This weekend, four labor and delivery nurses at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital were disciplined for a viral TikTok video. In it, a bunch of nurses describe what gives them “the ick,” which is childish Gen Z speak for something you don’t like. Usually, this trend features people complaining about the little red flags they notice in the dating scene, but the people in this video did one tailored to what gets on their nerves while working in a hospital. Their clout chasing content creation backfired, though, when several people expressed their displeasure with the video. As a result, some of the women featured in the clip are now without a job.
As is par for the course with trending topics like this, some people are defending the women’s right to express how much they hate things their patients do, while others find it abhorrent that Black women have lost their jobs because they made a video. However, being a nurse isn’t just a job; it’s a commitment to ensuring the health and safety of patients. This is why nurses take the Nightingale Pledge—the nurse’s version of the Hippocratic Oath. Does making public videos ridiculing patients for their personal lives, pain, or needs sound like doing all in your “power to raise the standards and prestige of the practical nursing”? Not exactly.
Ultimately though, the nurses likely lost their jobs not because they candidly mocked patients, but because they’ve opened Emory up to a handful of malpractice lawsuits. Some of the stories that some Black women shared about nurses at Emory and specifically in the video were absolutely horrific. One woman said while at the hospital she was coerced into a c-section, had her health “completely disregarded,” and in the end, her newborn passed away under their care. Another shared a similar story about a woman in the video, saying she would never forget two of the nurse’s faces.
This incident is a stunning reminder of how prevalent medical racism is. Black patients are often mistreated, misdiagnosed, and ignored. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Black and brown people receive worse care on 40 percent of the department’s care quality measures and routinely have their pain ignored. Black women are three times more likely than white women to die during childbirth. In most cases, it’s pretty awful to lose your job, but medical professionals need to be held to the highest standards. If they can’t do that, well, it’s time to punch in those CVV numbers for LinkedIn Premium. UPS is hiring.