Lessons from Amanda Trujillo

I don't follow Amanda Trujillo or much of anyone who even keeps up with her anymore, but I did see a reference and short discussion on Twitter this morning. Against my better judgment, I meandered over to the irritatingly spelled nurseinterupted.wordpress.com. She's butting heads with the AZ BON, or, perhaps, a better description would be antagonizing them. She writes about it here.

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I just can't feel sorry for her because she keeps doing the same thing repeatedly that bit her the first time.

  • After ridiculing the Board, which is a terrible idea to begin with and an even worse one if you're being sanctioned, she blames Joey Ridenour (Executive Director of the AZ BON) for following her on Facebook instead of blaming herself for posting things that were a really bad idea.
  • Anyone who doesn't know to use Facebook privacy settings is simply mentally compromised. Of course people are going to look at public posts on Facebook. If your case is built around you blowing up the Internet and acting a fool, even more so. Amanda wants to leverage the Internet to her own advantage but prevent others from using her own tool against her.
  • "It's my first amendment right to express myself as I wish": lawyers may correct me a bit here, but freedom of speech does NOT mean you can say whatever you want without consequence. On a personal note, she doesn't give me the same right she wants for herself. Every time I criticize her, I become a "bully." One of her followers became so incensed at me that she stalked me, to the point she called my boss and HR at my workplace. That is bullying. Consistency does not exist with her. I am not at all surprised at "My postings about the State Board are bullying and harassing and threatening in nature." They are. She's free to say whatever she wants about the Board, but she has to accept consequences.
  • "My Facebook page has demonstrated lack of accountability [and]....reveals I [have not] learned anything from my own actions." Well, yeah. The blog post this comes from just proves the point.

I have to wonder whether, if she had not blown up the Internet, any of this would even have been an issue. What if she had handled it internally? What if, after the initial barrage of posts, she had admitted she'd erred and taken responsibility for her actions? All she has done from day 1 is dig her hole a little deeper.

All of this looks to me as if the deal is sealed; she may be the first nurse to lose her license over social media. Yes, there are other issues, lots of them, but her behavior on social media has to be at least the penultimate cause.

What can other nurses learn from this? I am outspoken and have made social media mistakes. I've had to fall on my sword. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, but I would rather learn from others' mistakes than make new ones, so I encourage any nurse who is on any social media to think about these issues. The ice is getting very thin for those of us who maintain a social media presence. I believe strongly that nurses need to be on social media: we need the connection, the collaboration, and the common experiences. These things are valuable. Unfortunately, Amanda has provided a textbook of what not to do.

I bet that the lack of accountability is going to end up being her biggest issue. Nurses need this at work and everywhere else. Mistakes are rarely the major issue. It is an inability to honestly own up to them and self-remediate. Amanda did not even follow the instructions of the Board when it was blindingly clear that she'd better or else. That is the opposite of showing a willingness to change. Her position is that she did nothing wrong so she's not going to say so just to keep her license. Free will goes along with freedom of speech, but again, there will be consequences.

And now I will sit back and wait for people to tell me that I'm a stupid, mean bully, because that is what happens when I bother to say what other people are thinking.