PA: Nurse Could Lose License for Snooping

Dave Bohman reports on a case where snooping for personal reasons not only led to termination of the job, but may also cost a nurse her license to practice:

In the wake of a WNEP investigative story this summer, Pennsylvania’s Department of State is taking steps to revoke the nursing license of Naomi Ryan, who admitted to looking at Mark Beegle’s personal, private information.

Beegle never got along with his next door neighbor Naomi Ryan, but still was shocked at a June e-mail from a friend claiming Ryan joked about building a bee colony at the edge of the property.

Beegle has a severe bee sting allergy.

“That’s not funny to you is it?” Beegle asked. “That’s my life we’re talking about.”

Beegle believed the only way Ryan knew of his condition was through his personal medical file at Guthrie Health’s Wyalusing Clinic where she worked as a nurse.

After a federal investigation, Guthrie fired Ryan. Paperwork shows her admitting to snooping on Beegle.

Read more on WNEP.

If this case hadn’t drawn media attention, would she be facing loss of license? Is there anything that requires entities to report violations to the state licensing boards?

And note that here we have another privacy violation where no criminal charges are being filed. While some many consider the civil consequences sufficiently severe, what message do we send about privacy violations if we do not prosecute them?

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