The nursing world is reeling from revelations about the incident that occurred in Salt Lake City earlier in 2017. Nurse Alex Wubbels was wrongfully assaulted, manhandled, handcuffed, and detained by Salt Lake City police when she dutifully stood her ground and protected the privacy rights of an unconscious patient. A video of the incident went viral when it was released by Wubbels’ attorney, and we are so shocked and dismayed about how this went down.
In our estimation, Alex Wubbels did everything right. Her institutionally astute nurse served her well, as did keeping her cool and relying on her knowledge of policy, regulation, and law as it pertains to patient rights and her responsibilities as a nurse.
What would you have done in Nurse Wubbels’ position? Would you have stayed as calm? Would you have become more angry? Both Keith and Sean feel they wouldn’t have been able to keep their cool.
Blog posts, videos, tweets, and an entire online chorus has erupted about this issue. Nurse Keith published a blog post about the event, as well as a podcast episode. Here are some snippets from his blog post:
We nurses and our healthcare colleagues face what appears to be unprecedented levels of violence and physical threat in the course of our day-to-day work.
Earlier this year, an Illinois nurse was raped and held hostage by an inmate being treated in the hospital where she was employed. While this may have been an extreme incident, it underscores the level of risk posed by working within the American healthcare system. And in June, a disgruntled doctor armed with an assault rifle opened fire in his former place of work in the Bronx, killing one physician and wounding others.
No one appears to know what the answer is to the levels of violence and physical injury faced by nurses and other healthcare professionals every day. In fact, it appears that nurses face more injuries than miners and construction workers.
Be that as it may, the harassment, intimidation, and bullying of nurses and healthcare personnel by police is unconscionable and egregious, especially in light of the fact that these individuals are all similarly charged with serving the public.
Healthcare workers, first responders, and police should seamlessly work together in the support of the community and society rather than behave in the manner demonstrated by the Salt Lake City Police Department. To add insult to injury, the Salt Lake Police Chief seems to have been unwilling to make a statement about the July 26th incident until it was recently reported on social media.
We are in a historic time in history when increasing attention is being rightfully paid to issues of police brutality and the unwarranted and unconscionable killing of unarmed African Americans in this country. Add to this the emboldened white nationalist movement and apparently growing divisions in the United States over issues of race, immigration, and who does or does not belong, and it is a volatile mix, indeed. Imagine how this situation may have been different if Wubbels was a nurse of color. Would the officers have treated her more roughly? Would the outrage over her treatment be as vehement? These are questions worth considering.
Our own Sean Dent did a Facebook Live video about this incident. Here’s the YouTube version of what he had to say:
Nurse Keith’s Career Corner: During our career corner segment, we discuss the importance of interview preparation and our top recommendations for getting ready for your big day.
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