does walking off the job = abandonment? - page 2

Hello ladies and gents: Below is a recent articles about some nursing who walked off their jobs. I was curious to hear from nurses about what your feelings are. Did they neglect their patients or... Read More

  1. by   dream'n
    I am confused. If they finished their shift, reported off to an on-coming nurse, and then quit (even if all 10 quit at the same time,) I don't see that they broke any criminal laws, just put the facility in a tight spot. Wish we had the whole story, I would like to know if they had reported off, because if they didn't, that's abandonment, if they did, then they didn't do anything wrong. I must say though, that the facility sounds awful. Red flags go up for me because it sounds like they can ONLY hire foreign nurses under contract, that no one else wants to work there.
  2. by   Sheri257
    This is the actual indictment:

    http://www.co.suffolk.ny.us/da/press...et%20al%20.pdf

    It all seems to come down to failure to give reasonable notice. Some excerpts:

    "A nurse commited unprofessional conduct when the nurse abandoned a patient without making reasonable arrangements for the patient's continued care or when the nurse abandoned employment at a health care facility without giving reasonable notice to the facility and under circumstances that seriously impaired the delivery of professional care ...

    "The defendant nurses, knowing that nurses at other Sentosa Care facilities had resigned, also submitted resignation letters. The content of each letter was identical to the content of the letters to other Sentosa facilities stating that the resignation was effective immediately."

    "With the pool of possible temporary replacement nurses depleted because of the resignations at other Sentosa Care facilities, the sudden resignations of the defendant nurses at Avalon Gardens endangered the welfare of pediatric patients, particularly the terminally ill JB, and ventilated children...."
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 24, '07
  3. by   crb613
    Quote from lizz
    In my California nursing program we were taught that you either have to declare the assignment unsafe or, declare yourself unsafe and then give them four hours notice to remedy the situation. We were taught that our board of nursing considers four hours reasonable notice. You can't just walk away without giving that four hours notice.

    An unsafe situation would be when they give you too many high acuity patients or, when they're trying to make you work a double when you're already exhausted after working a 12 hour shift.

    In either case, our instructors told us to document the unsafe situation, file an incident report and, give management notice in writing that they have four hours to remedy the situation.

    If they don't remedy the problem in four hours (like finding replacements, additional staff, etc.) then, you're no longer obligated to stay and won't be charged with patient abandonment.

    :typing
    This is a little off topic but I am confused...can someone clear this up for me???
    Say you go in to work, pt load is too heavy, & you feel its unsafe....
    1. Do you refuse or is this abandoment? ( I thought you had to accept before its abandoment)
    2. Do you accept, & give four hours notice for more help?
    3. Where does that put you if something bad happens in that four hours?
    4. Can you accept part of the pt load, but refuse part? For example...I will take seven of these pt's, but I will not take ten?
    Thanks & sorry for getting a little off topic.
  4. by   nursing 101
    I'm sorry but this is the problem with nursing. It is management's problem to staff whether I quit or 10 people quit at the same time. SPECIALLY if they had advised it after their shift was over . As someone pointed out that is why there are agencies galore. If the facility has to pay $100 an hour to all ten people so be it until they remedy the situation. If they quit after their shift as the article said then mgment had at least 8 to 12 hours to cover the next oncoming shift. So who gets blamed for patient abandonment the poor nurse! What about the facility shouldn't they get charge for this just as much. So nurses have to work in poor working conditions that might jeopardize clients anyway but can quit at the end of their shift? So let's just say if all these ten nurses were in a terrible accident and couldn't come to work the next day... Wouldn't mgment staff at that point? I love nursing but I don't think anybody should be a slave to their job.
    I was under the impression that a 2 weeks notice is common courtesy to the employer but not lawfully necessary.
  5. by   dream'n
    Thanks Lizz for shedding more light on the situation. So basically, they are being charged because they all resigned at one time and that left the facility without enough qualified nurses to cover all shifts. Personally I think that is a croc. One may not agree ethically with what they did, but legally I don't think they did anything wrong. I think charging them is a slippery slope. What would stop some other facility from saying, "well several of your co-workers quit, so you can't. If you do, you will be held legally responsible for our short staffing." The law should not be able to force someone to continue working somewhere they don't want to be. Now, they may have broken civil laws by breaking their contract.
    Last edit by dream'n on Mar 24, '07
  6. by   Sheri257
    Quote from crb613
    This is a little off topic but I am confused...can someone clear this up for me???
    Say you go in to work, pt load is too heavy, & you feel its unsafe....
    1. Do you refuse or is this abandoment? ( I thought you had to accept before its abandoment)
    2. Do you accept, & give four hours notice for more help?
    3. Where does that put you if something bad happens in that four hours?
    4. Can you accept part of the pt load, but refuse part? For example...I will take seven of these pt's, but I will not take ten?
    Thanks & sorry for getting a little off topic.
    For what it's worth, this is what we were taught with our California nursing program. It could be different in other states, however.

    We have ratios mandated by law. But, let's say they break ratios. Or, let's say they stay within ratios at five patients but some of them are really critical and should be in the ICU, not a Med Surg floor.

    I believe you can refuse the assignment and not be charged with abandonment. But, that doesn't necessarily prevent the facility from firing you for not doing your job. The board doesn't regulate employment issues.

    This is why our instructors advised us to do the following, which prevents both you being charged with abandonment and also being fired for refusing to do your job, but also protects you with liability if something goes wrong (at least in California):

    1) You declare the assignment unsafe and give them four hours to remedy the problem. You file an incident report stating why it's unsafe. That way, if something goes wrong during that four hours, the liability is on the hospital, not you.

    2) If they don't bring in help after the four hours then, you can refuse the additional patients or whatever without being fired or being charged with abandonment ... because you've given reasonable notice. And, of course, you document all of this.

    Now, if you've already worked a 12 hour shift and they want you to work a double because somebody hasn't showed up, you do have to stay an extra four hours so they can find somebody else. But, as long as you've notified them that you're exhausted and unsafe after 12 hours, you're only obligated to stay that four hours.

    Again, this is what our instructors taught us in school.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 24, '07
  7. by   Sheri257
    Quote from nursing 101
    I'm sorry but this is the problem with nursing. It is management's problem to staff whether I quit or 10 people quit at the same time. SPECIALLY if they had advised it after their shift was over . As someone pointed out that is why there are agencies galore. If the facility has to pay $100 an hour to all ten people so be it until they remedy the situation. If they quit after their shift as the article said then mgment had at least 8 to 12 hours to cover the next oncoming shift. So who gets blamed for patient abandonment the poor nurse! What about the facility shouldn't they get charge for this just as much. So nurses have to work in poor working conditions that might jeopardize clients anyway but can quit at the end of their shift? So let's just say if all these ten nurses were in a terrible accident and couldn't come to work the next day... Wouldn't mgment staff at that point? I love nursing but I don't think anybody should be a slave to their job.
    I was under the impression that a 2 weeks notice is common courtesy to the employer but not lawfully necessary.
    I see your point here but, if the indictment is correct ... something does seem to be kind of fishy here. All of these nurses from different facilities resigned within two days.

    When California nurses' unions strike, they usually give a hellava lot more notice than that ... no matter how bad the employer is. This almost seems to be the equivalent of a strike/walkout without notice.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 24, '07
  8. by   llg
    Quote from lizz
    I see your point here but, if the indictment is correct ... something does seem to be kind of fishy here. All of these nurses from different facilities resigned within two days.

    When California nurses unions' strike, they usually give a hellava lot more notice than that ... no matter how bad the employer is. This almost seems to be the equivalent of a strike/walkout without notice.

    :typing
    I agree with you lizz. This is not a case of one or 2 nurses resigning on the same day. This was an organized group staging a planned walkout -- more like a planned walkout by a union. That brings other issues (and other laws) into play that the court will have to consider.
  9. by   crb613
    Thanks Lizz! I did a lot of searching on KBN, & found the answers.
    The KBN lists a guide for nurses & employers that says a nurse can leave an assignment and not be in violiation of Ky nursing laws only after.....
    1. Communicating the need to do so with the nurse's supervisor, and
    2. Exhausting all reasonable and prudent efforts to place the care of a patient in another nurse's care.
    To sum it up it also says...abandonment does not occur when a nurse who cannot practice with reasonable skill and safety leaves an assignment after fulfilling the two steps listed above.
    Thanks again!
  10. by   Sheri257
    Quote from crb613
    Thanks Lizz! I did a lot of searching on KBN, & found the answers.
    The KBN lists a guide for nurses & employers that says a nurse can leave an assignment and not be in violiation of Ky nursing laws only after.....
    1. Communicating the need to do so with the nurse's supervisor, and
    2. Exhausting all reasonable and prudent efforts to place the care of a patient in another nurse's care.
    To sum it up it also says...abandonment does not occur when a nurse who cannot practice with reasonable skill and safety leaves an assignment after fulfilling the two steps listed above.
    Thanks again!
    Yeah ... that's pretty much how I read all of this also, including what's in the indictment. No matter how bad the employer is, you still have to do your part to protect the patients.

    And that generally means giving them reasonable notice to replace you. I'm sure people can and will debate what is reasonable notice but, walking out on a Friday night probably won't look good to a jury. Especially when there's children involved.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 24, '07
  11. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from Pertlvn03
    Do you think US nurses wait 2 years for this nursing abuse? I don't think so.

    US nurses take this kind of abuse and more. Trust me.

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