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The Case of the Nurse and the 'Stolen' Scrubs

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, December 18, 2012

As I wrote last week, the American public trusts nurses more than any other profession in the country.  According to the annual Gallup poll, 85% of Americans rated nurses' honesty and ethical standards as "very high" or "high," the highest rating for RNs since nurses were first included in the poll in 1999.

In last week's column, I asked why nurses are so trusted and came up with a number of explanations, from their compassion to their dedication to their medical expertise. But perhaps it's also because ethical infractions, even small ones, are not tolerated within the nursing community. The bar is unusually high for nurses because the stakes are so high in nursing.

Therefore, it's perfectly reasonable to wonder whether someone who steals something small one day might eventually steal something big, like medicine or money, another day. It's reasonable to question whether a person who lies about something small might eventually lie about something big, like a medical error.

"My clinical skills are exceptional. I have never once made an error," Stickney told the Concord Monitor.

But in the world of nursing, where trust is paramount, honesty matters just as much as clinical skills.

Stickney is appealing her suspension.


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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6 comments on "The Case of the Nurse and the 'Stolen' Scrubs"


Unknown (7/1/2013 at 8:47 PM)
I personally know this woman and have worked beside her for quite awhile. There is no integrity with her, and the story of the stolen scrubs shows perhaps one of the greatest examples of her vast extent of manipulation she imposes to get whatever she wants. These behaviors of hers not only have effect her work life, as she has been fired from at least two jobs for stealing there, but also within her personal life. Anyone who truly knows the character of Ms. Stickney should not be surprised and maybe somewhat grateful that she will change her narcissistic and impure motivated manipulations. Regardless of who she is, any 30 year old student should morally and intellectually know the wrongs she had done.

Patricia Gonzales (1/3/2013 at 12:04 PM)
I have worked in the academic setting for 18yrs. Every year at the end of senior residency, multiple items turn up "missing", even a hard drive from a hospital computer. Can we prosecute them as well, please.

Terri (12/29/2012 at 7:14 PM)
It simply boils down to a matter of trust. She stole the scrubs and it is a tell all to her overall character.