In a quandary! And on administrative leave!

  1. In a nutshell: accused by my last employer of 12 years of diverting drugs. I admit to making charting errors, and giving some patients their pain meds too close together, taking more than one medication out of the pyxis for more than one patient - these policy breakers I did do. I worked on an ortho med/surg floor which also took care of end of life patients so a lot of narcotics were needed for comfort. I did not divert drugs. Anyway, fast forward to today - I admitted my part in not following doctors' orders correctly and resigned from my beloved job at the (bad) advice of my Union. The same Union also told me I could apply for any job and not mention any of what was going on as my license was clean and nothing was pending. Once the paperwork reached the Board and my license was flagged - that would be a different matter.
    I started working for a nursing registry - clean license - no investigation yet and was sent to work at a large hospital in the neurology dept - away from all drugs (I thought this would look good once the investigation actually got started!). At the end of my assignment, the hospital asked me to stay and I was hired on. No real interview as they already knew me. A year or so later I transferred to gyn to be closer to patients. All was well for 2 years until my license was flagged to advise both me and my employer that an investigation had started. My HR dept were very upset and tried to put me on leave at that time - but my lovely manager stuck up for me and I was allowed to stay. Now the investigation is over and i am on probation and have given my manager and HR a copy of my stipulated agreement. They are now accusing me of lying on my application and have placed me on administrative leave I am mortified as I really did not think I had to say anything if my license was clean. I thought if there was anything to report a background check would have shown it up. I guess nothing was found when I joined the registry and the hospital. I am so worried i will be terminated and be unable to get a job anywhere due to my ongoing probation! Should I have said something to either of these employers - what should I say to defend myself?
    Thank you for reading and for any insight.
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   NurseCard
    There's probably not much that you can say.

    Did your employer require you to fill out an application? I mean, because
    I know you said that you had already been working for them through an
    agency... but still, most places still would require you to fill out an official
    application.

    On the application, it should have asked why you left your last job.
    Right then is when you probably should have explained what happened.
    Or rather, that is what your HR/boss/whatever, is going to say when
    you use the excuse "well, I didn't know that you all needed to know
    about this".

    Or did they NOT have you fill out an application. If that is the case,
    then you may indeed be able to say, look, no one asked me about
    this, this never came up... didn't see any reason to mention it.

    And then there's the whole issue of you not being able to give
    narcotics because of your probation. Your employer may decide
    to terminate you for that reason alone, if your job does entail
    having to give a lot of narcotics. You work GYN, I would
    assume that it does.

    I hope things work out for you. If you are let go... there
    are places out there that will still hire you in spite of your
    probation, but please be transparent about everything that
    has happened. Good luck.
  4. by   caliotter3
    I would seek legal advice.
  5. by   Essexgirl
    Yes I did fill out an application form - trying hard to remember all the wording on it. I know it asks about convictions. My previous employer is not allowed to mention why I left - they just say for personal reasons - which is what I said at my original interview. I do have a lawyer - we are waiting to hear the outcome! My probation does not prohibit me from dispensing narcotics (as long as I have on site supervision). It's a long way to fall from Staff Nurse III and Nurse preceptor to this - but I accept my punishment. Just hope a I have a job to work out my probation in!
  6. by   not.done.yet
    Get a lawyer. Have them get a copy of the application you filled out. Your HR keeps that. Hopefully you took a drug test and it was negative. I am praying this blows over for you.
  7. by   Essexgirl
    Thank you - every drug test from the beginning has been negative. Yes, a copy of the application is what is needed!
  8. by   JKL33
    Everyone should take note of the OP's situation and don't blow it off just because s/he acknowledged mistakes. See through the BS involved here, and realize how clever it might be to use the opoid crisis in this country and the words "drug diversion" as ways to deflect blame for issues related to poor staffing, or at the very least easily get rid of employees who may require remediation about other issues like time management or medication administration policy. I have not experienced this but by the look of it it is NO JOKE.

    All are hereby warned. Come hell or high water, handle narcotics exactly according to policy, even if the place burns down around you while you do it.

    When dumb mistakes, errors in nursing judgment, and decisions made under pressure of short-staffing involve opiates, they are now calling this not "medication error" or "poor time management" but NARCOTIC DIVERSION.

    Genius.

    Got it?
  9. by   JKL33
    OP, I take your written story at face value, and wish you well in getting through this.
  10. by   Emergent
    Quote from JKL33
    Everyone should take note of the OP's situation and don't blow it off just because s/he acknowledged mistakes. See through the BS involved here, and realize how clever it might be to use the opoid crisis in this country and the words "drug diversion" as ways to deflect blame for issues related to poor staffing, or at the very least easily get rid of employees who may require remediation about other issues like time management or medication administration policy. I have not experienced this but by the look of it it is NO JOKE.

    All are hereby warned. Come hell or high water, handle narcotics exactly according to policy, even if the place burns down around you while you do it.

    When dumb mistakes, errors in nursing judgment, and decisions made under pressure of short-staffing involve opiates, they are now calling this not "medication error" or "poor time management" but NARCOTIC DIVERSION.

    Genius.

    Got it?
    I totally agree. Controlled substances=Kryptonite in my life. Only handle with extreme care and the proper protection.

    To OP, good luck!
  11. by   Essexgirl
    Exactly! Please don't take short cuts (I took more than one patient's Vicodin out at a time to try and be efficient) - I understand why that is wrong (taking someone else's meds into another pt's room). I also carried meds for too long before giving them, didn't complete pain scale and on and on. Even if you don't think it points to diversion - the hospital and Board does. I agree with previous poster's advice - follow all MD instructions to the letter!
  12. by   EGspirit
    Quote from Essexgirl
    Exactly! Please don't take short cuts (I took more than one patient's Vicodin out at a time to try and be efficient) - I understand why that is wrong (taking someone else's meds into another pt's room). I also carried meds for too long before giving them, didn't complete pain scale and on and on. Even if you don't think it points to diversion - the hospital and Board does. I agree with previous poster's advice - follow all MD instructions to the letter!
    I'm trying to remember my last drug omnicell. I could have pulled out multiple patients meds, but then there would be no trace. There would be a short drawer. I would be wide open to exactly what you are describing. And no offense, but you say you did this and that, and "on and on." Well, yeah, something doesn't quite add up there. You know?

    I hope the best for you. I do. I can understand though how anyone else looking at the situation would be 100% suspicious. And apparently, they were, and this is the crap that resulted. Stay positive, my friend. I totally understand why you wouldn't reveal these things to future employers.
  13. by   Mavrick
    You have said everything in your Stipulated Agreement. Don't matter now what you actually did, said you did, why you did it etc. etc. etc.

    That is what employers will hold you accountable to.

    This will not blow over. Your license will be forever flagged with a disciplinary action and any future employer from any state will see it when they run your license through NurSys. Be prepared to calmly and objectively explain not blame. Have your Agreement, remediation classes, letters of completed probation, all documents and dates etc. in a handy file to make copies of for the rest of your nursing career should you ever change jobs.

    Life (and career) do go on.
  14. by   fibroblast
    Quote from Mavrick
    You have said everything in your Stipulated Agreement. Don't matter now what you actually did, said you did, why you did it etc. etc. etc.

    That is what employers will hold you accountable to.

    This will not blow over. Your license will be forever flagged with a disciplinary action and any future employer from any state will see it when they run your license through NurSys. Be prepared to calmly and objectively explain not blame. Have your Agreement, remediation classes, letters of completed probation, all documents and dates etc. in a handy file to make copies of for the rest of your nursing career should you ever change jobs.

    Life (and career) do go on.
    It may say there was disciplinary action, but license not revoked if what the OP says is correct. This doesn't make her blacklisted as there are many people disciplined. What she seems to be answering for is her being lax about doctors orders and medications. That seems to be a one way trip to the board and disciplinary action.

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