Another provider is in trouble for something they posted online. Kelly Morris, a nurse at The Citadel Winston-Salem nursing home in North Carolina, was suspended after posting videos to TikTok where she seems to joke about mistreating her patients. Morris says her suspension is an example of “cancel culture.”
However, the daughter of one of her former patients is speaking out about her experience. She sees the nurse’s videos as a slap in the face after losing her mother during the pandemic.
“Comedy Skits” Gone Wrong
Morris goes by the name “BubbleGumKelz” on TikTok, where she’s known for posting controversial videos that she sees as “comedy skits,” including the one where she seems to joke about mistreating her patients. Some of the videos went viral for all the wrong reasons, and now, she’s out of a job.
“The only thing hurt in my TikTok videos were people’s feelings. All my videos are comedy skits. I can understand how someone can be upset, but not to the degree they are taking it. No one was ever harmed, and I treat all my patients with great care, and they all love me,” she told a local news outlet.
Morris has even created a GoFundMe account to raise money for all the income she’s lost since being suspended. On the fundraiser, she writes, “Multiple other nurses have reached out to me and stated that this particular ‘cult’ did the same thing to them, and they lost their job over a TikTok.”
“My kids and life are being threatened and I will not stand down! I need to raise funds for my attorney fees to fight back against hate and bullying,” she added.
The nursing home’s parent company, Accordius Health, issued a statement of its own, writing, “The Citadel at Winston Salem was made aware of TikTok videos by an employee last week. Our team investigated content and acted immediately. Misuse and unprofessional use of social media platforms by employees violates our core values and is not tolerated. Any form of resident abuse is never tolerated. Be assured we have handled the situation and reported her actions to all appropriate state and federal agencies.”
“We love our residents; provide for and protect them every day. We are grateful for the global healthcare team that protects the elderly with pride in our profession,” the company added.
However, Morris says she believes she’s being targeted by people that don’t understand her sense of humor.
What About Her Patients and Their Loved Ones?
Morris may say that no one was hurt by her videos, but Whitley Patterson begs to disagree.
Her mother was taken to The Citadel at Winston Salem nursing home where Morris worked after suffering from a heart attack. Patterson says she was told that her mother was expected to make a full recovery, but she wasn’t allowed to visit due to the pandemic.
After months of waiting, Patterson was finally told that she could visit her mother back in March.
“I was expecting to see her that Monday at the tent, but I got a call that Sunday that said that she passed,” she said. Her mother was just 51 years old.
As if losing her mother isn’t hard enough, Patterson says she was outraged when she saw Morris’ videos online. “I was very disturbed. Very,” Patterson said. “She was my best friend and it’s just overwhelming, it is. No words can express just how that video makes me feel.”
After Morris was suspended, TikTok removed her account, but she quickly started a new one under a new username, while blaming trolls for her removal.
The North Carolina Board of Nursing couldn’t confirm whether it was investigating Morris but said it has the authority to investigate any provider who “engages in unprofessional conduct that is nonconforming to the standards of acceptable and prevailing nursing practice or the ethics of the nursing profession, even if a patient is not injured.”
Even though Morris maintains her videos were in jest, Patterson says that’s not good enough.
“Everybody knows that’s not a joke. If you want to play, that’s not the profession or the field you need to play in. If you want to play you need to play with some children. Don’t play with people’s lives,” Patterson said.
Remember to think about how your actions on social media will affect your patients and their loved ones before posting.