HIPAA violation.

    The truth is, she called Jane Fonda the “c” word, satirically chided that god might enjoy his alone time doing things that will make him go blind, and since she supports the second amendment is ostensibly a loony whackjob gun nut that isn’t “fit” to be a nurse.

    I would hope the Dean has enough sense to realize the potentially expensive situation the associate Deans have myopically created and reinstates her immediately.

    Then again, she might not want to go back. She can use the money she’ll get in this U of L debacle to go somewhere with adult supervision.

  • 56 marie // Mar 17, 2009 at 2:56 am

    As someone who was also denied due process at U of L, this comes as no surprise. Add to that, U of L’s obsession with guns (due in part, one might imagine, because administrators and managers regularly engage in psychological violence); rather than take into account Nina’s clinical and/or coursework, they choose the most irrational route possible.

    I don’t agree with Nina’s politics either but as to her becoming a nurse, nurses often have the blackest gallows humor you’re likely to find. Survival mechanism?

    The University has gotten away with so much for so long they may have completely forgotten that there can be consequences for reckless, thoughtless behavior. This time they threw away a young woman who grew up in Russia and had been an Army medic. Her writings are not incendiary; to suggest that they are is akin to saying reading astrology books is tantamount to practicing witchcraft. But why would anyone at Uof L bother basing anything in reality?

    Of course, the irony is that U of L doesn’t honor its “codes of conduct”. Funny thing, the ones who love regulations and policies the most are the first ones to violate them.

  • 57 Novena // Mar 17, 2009 at 7:23 am

    “The Empty Codes, the Silent Ethics”

    Marie, as you well know, UofL has been in a moral morass for quite some time. Its “leaders” make the rules, interpret them, and twist or forget them whenever and however they see fit. That is, they do what they want with impunity. No one calls them out; the Board of Cadavers forever rests in peace. The honchos realize that the cardinal rule is not to lose. That is why UofL is a campus adrift, bereft of guiding principles and real ethical standards to live by. Within that ethos, it is hypocritical to speak of “codes of conduct.”

  • 58 AtUofL // Mar 17, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Unfortunately, hostile environments for students, faculty and staff are still commonplace at UofL. Administrators are allowed to berate, humiliate and slander those under them. Training programs for leaders in terms of how to supervise effectively, humanely and fairly are needed. HR staff will not stand up for an employee, who is treated badly. There in fact is another major problem.

  • 59 Novena // Mar 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    “Looking for Motivation at Belknap”

    The HR Dept. has long been a joke. It seldom acts swiftly, competently, or humanely; and few ask it for any protection because they know better. Given that long-standing problem and the moral morass at least since Felner stepped foot on campus, you have a tragic waste of human talent in mind, soul, and energy. How long before all hope is abandoned, JR, SW, and Board of Cadavers?

  • 60 Flag // Mar 17, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    JR and Shirley can honestly (dare I use that word with them?) say they have put us in the national spotlight… again. UofL’s 15 seconds of fame is turning into a Stephen King nightmare embedded within the twilight zone.

    Why is it that our first amendment rights are not staunchly PROTECTED by the administrators of this school rather than being attacked? Second amendment rights next?

  • 61 nur student // Mar 20, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I am a strong supporter of freedom of speech and dur process. This has been a topic of HUGE discussion in the nursing department of my Louisville University. If I was the patient that Ms. Yoder was referring to in this blog…. I would feel totally violated that she participated in the delivery of my child and voiced her experience in such a manner. The patient knows who this student is…. and even if the patient is not identified…her blog entry reflects the event in a very negative way…. and if the patient reads has had access to the web blog she is probably very devistated… So, while keeping this in mind…The concern over the my space entry is not just about the author of the content, it is indeed about the patient.. Who by now with all of the publicity has had access to the entries and has probably had her feelings very hurt and may have a degraded trust in health care workers as a result…. Just a different perspective to throw out there….

  • 62 Not confused ... // Mar 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks, Tom (#40 above) for the background on Nina Yoder.

    Of all the students (and faculty and staff) on the UofL campus, it appears that Ms. Yoder is one of the few who has earned the right to free speech. I may not (or may) agree with her or her positions, but she has by-all-that’s-holy EARNED the right to speak freely.

    It is simply stunning that she has been treated so badly in a university in the country she chose, and chose freely to defend.

    Thank you, too, Jake, for carrying the flag on a campus where its meaning is little honored except in the cowardice of the abstract.

  • 63 Davi // Mar 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Speaking of UofL: what’s up with eight neurosurgeons leaving to go to Norton, and supposedly causing the demise of the crucial Trauma Unit at University Hospital???

    Seems to me there must be more to the story than Norton’s suddenly tempting them away with $$. After all, Norton didn’t hatch this idea of a new neurosurgery unit out of thin air and in the last few days.

    Unrest at UofL in general, maybe? Let’s have all the cards on the table.

  • 64 jake // Mar 20, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Davi: There’s tons more to the story and a lot of it has to do with Norton’s dirty tricks.

    I’ll have more on the story as I find the time.

  • 65 Mystery M // Mar 24, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    I’m a true Republican so not as likely to be offended by Nina’s blog as some. That being said, I have many a Democratic-minded friend and we are able to happily agree to disagree. Seems the nursing school at UofL is not so forgiving.

    I know from experience that almost every class at UofL nursing involves some ‘teaching’ on why you should be a liberal. Guess they’re not so interested when someone else states an opposing opinion! Seems we are taught that you have to be open-minded & accepting of others, unless of course your views are different that the administration. THOSE views we cannot accept!

    I keep thinking there has to be more to this story because it seems so CRAZY. It would be nice if students could speak out — but what happened to Nina could happen to anyone of them. Students have been intimidated into silence, which was likely the whole idea.

  • 66 Looking for an Update // Mar 25, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Just wondering — do you have anything that UofL filed in reply? I’d love to hear their argument. I’m guessing they will attempt to skirt the issue with procedural arguments.

    FYI, students are only asked to sign the honor code, which someone posted above. There is also a student handbook for the nursing school (which can be sent as a pdf if you don’t already have it.) Sorry to be anonymous, but we live in fear!

  • 67 jake // Mar 25, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Looking: I’ll check court records later today, but I doubt UofL has responded yet.

    Don’t have the handbook. Send it along! You’ll see my email address at this link. Thanks.

  • 68 really? // Mar 25, 2009 at 9:56 am

    And isn’t today the hearing for the separate trials in the Felner case? Anyone know anything?

  • 69 Current Nursing Student // Mar 25, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    As a nursing student who was in class with Nina, I found this whole event to be insanely ridiculous and completely unjustified. I do believe the staff and faculty used these blogs as a strategy to dismiss her, as she had already rubbed some faculty the wrong way. That is not grounds for dismissal.

    Nina is an incredibly competent student who has wonderful patient skills. We worked together several times, and she always demonstrated nothing less than a professional attitude and respect for her patients. I elieve it was because of her confidence in her skills and knowledge that she was not afraid to voice frustration with the completely unorganized program. It is unacceptable that so many students are passing nursing school because they can say please and thank you to the staff, while unable to demonstrate any professional skill.

    Some nursing students did not like Nina, and I’m assuming this is why they reported ‘concern’ over her having guns. Having conersations related to the right to bear arms and having pictures of guns on a blog does not mean you want to kill people. Let’s use some common sense UL. The Constitution upholds the right to own guns. Nina never expressed to me that she wished to bring guns to school, or that she had any intent to harm anyone, thus eliminating the VA Tech concern.

    I am glad to see so many become riled by this situation. It seemed to pass almost unnoticed at the school of nursing, which in turn infuriated me. Please keep up the activity and I will in turn keep you updated with what I find out. The school has still yet to reply to the situation. I can only imagine why.

  • 70 Novena // Mar 26, 2009 at 9:02 am

    “Nina, Nadir & Nursing”

    It seems the UofL School of Nursing faculty and staff might be like so many others that privilege compliant, docile students over all others, i. e., check-list mentalities over truly competent students. Those who question are not usually popular with the honchos. Those who “go along” and “play the game” tend to reap the rewards. Unfortunately, some of academe and the professions have reached that kind of nadir.

  • 71 Current Nursing Student // Mar 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    To the Nur Student above (61) the patient is aware of the content of her blog and was obliged to sign a petition for Nina stating that she did not feel any of her rights had been violated.

    And how has this been a huge topic of discussion at the SON? Some people are not even aware it has happened, and I’ve never really heard anyone talk about it, other than when they initially found out. I wish there was more discussion about it.

  • 72 Chicagonurse // Apr 6, 2009 at 1:56 am

    After reading above articles and attached memos and letters. I still cant phantom why the university expelled her? Has she been in trouble before? What she should does on her own personal time is her business. Any personal opinions she has is hers. She did not violate the HIPPA law. I would rally with her you guys. She needs your support. We need nurses out here. Nursing school is difficult and stressful enough. Why couldn’t the school just give her a verbal warning. I am sure she meant no malicious intent by it. Better yet, the university better start putting such policies in their handbooks, before expelling students for something they have no clue what for. This is a nursing student for goodness sakes. She is entering the field of professionals where compassionate, and educating the patients are necessary to establish trust with their patient. The university should tell her what they felt was inappropriate. There was no guns, drinking, or nudity involved. No act of terror. Just a kid talking and venting.

    Protest the university. This is wrong. Do you know how difficult it would be for her to get back into another nursing program? There are up two to three years wait list. I am sure the university will black list her, so if she was to go to another program, those instructors will be ready for her.

    One thing for sure, you mess with a school and or its instructors, they retailate. Its highschool play ball time. Those instructors and deans are given way too much power.

    Can someone do a research? I challenge anyone to research various types of colleges and universities. Interview the students and see what they have experienced and how did the school respond. Where the student(s) retalilated upon. If so, how? How many of these schools change their polices as needed not retroactively with students.

    When I was in nursing school. I went to a community college. A month before graduation, the vice chancellor decided to give a HESI test. Didn’t know what that was. We took the test and out of 42 of our graduatiing class, only 3 passed. What happens if you didn’t pass HESI. Well, you don’t get to take the NCLEX., and you are not given your nursing degree.
    We pleaded to give us another chance. That we were no familiar with such test. Plus, they told us a month before graduation. Which set us up in a panic frenzy. We couldn’t understand how we completed the nursing program and be given an exam that we had to pass by 87%. When all throughout the nursing program our passing was 78%. How can they suddenly change the policy and the passing grade before we graduate?

    Until now that is still going on at the city college. Hundreds of nurses completing the program and if they don’t pass HESI a probability exam. They get nothing. HESI is a diagnositc test, it determines the students and faculty’s areas of weakness throughout their curriculum. But, instead, the city college is using it to determine if you will pass NCLEX the first time. They need to know that you have 87% chance you pass state board. Why? The school gets a certain amount of money from the state, if the school can show above 80% first time test taker NCLEX pass rate. The 39 students wasted their money and the years of sacrifice. They have nothing left, not even their pride. Just pure humuliation.
    The city college abandoned their students. They used and continue to use their students as guinea pigs for this test.
    The NCLEX is the true competency test not HESI. You can’t even use the nursing process when it comes to taking HESI.
    The city college will continue to abuse their students. They will continue to take their money, and pride. They do not care. Its all about business not morals.

    Until the students stand up for what is right. Until than, the abuse will continue to follow the next and the next student.

    In the early 60′s and 70′s students stood up for what was right. They rallied. They made sure their voices were heard. Changes were made.
    Nowadays, students feel that they are in the mercy of the school and professors.

    Speak up! Team up! You need to make the change.

  • 73 Chicagonurse // Apr 6, 2009 at 3:00 am

    NINA…Fight Fight Fight

    The Universities and colleges always assume they can beat the students based on fiancial reasons.

    I hope you have supporters who will be there at your time of need.

    Come on guys, this lady was an army medic? The university didn’t even have the brains to talk to her about her actions. Just kick her right out. As far as the patient’s feelings maybe hurt or her patient may know what nina said about her. Is NOT breaking any law, especially HIPPA.

    Noone can prove unless nina dated the day of event, the hospital where she had clinicals, and the unit that it was a specific patient. Plus, nina could of have more than one patient that day.

    Students stand up for yourselves. Don’t let the university bully you around. This is your future that you are paying for. You deserve to be treated respectfully, and professionally.

    I would like to see this on TV here in chicago.
    The city colleges are bullying their students here too. The nursing students graduated from the program but won’t let them take her NCLEX exam or give them their degrees.

    Whats going on with our higher education system??? Does anyone really want to teach anymore?

  • 74 Novena // Apr 6, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    “Who Needs Deans? We Need Nurses”

    Yes, Chicagonurse, many college administrators don’t listen to anybody but those above them and seldom think before they act. The time they put into reflection can be as tiny as that they put into reading and scholarship. Actually, I’ve had custodians be of more help than most deans (certainly more than the psycho dean who dined on CEHD blood). I don’t know the nursing dean at UofL, but she does make me wonder. Perhaps mortuary science would be more to her liking, i. e., beating up on dead bodies instead of Nina. At least the dean wouldn’t be expected to listen.

  • 75 Whattocomplain? // Apr 6, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    CEHD folks has an excellent dean now. Why you guys are still complaining? Take gentle care folks and stop whining. Spend same time on research.

  • 76 Novena // Apr 6, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    “Your Retort is Ill-Taken”

    “We guys” were referring to one Herr Felner, as if you didn’t know. “Excellence” is in the eyes of the beholders, usually those in a dean’s graces versus those who are not. You miss that point, SS? Spend time on research? Let’s count our books, sweetie. And “take gentle care” for those who still suffer in the CEHD (their wounds are yet to heal).

  • 77 Keithulhu // Apr 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    She is certainly repulsive, repugnant, reprehensible (why do so many distasteful things begin with “Rep”…)

    But she is within her rights, and due process has been witheld.

    I wouldn’t want her near me as a nurse, but I believe that when allowed to do so, the system works.

    Let her finish school, and let her continue to spew her vitriol. Good luck finding a job, and if she is employed, people have a right to raise hell with her employer and demand she be kept away from them.

    Everybody wins, she gets her degree and to continue to get the attention she clearly craves, and the people are kept safe through their own right to counter her views with their own demands to be kept safe from her.

    Anyone can blog in anonymity, and she chose to have her vitriol attached to her real name. Any reasonable person would know the likely outcome would be conrtoversy. Lets keep that in mind before treating her as a victim. But she still has a right to due process.

  • 78 Karl Marx // Apr 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Wow! What an upside down weird world. She had to come all the way from Russia to the United States to have her rights violated. Shame on you UofL, maybe they don’t practice due process in Moscow but they do in America!

  • 79 me // Apr 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation.

    This is not a free speech issue, but a violation of a patient’s RIGHT to ensure her medical information is protected.

    This student is a healthcare worker and a unique relationship with the patient is obligated not to disclose any personal health information she might acquire during her duties.

    I read the example posted in this article. With very little research I could identify this patient.

    This nursing student revealed personal medical information about per patient.

    This is a HIPAA violation.

    HIPAA violations are subject to dismissal, fine, imprisonment, article 15, loss of licensure.

    It does not matter the level of the healthcare worker – student or physician or clerk.

    The should not come as surprise to the student as every student in the US is subjected to a block of instruction delineating what is personal health information, what can and cannot be revealed, and had to sign a form indicating his or her understanding.

    Again – this is not a free speech issue, this student can say as many bad things about her school and her clinicals as she wants!

    But she may not reveal a person’s personal medical information in her rants.

    This was a violation of a patient’s RIGHT to ensure her medical information is protected.

  • 80 jake // Apr 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Read above.

    This isn’t a HIPAA violation. And that’s not why she was expelled, according to the University.

  • 81 chicagonurse // Apr 11, 2009 at 1:20 am

    HIPPA is violated if you use the patient’s name and or patient’s room number. Did this young lady disclose any of those two?
    What she diclosing her feeling about a patient she just took cared was pretty immature. But, it does not call for explusion. I think some sort of remediation is better than explusion. Their policy book will obviously need some revision. In case other incidents occur.

  • 82 chicagonurse // Apr 11, 2009 at 1:23 am

    You violate HIPPA is you used the patients name and or room number. Did she use tha? What I think she did was a bit immature. But is no reason to be expulled. She needed to be taught a lesson, but certainly not expulsion.
    Give her a chance. She is obviously a good student since she made this far into your program. Remediate with her is a better answer.

  • 83 marie // Apr 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Just got around to reading Nina’s September 17 MySpace post. To my mind, her Soviet adolescence served as a prep school for what
    awaited her at U of L.: its psychological equivalent. What happens in “basements” or behind closed doors rarely sees the light of day. (Agree wholeheartedly with really?’s comparison of JR to Stalin).

    I was very interested to read Current Nursing Student’s observation that Nina demonstrated “nothing less than a professional attitude and respect for her patients”. I only wish there was
    more support and free-thinking like hers in the nursing school.

    Chicagonurse has witnessed an unfair scenario at her own college and stresses the importance of not backing down. Acting hastily as always, the university cancelled Nina Yoder’s scheduled hearing last Friday. Adding fuel to the fire and finding the tragicomic mask’s a good fit, I think U of L must be feeling lonely, making it up
    as they go, in a class of their own.

  • 84 Panacea // Apr 13, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    I’ve looked at Yoder’s blog. I can understand why she was expelled.

    Nina Yoder violated the Nursing School Code of Conduct, in the following paragraphs:

    “I join my fellow students today to pledge my commitment to the highest ideal and academic standards of my education at the University of Louisville School of Nursing.

    I recognize I am entering a profession in which I have responsibility for the lives of others. With that responsibility comes accountability for my actions.

    Therefore, as a representative of the School of Nursing, I pledge to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, accountability, confidentiality, and professionalism, in all my written work, spoken words, actions and interactions with patients, families, peers and faculty.”

    Where did she violate it?

    In a word: professionalism. Her statements in her blog did not put herself in a good light as a professional, and thus she was dismissed.

    I can understand the need to use gallows humor. Many nurses use it as a coping mechanism. But if you get caught using it on the job, you are disciplined, bottom line.

    She has refused to accept accountability for her actions in making her unprofessional and derogatory remarks (even if she didn’t mean them).

    Thus, her dismissal. Even if she is reinstated, the Board of Nursing would have every right to refuse to issue her a permit to take the NCLEX (the national licensing exam), or to issue her a license. Boards of Nursing in every state are pit bulls when it comes to professionalism.

    Here’s a disclaimer: I am an RN with 25 years experience in health care. I currently work as a full time nursing instructor at a community college.

    I am appalled by Yoder’s behavior. If she were a student in my class, I also would be seeking her dismissal. At the very least, she would have to sign a contract putting her on probation, to face automatic dismissal if she continued to behave unprofessionally.

    I look at this girl and think, “Yoder, you are just plain stupid.” Why? Because employers today look for our Facebook and MySpace pages. Had she applied for a job, and a prospective employer found this page, she would never get a job. Poor judgement, plain and simple, regardless of whether or not her blog is protected speech.

    Just because speech is protected doesn’t make it smart.

    Yoder, I hope you see this, and take an opportunity to hear the other side of the fence and wise up. You KNOW what would have happened had you done something like this in the military. Don’t think the private sector is any more forgiving.

    Maybe you think that’s unfair, and I’m a bitch.

    But that’s the real world, kiddo.

  • 85 jake // Apr 14, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Panacea – That’d be fine and dandy. But that’s not the reason she was expelled – UofL didn’t cite the code of conduct.

  • 86 Ivan // Apr 15, 2009 at 6:21 am

    You guys are scary. This person signs a confidentiality agreement (as an adult, you guys do want to be treated like adults right?) then CLEARLY violates that agreement, and there should be no repercussions? Let’s not even take into account her website is blatantly racist. If poor Nina were a police cadet you guys would be singing a different tune, “damn racist cops, see how they are: they let anyone in”. Nursing is no different. Nina could one day be making life and death decisions. She is a racist. It is reasonable to assume that one day under her care a patient who is a minority might, at a minimal, not receive optimal care. Her first amendment rights have not been violated. She can scream her racist rants all she wants. She violated the policy/code particular to the school of nursing.

  • 87 Yep // Apr 15, 2009 at 7:52 am

    I’m a nurse, and I agree with Ivan & Me. We have a code of conduct to uphold, and are trusted with a patient’s right to privacy. She not only discusses one patient’s experience (the one who gave birth), but if you read on, she denigrates the people around the health sciences campus (also patients who utilize the services of the clinics and hospital there), and 2 suicidal patients.
    I don’t want her among our ranks. I don’t want to work with someone who thinks of babies as “creeps,” thinks of suicide-attempt victims as “idiots,” and who says such vile things about the underserved, poor, and yes- mostly black patients that use the university’s medical system. I don’t want her taking care of my family members, either. Period.
    And her attorney is an idiot. Even if she wins this case (and I hope to God she doesn’t), who is going to hire her after this? They made her vitriolic blog even more public, by alerting the media. And then they very publicly sue the school. No hospital is going to hire her after this- and she did all of this herself. And, BTW, employers do look at potential candidates’ Myspace and Facebook profiles.
    Free speech involves being willing to pay the consequences of your actions, in order to freely express yourself. She has expressed herself. Now she must pay the consequences, since she most certainly did violate HIPAA, as well as the school’s Code of Conduct. These concepts haven’t been that hard to grasp for the thousands of working nurses here in KY who have made it through school, and manage to maintain licensure. It’s really not that hard to maintain patient privacy. She wants attention, and she has gotten it. She shows an astounding lack of judgment, as evidenced by her blog, her failure to realize how wrong it was to discuss her patients, her failure to take down the blog during the case, and in the seeking of publicity regarding her case. Such a lack of judgment could be a danger to the public, should she have to make a life-or-death decision for a patient some day.

  • 88 Panacea // Apr 15, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Ivan: Professionalism is PRECISELY was why was dismissed. The Dean’s letter explicitly says so:

    “It has been determined that your Internet postings regarding patient activities and identification as a University of Louisville student violates the nursing code of honor which you pledged to uphold on September 7, 2008. Upon evaluation of your demonstrated fitness to continue in the program in accordance with promulgated professional standards established by the School of Nursing,” etc etc.

    Didn’t anyone noticed her description of bringing a CAMERA into the clinic setting?!?!?!?

    That’s the HIPPA violation. What astonishes me equally as much is that the hospital allowed it. It’s verboten everywhere I’ve ever worked. (And maybe the staff there need to be disciplined as well, but that’s a separate issue).

    The unprofessionalism comes in her obnoxious comments, such as, “99% of the time, clinics are a waste of my time.”

    Since a majority of nursing training actually takes place IN the hospital, she’s saying 99% of her education is a waste. This does not speak well of her commitment, or that she takes her education seriously. It makes me wonder what she does with her time in clinic. It tells me she’s not focusing on learning to care for patients.

    Maybe I’m wrong and she really does care, is really committed, really does learn from clinic. But you wouldn’t know it from her posts.

    I’m with Yep. I don’t want her working on my unit.

  • 89 jake // Apr 15, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Ah, those fancy “standards” that aren’t outlined anywhere, definitely not in any documentation provided to students by the School of Nursing, definitely not in any documentation/agreement Yoder signed.

    Fact of the matter is, Yoder didn’t violate confidentiality – that’s pretty clear. Fact of the matter is, she didn’t violate any agreement she signed – that’s pretty clear.

    Hate her ignorance as much as I personally do. That’s fine. I think she’s a wingnut who probably needs therapy on a daily basis from here to eternity. But that doesn’t give us the right to push her out of school because we disagree with her crazy ass.

  • 90 keatssycamore // Apr 15, 2009 at 9:36 am


    Are you guys allowed to carry CELL PHONES in the “clinic setting”? Then you (and everyone else) are carrying a CAMERA (*gasp*) in the “clinic setting”, no?

    Based on your reasoning, even a CELL PHONE with no CAMERA (do they still make those?) in the “clinic setting” is a HIPAA violation b/c it could be turned on and someone might hear a patient’s voice and, blam, patient’s anonymity would be violated.

    BTW, did you read above where the woman whose baby Yoder delivered signed an affidavit explaining that Yoder had been PRECISELY PROFESSIONAL in her dealings with said patient?

    But, whatever, you and the other thought police can just put her in the hole until she gets her mind right, “what we have here, Nina, is a failure to communicate”.

  • 91 Panacea // Apr 15, 2009 at 9:56 am

    keatssycamore: Actually, the student handbook where I teach specifically forbids cellphones, smartphones, and PDAs, as well as cameras and tape recorders in the clinic setting . . . specifically to protect against HIPPA violations.

    Since the University has not commented on this issue, I would be interested to see THEIR student handbook (not the same as the code of conduct) and see if they are allowed to bring these items into clinic.

    If my students bring them, I make them return them to their car.

    Regarding the affidavit. Yes, I read it. And I don’t care a whit that the patient signed an affidavit regarding Yoder’s conduct after the fact. If Yoder didn’t have written permission from the patient in advance of bringing a camera, in accordance to the policies of the hospital (and with THEIR consent), as well as her clinic instructor, then Yoder still violated HIPPA and behaved in a non-professional manner. Hence, her expulsion.

    Having the patient say, “Nina didn’t offend me” does not make Yoder’s behavior OK.

    I don’t police anyone’s thoughts. I do police the conduct of my students. If they do not behave in accordance with those policies, I take corrective action.

    If you put your thoughts out on Facebook, then they are there for the world to see, and it is the same as speaking it in the classroom, or clinic setting.

    Had Yoder shown some common sense about what she put out in public, then she’d still be in nursing school. She’s not taken any ownership in her own actions, therefore I have no sympathy for her at all.

    jake: the Standards of Nursing care are readily available, and made available to nursing students. The Standards of Nursing are set by the American Nursing Association and incorporated into the Nurse Practice Act of every US state and territory. Student nurses are held to these standards while they are students because they are practicing on the license of their instructor.

    These documents are available online or directly from the ANA and the Board of Nursing in your state.

    Physicians have similar documents outlining standards of care for their specialties that are not part of the Hippocratic Oath. They have the force of law, and are used frequently in malpractice lawsuits. Same for nursing.

    Sorry, jake. Yoder has no business in my profession until she can prove she’s grown up.

  • 92 jake // Apr 15, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I’ve posted the documents twice. Go find them on this site and read them. Both the UofL docs and others.

    Yoder hasn’t violated anything. There is nothing specifically outlined that she has violated. And UofL’s dismissal mentions nothing specific, which, if I remember correctly, is required by law.

    I didn’t say Yoder had any business in any profession. So don’t put words into my mouth. I said she was crazy.

    But crazy doesn’t exclude you from rights afforded you by law.

  • 93 keatssycamore // Apr 15, 2009 at 10:32 am

    “Actually, the student handbook where I teach specifically forbids cellphones, smartphones, and PDAs, as well as cameras and tape recorders in the clinic setting . . . specifically to protect against HIPPA {sic} violations.”

    It’s HIPAA, not HIPPA, and I didn’t ask you about “student handbooks”, I asked you if you carried a cell phone in the “clinic setting”, didn’t I? But since you won’t answer that question straight up, I think I know the answer to it.

    I’ll just bet you start every clinic by going through the students bags and pockets for cell phones and sending the students back out to their cars. Because it’s in the ‘student handbook’.

    What’s that take, 15 minutes? Or more? Those students are really getting their money’s worth out of your ‘clinic’.

    And you’d better be doing just that too, b/c if you aren’t rounding up all cellphones, smartphones, and PDAs, you are (according to you and your ‘logic’) committing a HIPAA (remember, it’s 2 As, not 2 Ps) violation and you will get suspended from the practice of nursing and may have a significant monetary damages claim asserted against you.

    Sheesh, any chance of getting anything honest out of you? Because you sound ridiculous.

    And sure, you don’t “police anyone’s thoughts” unless and until a student puts their “thoughts out on Facebook,” and then their ‘thoughts’ are indeed to be judged? That about sums up your argument, no? Is this the nursing “common sense” that you are teaching your students?

  • 94 Panacea // Apr 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    keatssyamore: Your question was, “Are you guys allowed to carry CELL PHONES in the “clinic setting”? ”

    The word guys is plural, meaning more than one person. So I did answer it. If you meant me, you should have been more specific. But let me give you the straight up answer.

    Do I personally? Yes . . . because I have legitimate uses for it that assist me in the performance of my job, specifically: since I use an iPhone, I have access to electronic resources such as drug databases, medical dictionaries, medical math calculators and the like. Many nurses and physicians use them routinely as they are invaluable tools. I used a Palm Pilot when I was working as a full time nurse.

    If I used my equipment to violate HIPAA by taking a picture of a patient, or taking notes on a patient, then I would be answerable to the college (for violating HIPAA), the hospital (for same), and the Board of Nursing. I could be disciplined and lose my license, or have it restricted in some way.

    Because I have a license, the Board presumes I know and follow the rules and punishes me accordingly if I don’t. I have never been before the Board for disciplinary action, because I am a professional.

    My school’s policy forbids students to carry cellphones and the like, not instructors–because we have legit teaching uses like those I described. I do NOT search my students bags: that would violate their privacy rights. If I see the equipment, I make them take it to their car. I trust them to be honest with me when I give an instruction, and to follow it.

    IF I later found out they did not, then I would have to take corrective action.

    BTW: simply bringing such a device to the hospital is not a HIPAA violation. It is the use of the device that can lead to a HIPAA violation. Since my students practice on MY license, I take the prudent path and enforce college policy to prevent a student making a mistake that could constitute a HIPAA violation.

    If she had a camera, in violation of policy, and used it, and I knew she was doing it but didn’t stop her, then I WOULD be just as guilty and subject to disciplinary action from multiple directions.

    If she did something like Yoder did without my knowledge, well, I’d probably get raked over the coals by my department chair, but my legal exposure would be lessened–though probably not completely.

    I understand why my students sometimes forget to leave their cellphones in their cars–they are such a ubiquitous part of modern life these days. So telling them to take it out of the hospital is all I do because that’s all I need to do.

    Now I don’t know if the University in question has such a policy, though I would be interested to find out.

    And yes, I absolutely do judge a student’s comments on the Internet–because if you put it on the Internet, it is PUBLIC! Not private. It’s the same as writing a letter to the editor, sky writing, yelling from a rooftop, publishing a pamphlet, or standing on a soapbox in a park. But I judge their comments only if it concerns their behavior at school or in clinic.

    For example, Yoder’s various ramblings on other issues not related to her nursing education would not be a cause for disciplinary action at my school, if she were a student here. The faculty would think her immature, but we wouldn’t necessarily say anything to her about it.

    Or actually, I might, but not to give her a hard time but to say, “You know, a potential employer might see that and think you’re not up to being a nurse. You should protect yourself and take this stuff down before sending out applications.”

    Employers DO look up the internet blogs, forums, social networking sites, even Twitter of potential employees. How people behave off the job is a good indication of how they’ll behave on the job when the boss a’int looking.

    Hon, you’re the one who is ridiculous–because you are using emotion to make your arguments rather than logical thought. It is clear you don’t want this girl to be in the wrong. You haven’t refuted my explanation of how and why Yoder violated policies, you simply attack me.

    Jake: I’ve clearly debunked the idea that Yoder didn’t violate her code of conduct–and I used the documents in question as reference. She clearly violated the standards of conduct, and protestations to the contrary are mere wishful thinking.

    Also, I did not put words in your mouth. I didn’t say you said Yoder had no business in nursing. I made that statement, and I stand by it.

  • 95 Ray Re // Apr 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Panacea, Yoder was summarily expelled from the nursing school without prior hearings or warnings. Are you OK with that? You are right about employers checking Facebook and Myspace etc. and having every right to do so, but isn’t the point here that Uof L has pre-empted that potential real life lesson for Yoder by ending her schooling?

  • 96 Panacea // Apr 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Ray: If it were only a matter of the blog and the inappropriate comments only, then I would probably have handled it differently. At worst, I would put her on a behavioral contract, spelling out specific actions she must do and must not do for the remainder of her time in the program.

    Any violation of the contract would be grounds for automatic and immediate dismissal. I’ve put students on contract more than once. I have yet to request to terminate a student for violating the contract: the students get the message and clean up their acts.

    If the blog had not contained any comments related to clinic or patients, and just the other outrageous stuff that is simply in poor taste, then I would simply have counseled the student, “Look, employers check out MySpace pages. You should protect yourself, delete some of this stuff, and tone it down until after you graduate and get a job.”

    However, if a student of mine brought a camera into clinic and took photographs without my knowledge or permission AND the knowledge and permission of the facility in question AND the knowledge and permission of the patient (note I would require all three) then I WOULD push for her immediate expulsion (as a faculty member, I don’t have the authority to expel a student).

    HIPAA rules are a huge part of our program, and are discussed at length from DAY ONE. That kind of violation would be intolerable in the program I teach.

    Folks, people have lost jobs over what Yoder did. There have been several scandals in which healthcare workers took photographs of patients against hospital rules, without consent of the patient, and posted them on the web. When caught, these workers are invariably fired.

    Getting expelled from a nursing program is no different.

    The Dean at U of L was well within her rights to terminate Yoder summarily. She gave Yoder a real life lesson, as you suggested Ray. The lesson is this: violating HIPAA gets you canned.

    And to answer your question: in spite of the fact I might have taken a different approach, I am OK with how the Dean handled it.

    No one has a right to go to nursing school. It is a privilege.

    Nothing stops Yoder from applying to another program. The reasons for her expulsion could hurt her, assuming they came to light (they might not). Or she could show contriteness, and try to win over the new school and get a second chance. The odds are actually good she’d be successful.

  • 97 Ivan // Apr 15, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Let’s try again Jake et. al.,

    In post #31 someone has apparently posted the honor code. I will assume that it is legit. Are you honestly telling me that you can’t see where there are violations? Is it that you can’t or you won’t? Because I am wondering after looking at the open racism on her page (making fun of Dr King, President Obama, having a white animated character kick the crap of a black animated figure, etc) and other items she posted, what it would take for you to consider that code violated. Seriously, tell us what it would take for you to think she went to far in light of the code she agreed to adhere to. This was not done on a private site as some have said here. It was on a non private myspace page. BTW, I think the animation has been taken down.

    How again were her rights violated? She will get her day in court. If they find in her favor, she will go back and finish. She posted vile posts on her site for all to see. Good for her. It is her right. I hope she feels better at the expense of others. Hopefully she is raising her child to hate too. How cool is that! In any case, she posted her thoughts, and now it’s time to pay. You do understand that freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from responsibility for ones actions, right? She is a grown woman. This give her a break because she was a student and didn’t know doesn’t get it.

  • 98 Ivan // Apr 15, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Why don’t I just use Nina’s own words. If Jake et al. truly have read her blog and still think she didn’t violate any code then I am truly at a loss. From Nina herself:

    “So check this out. There’s this chick, who’d never had to work a day of her life, who got her degree in something freaking useless like Psychology or Sociology or Education, married for 6 years, delving into and out of depression (go figure – in Russia we call it “fat madness” – first you get lazy and fat and then you get crazy and mad), when her hubby had had enough and left her for another chick, who is probably hard-working and happy.
    That was a tough reality hit for her. What? I can’t depend on other people anymore? I’ll have to make my own living? There will be no one to listen to “boo hoo poor me?”
    So what she does, is she flies home to her mommy. On the airplane she decides to take some pills. And not cyanide, either, like she should have, but Tylenol!!! Then, as she gets off the plane, unaware that Tylenol can actually kill you (slowly and painfully, cause it rots your liver), she tells her meeting party that she took some pills.
    WTF? At least do it like you mean it.

    Blah blah, she spends some time in the ICU on the ventilator, while the docs pump her full of charcoal as she gags and screams, and now she’s back on the regular unit, sucking up some valuable Nurse’s Aide time around the clock, so they can sit there and listen to some more of her “boo hoo poor me” instead of taking care of patients who are actually sick.
    Don’t take me wrong. I fully understand her. I’ve personally spent some time banging my head against the wall and crying over some pup who doesn’t deserve to even rub my feet. Except I was 13. She’s 31. She just doesn’t know any better, and she hasn’t been through the extensive education and dealing with people long enough to know their nature.

    She was a sweet girl, and my job and my life’s purpose is to turn useless pieces of human flesh like her into productive human beings.
    So I put on my compassionate face (If I were more two-faced I’d be Siamese). ”

    Wow, and you guys think that is okay? “Useless pieces of human flesh”, “If I were more two faced….” Are you kidding me? You can’t see that this is not professional? This is not about free speech. She is stating what she wants when she wants. Now she is the one who is crying “boo hoo poor me.”

    The school did the right thing.

  • 99 Yep // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Ivan, you are exactly right. Funny how she gripes about suicide attempt patients wanting attention. Seems like she’s the one wanting attention, with all the courting of the local news she’s been doing.

    This girl KNEW WHAT SHE WAS DOING. HIPAA overrides the freedom of speech argument. She displays nothing but contempt for the patients she supposed to be taking care of, and we’re all supposed to feel sorry for her. Not.

  • 100 jake // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Jesus fucking christ, people. Jesus.

    Nina wasn’t dismissed because she violated the honor code. And she was never, ever granted the opportunity to address her dismissal.

    And this had NOTHING to do with HIPAA, as we’ve covered time and again.

    Do I need to shut down comments on this story or are you couple of folks in the Carolinas going to continue spewing bullshit 24/7?

  • 101 Yep // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:00 am

    She gave DETAILS about patients in her care. She took a CAMERA with her and recorded a birth. HIPAA 101.

    She says she wasn’t granted the opportunity to address her dismissal, but we don’t know that to be true. There is no date on the appeal form she supposedly sent to the school.

    Why is that bullshit? Why do you WANT to believe she was dismissed because of her views? This is KY, not San Francisco, for Pete’s sake.

    So you’re going to shut down the comments, because someone doesn’t agree with you? What ever happened to free speech???

    And who is in the Carolinas?

  • 102 jake // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:11 am

    She gave details that didn’t identify any one individual. That’s not a HIPAA violation.

    Again, HIPAA was NOT mentioned in her dismissal.

    She wasn’t granted the opportunity to address her dismissal – UofL has admitted as much. And Yoder’s attorney has proved as much.

    Have you read ANYTHING about UofL over the past year? Anything at all? People get dismissed for far less. You should bother reading the 200 or so stories I’ve written about Robert Felner. Educate yourself about what goes on at UofL.

    Have you read any of the news stories about Yoder? Her classmates had concerns about her views/didn’t like her views and complained about her on a number of occasions. And they made up some story about being afraid that she had a gun on her– based on a conversation she had about the 2nd Amendment.

    I’m not going to shut comments down because someone disagrees with me – but because people continue to spew spin.

    This isn’t a public forum, it’s a website that my company wholly owns.

    Two commenters are in the Carolinas. And they’re two commenters who often defend Robert Felner and spew random crap in defense of crooked business re: UofL.

  • 103 marie // Apr 16, 2009 at 7:31 am

    This may rattle a cage or two but if Nina wasn’t in pursuit of a job when she got people’s attention and no identities were actually revealed, what difference does it make? Panacea: I wouldn’t equate putting down
    thoughts on Facebook with speaking them in a class or clinical setting any more than I would expect to be busted for an offhand, un-PC remark at a party. Without the big brouhaha, nobody would even have thought to look at her MySpace page.

    And how productive, really, is the very hard line? Nina Yoder invested time, work, money. Don’t forget, this is someone’s life and future; the student’s and her dependent’s. She is a veteran, a former US Army medic and, immature as she may be in other ways, she brings that to the table. If you look at how the University of Louisville handled it, you might see how this course of action does everyone a disservice, not only to the student. Giving serious thought as to the frank, “straightforwardness” of many nurses, attested to by some postings here, I wonder how anyone can justify dispensing with someone based on assumptions: that the person carries a firearm, that blog readers will connect the details that in turn violate a patient’s privacy, assumptions made about the depth of someone’s character taken entirely from their “writings”.

    To throw away someone’s education and career because they used a “ubiquitous” cell phone camera to document the “weirdness” of birth…with no previous missteps…and no subsequent counseling is a huge waste. I’d caution against prejudging; you run the risk of missing exactly what you’re looking for. Try basing it on evidence…

    Anyone read the novels of Louis-Ferdinand Celine lately? He’s isn’t so PC, but the writing is funny. Sometimes writing really is just that:
    black humor, subversive, exaggeration. Who really thinks Nina’s come this far as a nursing student and Army medic so she can “act on” those writings?


    (to defenders of Uof L in matters of concealing the truth…you wear everyone out & give yourself away!)

  • 104 Yep // Apr 16, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Well, I actually agree with Jake on Felner 100%.

    But on this issue, I respectfully disagree.

    And if the HIPAA violations aren’t an issue (which I still think they are, as someone who has been well-educated on the subject over the last 10 years), then let’s look at an excerpt from the Code of Conduct, found on U of L’s website.

    It states:

    8. Prohibited Conduct

    “The following non-academic misconduct is subject to disciplinary action:

    t. Engaging in intentional conduct directed at a specific person(s) which seriously alarms or intimidates such person(s) and which serves no legitimate purpose. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to: explicit or implicit threats, including gestures which place a person in reasonable fear of unwelcome physical contact, harm or death; following a person about in a public place or to or from his or her residence; making remarks in a public place to a specific person(s) which are by common usage lewd, obscene, expose a person(s) to public hatred or that can reasonably be expected to have a tendency to cause acts of violence by the person(s) to whom the remark is addressed; communicating through electronic mail or other electronic means, or anonymously by voice or graphic means or making a telephone call whether or not a conversation ensues.”

    “9.4. Disciplinary Measures
    The University is equally committed to creating an environment that is free from intolerance. Therefore, when any violation of this Code is determined to be motivated by intolerance based on race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin, the sanction(s) imposed will be increased in severity and may include separation from the institution.”

  • 105 Ivan // Apr 16, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Well JFC Jake, what was she let go for then? I don’t care if its HIPAA, professionalism, or code of conduct. She violated all three. Others were alarmed by her racist point of views. Again I ask: would you be this passionate if this were a cop we were talking about?

    Please shut down the thread. Like you say, your company owns this, and if this is not the type of discourse you desire, them please end it. You have that right. That is exactly what freedom of speech is about. You’re not saying we can’t say these things, you’re just saying we can’t say them here. You know…here on a site that is about politics.

    As far as HIPAA/details go. It doesn’t have to be blatantly obvious. She gives close dates/time frames, patients age, where they were seen in the hospital, under what circumstances, gender, and details of recent travel. Privacy is violated when there is enough information to put together who the patient was. It does not have to be just the name. It wouldn’t take much of a detective or journalist to figure that out. People who know these patients might recognize some of the details and put it together. That is how it works. What are the odds someone is going to read her myspace page? Probably slim to none, but she still published that information. JFC, I have been dealing with patient privacy for almost 17 years, I know what I am talking about. I am not spinning anything. What would my motivation be? I am a nurse in grad school (not in KY) worried about this person working around patients and giving nursing as a profession a black eye.

    But say its not HIPAA. She was not acting professional. She is not some teenage school kid, freshly arrived at college. She is already in the medical business. She has already received training on both HIPAA, code of conduct and professionalism out the ying yang. Now all of sudden she has forgotten all that? Give me a break.

    Again, she is getting her day in court. She might win and get back in. I don’t know about the history of the school as a whole, but I do have some insight into the school of nursing, and its reputation is solid. She even offered to go to counseling. Why would she do that if she didn’t need it? Unless this is more of her “two faced Siamese twin” bit.

    If she is sincere, however, let her get her counseling, and then maybe she can continue. Frankly, the ONLY person I am worried about in all of this is her kid. I hope she can pull it together for his sake.

  • 106 jake // Apr 16, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Ivan: That’s kind of the point. No one knows why she was expelled. Not even UofL knows or they wouldn’t be obfuscating so furiously.

    Again, read before commenting. Regular readers of this site know I’m more likely to support a cop than someone blaming a cop.

    You people need to educate yourself on HIPAA violations. Nina Yoder didn’t provide enough information for any Joe Blow on the street to figure out who a patient is. A HIPAA violation requires that personally identifying health information be provided. Typically, according to nearly every bit of HIPAA case law I’ve ever examined and ever bit of HIPAA training I’ve ever had over the past decade, it takes three pieces of personally identifying information. Not just a name. Not just a date of birth.

    And Yep: I just read UofL’s code of conduct for the zillionth time. I didn’t see any implicit threats from Yoder, didn’t see that she said anything lewd about a specific person, didn’t see anything that could cause an act of violence against someone.

  • 107 Flag // Apr 16, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Let me try to understand this in context – A student expresses herself, as is her first amendment right (never mind whether her words were in good taste or not) and she gets expelled by a public institution that did not follow due process (history repeats itself), again violating her constitutional rights. Did she violate the code of conduct? If so, that might merit some sanction but not expulsion in the first offense, IMHO. I am not judging her, and I am not saying she is one, but dumb asses exist in every profession. I assume that nurses are willing to conform to standards or they don’t work. If there is a problem with her, it will take care of itself.

    Now, on a more important matter, what do we do when administrators violate our fundamental rights and top it all off with lie after lie? Shouldn’t that result in their termination? Does that violate any honor code or code of conduct? How about a code of ethics? If so, we need a complete turnover of the U of L administrators from deans on up. Anymore, it makes me puke to hear a U of L dean or the provost or the president open their mouths, or worse send out a public statement, because I know I am not going to believe a single word they spew. Tell you what, if U of L will address the constitutional rights violations first and start respecting them for all faculty/staff/students, then I will be willing to listen to their arguments against Yoder. Until then, the administration has no credibility and just needs to back off her case.

  • 108 Ivan // Apr 16, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Yeah Jake, we do know why. From Nina herself on video: “due to the nature of my blogs”. What is it that you are not getting about the nature of her blogs? They demean women, the mentally ill, and minorities (you know, people who can sometimes be patients) Her blogs are vile, unprofessional, racist and for the zillionth time they do give away enough information. What HIPAA training did your receive? From the US Department of Human Health and Services:

    Protected Health Information. The Privacy Rule protects all “individually identifiable health information” held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral. The Privacy Rule calls this information “protected health information (PHI).”

    “Individually identifiable health information” is information, including demographic data, that relates to:

    * the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition,
    * the provision of health care to the individual, or
    * the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual,

    and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual.

    Does that make sense? I could use the information she gave and figure out who she was talking about. Or, more likely, a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor could recognize enough of the facts to identify the patient. It is NOT a stretch.

    I didn’t say you wouldn’t support a cop. I am saying if this information came to light about a police officer or cadet, they would hopefully be removed. I am ex cop. My department would have dropped her like the liability she is. If that information came to light during her training, she would not have been allowed to continue her training. Why? Because (and this was my point) there are certain professions where racist, unprofessional and vile rants like hers can not be tolerated. Unfortunately for her, she picked one of those professions, and she knows it.

    Look, I am not trying to pick a fight. I am veteran and former police officer. I would fight for her right to say anything she wants. I have a son. I want him to be able to say what he wants. That is not at issue. She said what she wanted. In doing so, it brought to light things about her which are NOT compatible with nursing. She is clearly in need of counseling. I think/hope she is salvageable. I am proud to live in a country where she can say things like that and not be dragged off to jail, but I don’t begrudge her instructors from doing the right thing and for the moment anyway, stop her from her current path.

  • 109 jake // Apr 16, 2009 at 10:19 am

    That’s what Nina says – not what UofL says. So, no, we do NOT know why.

    Why don’t you call her attorney, Dan, as I have done? Then try calling UofL, as I have done?

    No one can say, for certain, why she was expelled. No one involved.

    Her blog (singular, she only has one– which contains multiple posts) is, indeed, vile and ridiculous. And, no, her blog doesn’t give away “enough information” for Joe Blow on the street to determine who she’s talking about.

    I’ve received training from Humana, the VA, M.D. Anderson, American Cancer Society, CMS. Beginning in 1999. The most recent at M.D. Anderson in 2008.

  • 110 Ivan // Apr 16, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I don’t need to call. I have heard Nina, and I have read the letter you posted here. She was dismissed because of her (as you stated) “vile” internet postings. For me that is enough.

    Now here is where I may agree with you. What is not clear to me how much due process she was afforded. If I am following this right, she had a hearing, but it was called off by the university. This is a public institution correct? If it were private then due process is a non issue. I think that was stupid on their part. She deserves her hearing. You guys are more familiar with the university than I so I don’t know how they operate.
    What I will say is this: as a nurse I can state her conduct is unbecoming and as it stands right now I think she is on weak ground. I think she might win on the due process thing, but be careful what you wish for, she might just get her due process, and end up right where she started: defending her racist, unprofessional comments that demeans herself, current nursing students, and working/professional nurses.

    As far as HIPAA, we shall have to agree to disagree. I feel there is enough info there to identify. You don’t see it that way. About as far as I am willing to meet you is that, again, I feel it is highly unlikely that anyone who cares/is related to the patients she discusses are highly unlikely to be reading her posts. For what its worth.

  • 111 jake // Apr 16, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Mostly, I don’t look at it as a HIPAA violation because she didn’t provide enough information for me (with, if I may toot my horn, pretty good research skills) to identify the patient(s).

    Note that I’ve never said what she wrote/said/did was acceptable. I’m not even her attorney has said as much. I just think it’s important to stick to the law and the rules at places like UofL as they’re written. And it appears to me that Yoder got dicked over by UofL merely because she’s got a screw loose.

  • 112 Yep // Apr 16, 2009 at 11:18 am

    But- (even if she didn’t provide enough ID’ing info in the blog-which she did)the patients will now be able to identify themselves, after seeing her multitude of pictures and TV interviews. They can recognize her, go read her blog, and put 2&2 together. She has made it even easier for them to identify themselves.
    She is screwed either way, and has done it herself. Only now, she alone can be held culpable for what she has posted, as she is no longer a UofL student.
    If she does get reinstated, she will then have to deal with the Board of Nursing, when she tries to obtain licensure. If she gets past them (which she might not), then she will have to find a job in which she has pretty much screwed herself, as far as marketability and liability go.

    As far as ethics, the School of Nursing’s ethical duty toward the patients far outweigh any duty toward Yoder. She should have understood this.

  • 113 Panacea // Apr 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Ivan: from what I understand in the news, the hearing that was canceled was before a federal judge, not the school administrators. The article says nothing about why the hearing was canceled, or whether it will be rescheduled.

    There is enough information to identify, though it is not directly on her blog. She took PHOTOGRAPHS. People can and are identifiable from their photographs. The issue for U of L was not that a patient had been publicly identified, but that she took identifiable information (photographs) out of the hospital and then made denigrating statements about her patient on the Internet.

    Honor codes are about character. Nursing is about seeing and treating people for who they are, without being judgmental about their circumstances or the nature of their health problems.

    We can have our private opinions, but the nursing code of professionalism limits how we can express them.

    We teach this from day one in every nursing program nationwide.

    Nursing is a calling. It is not a “job,” in the sense that working at the GM factory is a job. Nurses are supposed to commit themselves to the improvement of their communities–this is the way we’ve been doing it since Florence Nightingale modernized nursing in the 1850′s.

    You have to understand, people’s lives and well being are at stake here. If a nurse is not committed to what she is doing, she puts patient safety at risk.

    As an instructor, I have a duty to protect the public from unsafe nurses. I fulfill that duty by holding students to high standards. That doesn’t mean there aren’t incompetent nurses out there.

    As an instructor, my role is to prepare my students to become entry level (beginner) nurses. I want my students to succeed, and work hard to help them be successful. I have no doubt the School of Nursing at U of L does the same thing.

    However, if a student is unable to perform to academic standard, or if her behavior demonstrates an unfitness to be a nurse (by violating college/hospital rules), then I have a duty to the public to not allow that student to progress.

    marie says, “And how productive, really, is the very hard line? Nina Yoder invested time, work, money. Don’t forget, this is someone’s life and future; the student’s and her dependent’s.”

    It’s not my concern how much time, effort, or money the student has put into her schooling if she is unfit to be a nurse. My concern is the safety of the public at large.

    Now I don’t know anything about the U of L other than I’ve found no public statements from them on this issue, and I didn’t expect to find any. They can’t comment on this issue, therefore we don’t know their side of things, only what Yoder has claimed, and the documentation she provided.

    Some here seem to view the U of L’s actions in the worst possible light until proven otherwise. Since I don’t live in KY, I can’t comment on that. I just know I don’t know their side of the story and won’t unless this moves into the courts. So people here are getting very defensive of Yoder but can’t claim to know the whole story.

    I am basing my judgments on what I have seen of her direct actions (the blog), and the letter from her University. Because that’s all I have to go on. And it doesn’t look good for her.

    The whole gun thing–I don’t know what’s going on there. The dismissal letter didn’t mention it, so I can only conclude the University decided it didn’t have enough evidence to prove whatever allegation was made. I doubt the University made the allegation up–it didn’t need to. There was plenty to dismiss her on as it was.

    jake: you’ve made it crystal clear that you are not interested in viewing any opinion other than your own. I posted here because the conversation seemed very one sided, and I hoped to help people understand how seriously nursing takes its responsibilities.

    I don’t know if I’ve managed to get anyone to see the broader picture from a nurse’s perspective, but I hope some of the seed has not fallen on barren ground.

    However, I’ve taken this as far as I can–either people will understand what I’m saying or they won’t. So I doubt I’ll post here again.

    But I would like to make one final statement, one that has nothing to do with Yoder.

    jake, I was saddened to see your threat to close comments on this threat.

    jake stated, “Do I need to shut down comments on this story or are you couple of folks in the Carolinas going to continue spewing bullshit 24/7?”

    I don’t know for sure if jake was referring to me or not: I am in North Carolina (he may have gotten that from my email domain). I have no idea who this Felner fellow is, and I have never posted on this site before this thread. So maybe he was referring to other people.

    But jake, it disappoints me that you would close down a thread simply because people don’t agree with your point of view. A journalist should be open minded and free of bias. Of course no one can be completely bias free, but a journalist should strive for it.

    Do you really think that a site such as this should simply be a chorus to your Hallelujah?

    I hope not.

  • 114 jake // Apr 16, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Like I’ve said, for the nth time, I’ll shut comments down– NOT because you disagree with me– but because there’s ridiculous spin on the same issue, over and over, after it’s already been debunked.

    I’m not a journalist. (I can prove you’ve visited this site tons of times before this story, fyi) I don’t strive for anything journalistic and never have in the two years I’ve been running this site.

    There are two individuals commenting here, on this story, from the Carolinas. And both of you have said positive things about Robert Felner on multiple occasions.

  • 115 Panacea // Apr 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I didn’t say visit. I said posted. I think I maybe read an article or two here before this because the page header looked familiar when I first tracked this thread, but I am not completely sure. I read interesting articles on web sites all over the country.

    I’d love to see a list of posts under what ever handle you think I’m using. So please, jake. Prove it to me.

    My internet handles are Panacea and Theala (which you can get from my email address). That’s it. I used your search engine to look for anything posts I might have made and forgotten about (I post on lots of sites on lots of stories that interest me). It turns up my posts as Panacea. Nothing under Theala.

    But you are right about one thing. I am from North Carolina. If you go to you’ll find lots of posts from me there as Panacea. Theala, mostly gaming sites tho I do post as Theala on Nurse Link. Google Theala Sildorian. You’ll find a link to an old web page I no longer maintain (my Champions! website). Hopefully that will assure you of who I am, and that I am not one of these other two people you refer to (but haven’t named).

    I have no idea who Robert Felner is. Guess I’d better Google him.

    You speak of “reporting stories.” That’s what journalists do. So I believed you adhere to some sort of journalistic standard. I stand corrected. You’re not a journalist.

    You claim to have debunked me, I claim to have debunked you. You’ve never addressed the issue of bringing a camera into a hospital and taking pictures as a HIPAA violation. You clearly don’t understand how nurses view their profession and that we take professional issues very seriously.

    It’s sad in this day and age to think that people can trash the profession they are going into, yet not have to take accountability for it. Florence Nightingale is spinning like a top in her grave.

  • 116 jake // Apr 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Why didn’t I address taking a camera into an exam room? Because someone else already addressed it. It’s obviously a stupid thing to do. That, like the rest of this HIPAA discussion, has nothing to do with her dismissal from UofL. Nothing. Zero. That’s it.

    Really, you haven’t debunked me on anything. HIPAA wasn’t cited as a reason for her dismissal. Nothing specific was. And UofL refuses to say why she was dismissed and refuses to show up in court– just pushing things back further and further.

    And from September 2008 to current, there are 90+ comments from / IP range of 198.86.109*. And more than 40 comments from various IP ranges at Guilford Technical Community College and the North Carolina Research and Education Network.

  • 117 jake // Apr 16, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Comments on this story are CLOSED.

    Felner cronies apparently can’t stop with the spin.

    And this is a bullshit-free zone.

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