Help! Accused of verbal abuse.

  1. I've been a nurse for 15 years and yesterday my DON called and informed me that a resident has aledged that I verbally abused him on more than one occasion. She told me I am suspended pending investigation outcome and not to report to work until I hear from her. I work in Assisted Living and the resident is very alert although has multiple psych diagnosis (anxiety, depression). I was not even asked to give a statement! Has anyone gone through anything like this??
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   tddowney
    Quote from nurse.pammy
    I've been a nurse for 15 years and yesterday my DON called and informed me that a resident has aledged that I verbally abused him on more than one occasion. She told me I am suspended pending investigation outcome and not to report to work until I hear from her. I work in Assisted Living and the resident is very alert although has multiple psych diagnosis (anxiety, depression). I was not even asked to give a statement! Has anyone gone through anything like this??
    You don't want to give any kind of statement until you have a lawyer with you. If you're suspended, it means your license as well as your job is at risk, plus the possibility of a lawsuit.

    A lawyer experienced in nursing issues will know your rights and help keep you from inadvertently providing ammo to the other side........and make no mistake; it is now an adversarial process.

    Unfortunately, even if you're completely blameless, you'll end up being out several thousand dollars unless you have good liability insurance. Don't let your emotions about that leave you vulnerable to even bigger losses by trying to go it alone.
  4. by   FlyingScot
    Yep. Leave now! Find a new job. Get on with your life. If your DON suspended you without even giving you a chance to talk it's only going to get worse because she obviously thinks this resident has a case. You will be under a cloud of suspicion for a very long time and that is not a comfortable place to be. Sorry if I sound negative but all you have to do is read the archives about being fired on this site to see that the hand-writing is on the wall. Even if you don't get fired all it will take is another complaint and it starts all over again. It won't even matter if the complaints are legit or not. Good luck!
  5. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from FlyingScot
    Yep. Leave now! Find a new job. Get on with your life. If your DON suspended you without even giving you a chance to talk it's only going to get worse because she obviously thinks this resident has a case. You will be under a cloud of suspicion for a very long time and that is not a comfortable place to be. Sorry if I sound negative but all you have to do is read the archives about being fired on this site to see that the hand-writing is on the wall. Even if you don't get fired all it will take is another complaint and it starts all over again. It won't even matter if the complaints are legit or not. Good luck!
    unfortunately, this happens much too often.
    even if mgmt/don/admin thinks the resident is lying, they have to err on the side of caution.
    a resident's rights will always prevail over the character/integrity of a nurse.
    by law, the state mandates an automatic suspension whenever abuse is alleged.

    i agree about getting yourself a lawyer, and asap.
    do not discuss this with anyone at work.
    and refuse to take care of this pt ever again.
    if you must, bring an assistant or another nurse along w/you.
    i wish you the very best.

    leslie
  6. by   nurse.pammy
    Thanks for responding. The ironic part about this is that I actually accepted a new job yesterday. (before I got the call from the DON) I'm not supposed to start until Jan 9 but I'm going to call on Monday and ask if I can get into their Dec orientation. I am sure I will be terminated for this on Monday as they always believe the resident. Would I get an attorney through the Unemployment office?
  7. by   HM2VikingRN
    If this is a Union facility I would contact a steward NOW!

    Make no statements about this case to anyone either verbally or in writing unless you have legal representation in attendance. If you have liability coverage call your company now.

    It is my understanding that legal and medical advice is beyond the TOS.

    Unfortunately, legal representation is going to come out of your own pocket.
    Last edit by HM2VikingRN on Nov 30, '07
  8. by   nurse.pammy
    I wish I was in a union...
  9. by   Freedom42
    I understand how and why an employer might suspend or fire an employee accused of verbally abusing a patient. But I don't understand the suggestion that a lawsuit could be in the offing. What are the damages? For what could the company be sued?
  10. by   RNfloatpool
    It is standard policy in ltc facilities to suspend "pending investigation". I think it is a state wide policy. After the investigation is complete and their are "no findings" you will be reinstated with pay for the days you were suspended.
  11. by   FlyingScot
    I didn't know that was a law but don't you think if a DON had faith that the person was innocent they'd ask what happened and then be a little bit more reassuring to the employee. I know I would.
  12. by   Treat et Street
    They want you gone. Somebody doesn't like you. Somebody who has influence over the "boss". Unless you can prove actual discrimination, i.e. religion, age, race, you have no case. This is especially true in a "right to work" state. Cut your losses and say a life changing event occured and you must resign effective immediately. (That is NOT a lie.) Good luck-does it sound like I have experience?
  13. by   krazykev
    Do you have malpractice insurance? If not, then get some ASAP for the future! Also, make certain that it covers your legal fees when you are accused.
  14. by   suespets
    I heard from management that suspensions are for the protection of both parties; if your not there ,no further injury can be caused to either parties,from 1 to the other.this time is supposed to be used to get to the butt of the matter.

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