How old is... "too old to be working?"('lil lengthy) - page 2

Some people just don't know when to quit or they just won't quit. The facility can't force you to retire, so then what? Do you just let someone work until they collapse on the unit or make a major... Read More

  1. by   Tweety
    There is a Nurse Practice Act in force to ensure that patients get the utmost safe care. If you feel she can cause harm to patients perhaps you are obligated to let the state board of nursing handle it. Sounds cruel. But the patients are what is important here.

    It sounds like a very frustrating situation.

    That's going to be me though. The economy is going to be such that I'll never get good investments, inflation will take care of the rest, and I'll be using a walker to get from patient to patient at the age of 100. Be kind to me. LOL
  2. by   -jt
    <<the woman is 70ish, beyond retirement age, even has the old osteoporosis hump in her back so she ain't no spring chicken PLUS I've realized that she does have some brain syndrome going on and does need to retire and get some help if she hasn't gotten it already. She is on medication because I've seen her pop a few pills one night, but felt it wasn't my place to ask about them. I'm wondering if she's staying just because she knows that management would love to see her go and is working four and five days in a row of OT just to prove her point even further.>>

    Maybe its because she needs the money.



    < If you're going to storm me because I called her "Old" don't bother to reply because that's not what this is all about. That's why I asked the question, "How old is too old to work?" She surely isn't a spring chicken.her mind is starting to waste away to make her look senile and demented and that is a picture of an old person.>

    The point of several of the posters who replied to your original question was that it may not have anything to do with her age. She may not be NOT wasting away with "senility". And it is not the "picture of an old person", its the picture of a medical problem that needs attention. We shouldnt just jump to the conclusion that old age is the cause of her behavior.

    A caring nurse administrator should discuss the situation with her - not wait for her to retire or harm someone so she can be fired. They could let her transfer to another job within the facility that might be more manageable for her while she gets her problem checked out. She doesnt have to retire because someone else feels she looks old.

    Shes probably aware of what she looks like & how people are talking about her. No wonder shes "paranoid" about people being out to get her. Of course maybe her meds are doing that to her. They cant fire someone for being old or having to take medications but they can request she work less or transfer to a position that wont put others at risk.
    Last edit by -jt on Nov 23, '02
  3. by   night owl
    Maybe she doesn't need the money...her husband is a lawyer...Just as each one of us develope at different rates, we all grow older at different rates. Some people just get old before their time. Numerically she may not be old, but mentally due to neurological changes in her brain from a MEDICAL PROBLEM, to others she may appear to be senile or "getting old." Totally agree that a caring nurse administrator should discuss her situation with her, but you don't know our administrators! They eat their oldsters and yes, they are just waiting for a significant situation to happen so they can get her out of there. Why? Because she is a known whistle blower in the past and in a way still is by trying to "get her story told". I didn't want to bring the whistle blower subject up, but that's all I will say about it. I want to speak to her myself in a kind and caring way, but am trying to figure out how to go about this without making her feel as if I'm out to get her too. It's very difficult caring for someone but not wanting to hurt their feelings in the meantime. I respect her very much. Due to her mental process at this point, I'm not sure I can talk to her as a friend without her thinking the worst. It's a tough thing for me to do. To others it might not be so tough especially if they're cold hearted, but I feel that I must try and so I shall...somehow and when the time is right.
  4. by   mattsmom81
    Do you have an EAP at your facility Michele? They may be of some assistance...you could let them facilitate an intervention of sorts for this nurse who is having problems

    Or as JT suggested, you could certainly make an anonymous report to your BON and they will be obliged to investigate and go from there...but this may result in her license being removed and you may not feel good about facilitating such a harsh outcome for her...your call.

    I'm glad you're proceeding in a caring fashion and you're wise to document your observations, incidents, plus names, dates and times you have approached management about your concerns.
  5. by   -jt
    <you don't know our administrators! They eat their oldsters and yes, they are just waiting for a significant situation to happen so they can get her out of there.>

    Ok so when the significant situation happens & someone is harmed she will be fired. And then management will interview the rest of the staff & possibly discipline those who admit they knew the RN had a problem but they didnt speak up about it. The blame could be shifted to them because the employer could claim it didnt know & that if those RNs had come forward, the employer may have been able to take an action that would have prevented the significant situation from happening. The silent RNs get left holding the bag & might have disciplinary action taken against them by the employer for their failure to protect the pts.

    AND, when the family of the person who was harmed sues & every staff person on that floor has to give a legal deposition, & is asked if they noticed anything of concern in her practice or behavior, if they tell the truth & say yes, they will be asked if they informed management to address the problem. If they havent, they are guilty of not advocating for & protecting the pts & can be held responsible in the lawsuit & also by the Board of Nursing for failing in their professional responsibilies. If they know theres a problem but dont bring it to the attention of management, they may find themselves having to fight for their own licenses too.
  6. by   night owl
    I know, I know -jt. Trouble is, the administration already is aware of this woman and have plenty of documentation on her way before I started working with her three weeks ago. I feel that they should have been more involved with investigating her. To a certain point they did some investigating if that's what you want to call it. She had a big fight with another nurse that worked with her on nights in June I believe it was. The supervisor was called to come to the floor. She was put on days for six weeks and the other nurse was not. As soon as she went on days, her husband fell and broke his hip and she took time off (three weeks)to stay at home with him. Little by little she was scheduled back to nights. I don't think she even worked two and a half weeks on the day shift. Never did understand that one, but that was their big investigation. She and the other nurse do not work together anymore and that's where I come in. I am taking the other nurses place. So they know all about her behaviors, etc. I feel that they should have made her work days for at least three to six months in order for them to fully see her as she really is. Now it's my turn. They're probably waiting for me to start coming forward with incidences about her. Last night she was very quiet and didn't say too much all night. After report she just sat in the chair and stared off into space. She said she was tired. It was strange, almost like she was in a trance, and like she was suddenly on some type of medication. She was just too quiet as compaired to the last three weeks that I've been working with her. She's due back in tonight with me, but talked of calling out sick on Tuesday night when I'm off. Maybe she'll just call out tonight. We'll see...
  7. by   P_RN
    She sounds stressed, in grief process over her husband's fall, possibly in grief for her own situation, and perhaps quite lonely. It could be work is her only social outlet.

    I believe you owe it to your patients and your self preservation to speak with the NM *AND* leave a paper trail. I think you should also speak with her. Even if she makes you very angry with her reaction, she deserves to KNOW she has made ab error.

    We had a Lactation Nurse who was 79 when she retired. Still very alert, still very active in her community and very much beloved by the thousands of moms and babies she helped. She was a senior citizen but she was definitely NOT old.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    what does risk management have to say of all this? just wondering?
  9. by   Jenny P
    Michele, you keep saying "she wants to tell her story." What s her story? Have you asked her about this? Has she written down her story? Maybe ask her to do so; if she is encouraged to do so and is unable to; this may make her realize that she has a problem. You say she is kind of a whistle blower; what do you mean by that?

    I agree that she sounds like there is something wrong with her mentally; how long have the other staff noticed this behavior from her? You worked with her 5 or 6 years ago, that is a while ago when you start talking about personality changes. Could it be that her husbands' fall triggered a problem? But you did say that there were complaints about her before he was injured, didn't you?

    BTW Michele, age-ism is a touchy subject with many people today. Many of us here are over 50, and although we don't know your age, the title of this thread can be misconstrued as being aimed at us "seasoned" nurses. Until you stated that this nurse was 70-ish, I was feeling defensive myself. Back when I was a kid and even into my 20's, "older people" really were older: someone in their mid-50's had grey hair and wrinkles and middle-aged spread and dressed OLD; dowager's humps were very common in women over 65. Now someone in their mid-50's may not have grey hair (either thanks to nature or Clairol), and we can take better care of ourselves all the way around so wrinkles, and middle age spread can be delayed, reduced, or eliminated and thanks to hormones dowagers humps are rarely seen these days. And there isn't a "little old ladies" clothing section in department stores anymore. So, just by titling this thread as someone being "too old..." it could be offend. What your thread is really about is incompetence or paranoia or personality changes in co-workers or any of a number of other mental health issues; NOT this person's age.
  10. by   katfoster
    Just have her join the IV Therapy team that is where all the old nurses go that are unable to work the floor.
  11. by   kaytdid
    Could it be that you know not what you are dealing with? Did you state your educational background here? And I beleive I got some insight into your defensive attitude about the age issue. Sometimes those with less education, and experience, who are young find fault where none lies simply because they know no better. Do your job well, cause no harm to patients, residents, or others, and you will be fine.
  12. by   mattsmom81
    I can see more clearly what you are dealing with after your last post, Michelle.

    I was put in charge of a 15 bed unit (oncology/renal/hematology) once and promised a second nurse coworker and a CNA each shift, so I thought "I can handle this".

    I ended up with NO CNA and the nurse they gave me was a 60 -ish LTC nurse who had not worked in an acute hospital since nursing school...so everything needed learning

    I felt like I had the whole wing...actually I DID because I had to babysit this other nurse who didn't know what do .. with12 to 15 sick patients on peritoneal dialysis, chemo and in sickle cell crisis.

    Your situation sounds more like a dangerous one for patients than just a problem employee...you can't be responsible for that whole unit if she is not functioning safely. You can't allow it to continue. Are you ready to tell management to do something about this or you will resign? It may take that.....

    That's what I had to do! And I had to chuckle about the old nurses going to IV team cuz that's where they put this lady too...LOL!

    Trouble was they replaced her with another just like her. <Big sigh> So I ended up resigning anyway but it was for the best...I couldn't work that way with all that responsibility.

    I do know what you mean about being expected to pull someone else's weight in excess...it isn't fair. Sometimes managers push and push and wait to see how much we will take....
  13. by   LilgirlRN
    psych eval pronto

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