Have you used ethics hotline?

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    This is nosey but has anyone ever called the ethics hotline to complain about a nursing issue? I have never heard about it happening but some fellows nurses have talked about it because we have concern. I wonder because there is a nurse that has some questionable nursing practice. There has been shifts that we say "ok everyone watch her and see what she does for the next hour." She sometimes has not moved for a few hours except from the break room to her computer, which she uses for online social sites and shopping, not patient care. We are a high acuity floor and there is no way I even sit to chart for 20 minutes straight without having to get up for some reason. She will go in the room with medication that must go over a certain time and exceeds the amount able to be retrograded but then somehow never has to return to flush the line or turn off the syringe/med pumps beeping (no there is no silencer). She is a manager's pet so it is useless to bring up concern about her, people tried before. Would this be considered ok to call in to the ethics hotline? Would anything get done? The nurses who were talking about it think so but I am not sure. I told them for now on people should try to see what she is doing with her meds to know for sure. So is something like this reportable? I wonder what has anyone heard about being reported or have reported yourself? Maybe you cant tell, sorry I don't know. I have never heard of any complaint at all so just wondering. Thank you.
    Last edit by RNBSNxo on Oct 3, '10
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  3. 12 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I used the ethics hotline about what I thought was a questionable benefit policy. the answer was something I needed to know for personal reasons. What you are talking about is definitely a reportable issue but I am not sure the ethics hotline is the way to go. You and your coworkers are too busy to have to baby sit someone. If your nurse manager is not a good resource what about a house/shift supervisor or your manager's boss? What about the state board? I worry if this nurse gets called into court you and your coworkers will be in trouble for not reporting her questionable practices.
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    God, no. I like having a job too much.

    And this issue has nothing to do with the ethics hotline and is a waste of their time. As to reporting her, report her for what? Being lazy? Last I knew that wasn't a BON disciplinary issue.
    fiveofpeep likes this.
  6. 3
    I think the implication is that she is not giving meds or is pushing meds that should not be pushed. I didn't get the phrase "exceeds the amount able to be retrograded..." What does that mean?

    The only way to be sure that she is actually giving the meds or doing the treatments she is charting as done is to go behind her and check her patients.

    Is there anyone in risk management you can talk to about this?

    Be careful, though ... this could easily morph into a mobbing situation.
    Last edit by heron on Oct 3, '10 : Reason: added thought
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    I did call the ethics line over someone not doing their job and had very good results. They took it seriously. The person I reported was my manager. It is totally anonymous. I called from a pay phone. They asked for an e-mail address to contact me to let me know what came of it and I had a fake e-mail address ready and I gave it to them but never received a reply e-mail but the end result was that the manager was let go.

    I would call. If you went to the nurse manager first, then when you called, your nurse manager would be able to figure out who called the ethics line and may make life difficult for you even though it's not supposed to work that way.

    The ethics line is there to help you, take advantage of it, just make sure to keep yourself anonymous.
  8. 0
    I'm confused...do you think she's diverting or that she's not giving the medication correctly? What kind of meds are we talking about here?
  9. 0
    Ethics lines are put in place to address all types of ethical issues... not just clinical. If the OP has already tried to address this problem through the established chain of command and was not satisfied about the outcome - this would be an appropriate use of the ethics line.

    Most organizations have two options for anyone who is using the Ethics line; anonymity or confidentiality - along with a guarantee of non-retaliation for any complaints made in good faith. However, the need for further investigation may require obtaining additional information - so the OP should opt for providing his/her name. Despite all precautions to maintain confidentiality, the OPs should be prepared for his/her connection to be uncovered... so make sure all ducks are in a row first.

    Big Caveat: The mis-use of an ethics line to deliberately slander someone could result in a civil suit & there's no protection from that.
  10. 0
    I talked to HR director about whether or not to use that line regarding another supervisor (non-clinical). She said she would handle it. Well, that was months ago. Recently she came to me and said the supervisor had repeated the episode in her presence and now, because she did not think it should be reported before, she cannot yet fire the individual, only mete out discipline. So I will not ask in the future. I will just do it.
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    Quote from SuesquatchRN
    God, no. I like having a job too much.

    And this issue has nothing to do with the ethics hotline and is a waste of their time. As to reporting her, report her for what? Being lazy? Last I knew that wasn't a BON disciplinary issue.

    Suesquatch
    The patient is lying in their bed and the parent at their bedside thinking their nurse is providing the best, safest care per policy. So...I consider it unethical for a nurse to be giving medication not according to policy and/or not according to the pediatric medication book that is the only one ok'd by our hospital. I did not say in my post she is "lazy" what I said is she is somehow never going back and flushing meds that MUST be ran over specified times and cannot be retrograded in the running IV fluid line. She knows the policy, we have asked.
  12. 0
    Quote from heron
    I think the implication is that she is not giving meds or is pushing meds that should not be pushed. I didn't get the phrase "exceeds the amount able to be retrograded..." What does that mean?

    The only way to be sure that she is actually giving the meds or doing the treatments she is charting as done is to go behind her and check her patients.

    Is there anyone in risk management you can talk to about this?

    Be careful, though ... this could easily morph into a mobbing situation.
    The policy says only medications in less than 3mL can be retrograded-put directly into the running IV fluid line and then you set a new rate on the secondary pump setting. So she goes in the room with a medication that is prepared in 10mL and per policy must run over 30 minutes but is in there for a few minutes, comes out, and never returns. Something is up, she is pushing it is only thing.


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