Is it legal.. Is it legal.. | allnurses

Is it legal..

  1. 1 So I am a labor and delivery nurse at a hospital with something like 220 beds in the facility, and on labor we do 5 deliveries a day just to give you a background.

    The pediatric unit at my hospital has been moved to the OB/labor floor due to them rarely having more than 1 patient and whatnot. Well this caused a ton of peds nurses to leave because they were having to work mom baby. And now peds has to legally move back to their own floor we've been told.

    now that they lost almost all their staff, we are being forced to orientate to pediatrics (postpartum and labor nurses) for a 12 hour shift then are going to have to take full loads of peds patients when needed.

    First of all, I feel this isn't safe as someone who has only worked Ob for many years. Peds is a distant memory from nursing school years ago, so after 12 hours of orientation would I be a safe practicing nurse to do this? And is it legal? To be forced to work a job that you didn't apply for or be properly trained for?

    Any thoughts appreciated! I only have worked at this hospital so idk what other hospitals are like, if this is completely normal and I'm just crazy or what. Thanks
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. Visit  Sour Lemon profile page
    #1 1
    I've never worked L&D, but I do occasionally get a pediatric patient in adult med/surg ...commonly an emergency appendectomy on an otherwise healthy child. I've also been floated to mother and baby, but given only mothers.
  4. Visit  FutureNurseInfo profile page
    #2 1
    I am not a lawyer so I cannot really give a legal advice. You may want to consult a union rep, if you have one. But from the common sense point, it does look like it might be illegal, or, at least, unethical to "force" you practice with limited training given. Also, the simple math is in play here. Some odd number of peds nurses left, so now, and OB nurse with your own responsibilities, are forced to do YOUR direct job, as well as the peds job when necessary. Will that JOB be on top of what you already have to do, thus, overtime, and, therefore, paid for it? I hope so, if not, you definitely have to do something about it.
  5. Visit  L&DRN93 profile page
    #3 0
    Thanks for your insight guys! Always interesting to hear about other hospitals.

    We also as OB nurses feel like peds is more med surg? As our patients are healthy and typically the peds kiddos that are admitted are sick sick kids with things like peg tubes and cpap and all sorts of stuff we don't do and haven't worked with in years!

    Unfortunately no union here. It wouldn't be overtime, it would be to fill in and float there when needed. We float to all areas but are unassigned. This would be a float and being assigned a full patient load (when we are long and peds is short). Which is increasing with RSV season and again the lack of peds nurses.
  6. Visit  traumaRUs profile page
    #4 1
    AN can't answer as to how to legal this is - I would consult a lawyer for legal advice. You have rec'd others' opinions though regarding the pt safety aspect of this situation. Best wishes.
  7. Visit  klone profile page
    #5 7
    RNs are all expected, per their license, to have a baseline RN competency. With proper orientation, YES, any RN should be able to take care of any patient.

    Every hospital I've ever worked at that was small enough not to have a regular pediatric census with a dedicated peds wing, always put peds in a portion of their "med/surg" floor and it was expected that the med/surg nurses would take those patients. I've never heard of OB nurses being expected to staff for peds.

    While I think what your hospital is doing is unfair, I don't think they're doing anything WRONG.
  8. Visit  Horseshoe profile page
    #6 6
    Quote from klone
    RNs are all expected, per their license, to have a baseline RN competency. With proper orientation, YES, any RN should be able to take care of any patient.

    Every hospital I've ever worked at that was small enough not to have a regular pediatric census with a dedicated peds wing, always put peds in a portion of their "med/surg" floor and it was expected that the med/surg nurses would take those patients. I've never heard of OB nurses being expected to staff for peds.

    While I think what your hospital is doing is unfair, I don't think they're doing anything WRONG.
    I would agree that they are not doing anything illegal. There is no special license for taking care of pediatric patients. RNs are expected to meet minimum standards of competency coming off NCLEX that would allow them to work in most specialties (excluding delivery of anesthesia or other advanced practice, of course).

    I would not agree that they are not doing anything "wrong." Coming off the NCLEX with their minimum level of expected competency, most nurses new to peds will have an orientation under the guidance of experienced preceptors for many weeks, if not months. An experienced RN might well not require that level of preceptor-supervised education, but 12 hours is not likely going to cut it for any of them. If the nurses feel too far removed from their pediatric training (I certainly would), they might not be safe to practice without more orientation and/or remedial education. As a parent of a sick child, I would not feel comfortable with this AT ALL.
  9. Visit  Scottishtape profile page
    #7 10
    I don't see cross training nurses being illegal. It's widely done, especially when there are gaps. Does it suck? Sure. Illegal? No.
  10. Visit  Here.I.Stand profile page
    #8 11
    Quote from klone
    RNs are all expected, per their license, to have a baseline RN competency. With proper orientation, YES, any RN should be able to take care of any patient.
    True, but I would submit that one 12 hr shift is not proper orientation.
  11. Visit  L&DRN93 profile page
    #9 0
    Thank you everyone for your input!! Again I have only worked and seen how this one hospital operates so I was just curious if this is a common occurrence!
  12. Visit  Scottishtape profile page
    #10 1
    Quote from Here.I.Stand
    True, but I would submit that one 12 hr shift is not proper orientation.
    Agreed.
  13. Visit  klone profile page
    #11 2
    Quote from Here.I.Stand
    True, but I would submit that one 12 hr shift is not proper orientation.
    Yes, I agree with that. I saw that there was orientation; I missed that it was only one shift.
  14. Visit  heron profile page
    #12 6
    The picture is complicated by the fact that we are, as far as I know, obligated to decline an assignment for which we know we are not adequately trained.

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