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This is a discussion on Prior employer references in First Year After Nursing Licensure, part of Nursing Career Advice ... am looking for my 2nd lpn job since boards (nov 09) and anticipate a tough time with references...by florencelpn Apr 11, '10am looking for my 2nd lpn job since boards (nov 09) and anticipate a tough time with references from my 2.5 month-long 1st lpn job - at a 30-bed alf/dementia, alz. i can't believe i'm uttering this to another living soul, let alone to other nurses, but i made 4 med errors in those 2.5 months. i'm blessed to say no one was hurt. the errors were of the sort like: doctors’ orders having been changed and me not recognizing it (in one case, because the nurse who took the order neglected to put it in the mar). another case was about a resident who was out with her family all day and i forgot to go to her and give her meds when she returned. no rationalizing! they were my errors and my responsibility! period!! however . . . my boss, a brand new don took a fair amount of heat from the ed for not adequately training me enough to avoid such errors and also for not checking my work on the 1st few shifts i worked there. my boss took a very strong dislike for me after that and it looks like i may have lost a great new job due to her unfavorable reference. i know i have the capacity to be a good nurse. i also know i have to work in a larger, more supportive environment where i can bounce things off of other nurses during this 1st year of nursing.
there may be laws to protect an employee from negative references, but i don’t have the time, money, or heart to pursue any of that. but i sure would appreciate any suggestions about how to handle prospective interviews, warning a prospective employer to anticipate a negative reference: “but really - give me an interview anyway so i can explain!” (ha!). thanks!!
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- Dec 4, '10 by JoytoWorldThere are no laws to protect you from accurate and true references. You can pursue a lawsuit if you are defamed, meaning untrue things were said that affect your professional reputation. You can sue in small claims court where you do not need a lawyer. The previous employer carries a level of responsibility to inform future employers if there were true, serious issues with performance. If concerned, there are companies who will do a reference check for you for fee to see what the former employer is saying.
As you pursue your career, a smart approach is to collect LETTERS of RECOMMENDATION from anyone in a position to know your work. If you are a student, or recent graduate, request ones from teachers. Before you leave a job, request one from supervisors, managers, committee chairs, physicians, etc. If you know someone prominent in the community who can attest to your character, request a letter.
Also save throughout your career, any PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS you receive. You have a right to a copy of any form you sign. If you receive a poor evaluation, request guidance on how you can improve.
Most MED ERRORS occur not due to one person's actions but due to poor design of a process and the affect of many person's actions. The last person in line for the error is usually blamed. Study JCAHO's recommendations and ismp.com "lessons learned" for how to prevent med errors. Search any patient safety website for information on med error prevention. When re-employed, ask to be on the medication committee. You have the experience and the motivation to be a contributor who can make a difference.
If unable to gain employment, consider volunteering or taking a low-stress part time healthcare job to rebuild your resume, such as wellness tasks in LTC, nutrition programs or flu vaccine clinics. When you perform well, ask for a letter or give them a self made check-sheet to rate your performance that they can sign and date.
If a prospective employer asks you to explain, keep your answer short and honest. Truth has a ring to it and someone, somewhere will appreciate it.
Good luck and never stop caring to give your best.