Case of Doyle Byrnes

This week in my blog I will be talking about professionalism in nursing which surrounds the aspects of social media. There was a case scenario in 2010 when a nursing student named Doyle Byrnes was removed from her nursing program due to uploading a picture of herself and a human placenta on Facebook. Doyle Byrnes uploaded this picture because she wanted to show her friends and family the experiences she was having while in her nursing program. Before uploading the photo she was given permission from her clinical instructor to upload to social media with the exception that no identifiers of the patient would be included. Shortly after posting the picture she was asked to remove the picture and ultimately was expelled from the program. Doyle Byrnes took the case to court and won her case as no confidentiality measures were broken and was granted permission to continue the program.

Questions to consider

  • Should Doyle Byrnes question her professionalism before uploading this picture to Facebook?
  • Did Doyle Byrnes or the clinical instructor break any of the CNO professional standards?
  • Even though Doyle Byrnes was granted back into the program; How will this affect her credibility for future job prospects? Should Doyle Byrnes question her professionalism before uploading this picture to Facebook?

Thompson et al., (2008), defines professionalism “as a core competency, outlining diverse domains such as compassion, responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest, respect for patient privacy, and sensitivity to diverse patient populations” (para. 1). I believe that posting the placenta broke the respect for patient privacy and sensitivity. Doyle Byrnes broke the CNO (2018), professional standard accountability. By posting this picture on social media Doyle represented disrespect to the profession and had a negative effect on patient sensitivity. Also, the clinical instructor broke the leadership component of the CNO (2018), professional standards. According to CNO (2018), leadership is demonstrated by the nurse educator by “providing professional and educational advice to committees and teams” (p. 10). The clinical instructor failed by granting permission to upload the picture on Facebook.

This incident will effect Doyle Byrnes representation online for future employees. Even though she won her case in court this incident follows her online for the rest of her life. Thompson et al., (2008), identified that “medical educators, colleagues, future employers, and even patients may have access to their content online” (para. 2). Upon my current google search of Doyle Byrnes this is what I found:


College of Nurse of Ontario. (2018). Professional Standards, Revised. Retrieved from

Thompson, L. A., Dawson, K., Ferdig, R., Black, E. W., Boyer, J., Coutts, J., & Black, N. P. (2008). The intersection of online social networking with medical professionalism. Journal of general internal medicine23(7), 954–957. doi:10.1007/s11606-008-0538-8

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