Med error could cost my job? Need help! - page 3

:wavey: Hi everyone! I really need to get this off my chest and get some responses back on your opinion of the problem. I was off work for 3 1/2 months for some personal problems. When I... Read More

  1. by   wonderbee
    This is a more common occurrence than many care to admit. It's so easy to happen. I've seen it dealt with by wasting the next day with a buddy who won't make waves. We kept a written log for discrepancies. No, it's not the proper way to handle it but that's the reality. It helps to be part of a clique.

    There were two problems here. One with the pyxis and the other by walking out of the building with a narc. It's a combination of errors that make for a fishy looking recipe for trouble. I do believe you because the exact same thing happened to me. However it was handled in a much less dramatic manner by my manager. I had to fill out a med error report and that was the end of it.

    Is it possible that management wants to move you on for other reasons? Maybe this is just the mechanism to make it happen??? I'd start cleaning up my resume. The unfortunate circumstance is that even though you did not take the drug, the narcotic was taken off the premises which in and of itself is a mishandling of narcotics and perhaps grounds for termination if someone wants to see you gone. I'm really sorry this is happening to you. We work so hard and sometimes things get chaotic and out of control.
  2. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from GLORIAmunchkin72
    I, too, believe you but I also understand if others do not want to believe you because this sounds like an "unreal" story. No matter how bad things get you should never put a narc in your pocket.
    I used to put narc's in my pocket. Deep pants pocket not scrub top pocket. 3 patients all wanting their pain meds. I would pull them at the same time and put them in my pocket whether they be pills or injectables. I would also leave wastes in my pocket until I had time to return to the med room and have someone watch me waste.

    The story is not at all "unreal" the key here is that she still had the pill. If she was after the narc she would have taken it and not have been able to return it the following day. Sounds to me like they are unfairly judging her because she had just returned to work after having personal problems. I commend her for going back to such a stressful job.
  3. by   dluedecke

    hi this is a really ugly situation. i had something much more serious happen to me, and it turned out ok.

    i was working in a nuring home as a unit manager for a temp agency.

    the drug delivery arrived as i had an aide come to me with the info that a patient was experiencing extreme pain. i asked the aide to stay with the drugs while i went to the patient. when i came back and went to log in the drugs there was a whole card of vicodin missing. i had already signed for everything.

    the facility did an investigation reported it to the board as they had to. i had no prior incidents of any medication errors or missing narcs so they found me not at fault as far as the missing drugs but reminded me to use protacall re accepting drugs. they later found out that the person who delivered the drugs had not even delivered them, but because i had signed without finishing the cross check i was in violation of protocal.

    it may be hospital policy to put persons on administrative leave when this sort of thing happens at that facility.

    you should ask, if you have had no previous problems this should work out.

    by the way i hope you have good liability insurance. if you don't let me know and i can help you. keep me posted. if you have worked at this facility for 6 years you should have many people that can vouch for you.

    dawn
  4. by   RavenC
    They should have requested a drug test immediately and didn't so they have no proof to back up any accusations. And if you haven't been in trouble before, they can't use your record against you. Keeping you on staff for 6 years is also in your favor. I use to work in a place that had a pyxsis and we often had discrepencies...pharmacy would just come up and make the necessary adjustment. And many times it had to do with hitting the wrong key just like you did. And sometimes the anwer was, "I don't know what happened." If they're jumping all over you, I wonder if they have a problem they haven't mentioned to staff yet.
    It does seem wrong to keep you in the dark about this. I think I'd go to HR and tell them to get on with it, (very nicely), or I'd find someone outside to help me, even if it means getting a lawyer. Mind you, I don't mean to threaten them...just do it quietly and get some solid advice. First consultations are often free. Not asking for a drug test makes me suspicious of their actions, especially since they can do it on a whim.
    I believe you're innocent...these things happen to us all the time. I lost a vicodin one time because that patient had meds in a bottle from an outside pharmacy and when pouring her med, one fell into the drawer and I didn't see it. The count was wrong that night, even though it had been right in the morning and I was counting with the same nurse. No one made a fuss and the next day, I decided to clean the med cart. I was very happy to find that vicodin and be able to explain, even though no one questioned me.
    Plenty of nurses and doctors have done worse things than this and kept their jobs and licenses, so buck up...you'll be okay. And in the future remember, nursing is no longer about caring for sick or elderly...it's covering your back. That's what we're all so frustrated about. Good luck.
  5. by   dmwRNpa
    I have been wondering if this could be discrimination. When I went back to work, I had some restrictions on me, such as I can't work nights or be mandated due to my psyche problems. When I went in to hand in the necessary paperwork for this, no one was available to hand it to other than the secretary. When I went back 1/2 hour later to make sure it was delivered to someone, it was laying on her desk, my name side up, and she was not in the office. Anyone could have read that, and it was filled out by my MD with all my diagnoses on there. My direct manager is supporting me, fighting for me, but it seems like everyone else is against me. Hopefully tomorrow (monday) we will get some sort of answer.
  6. by   sissiesmama
    Hey dmwRNpa -- I wanted to respond when I read your post. That is kind of what happened to me this past summer, and I am still fuming about it!! I did give them a drug screen, and it came back clean, and I knew it would. When they couldn't pop me for positive drug screen, the powers that be terminated me for one charting mistake I made on a very busy day. And it was not false documenting, not narcotic disc. It was an incorrect number given on a 0 to 10 pain scale!! If you ask me, it was total BS. I'll be thinking about you and your situation. Keep me posted, and pm me if you would like.


    Anne
  7. by   Heloisea3
    This is really scary for those of us who are wanting to become nurses. It makes it seem like any type of human error can cause you to lose your entire career.
  8. by   GLORIAmunchkin72
    It just proves that if they want to get rid of you anything goes. Pain scale is not exactly scientific data. There is a lot of guessing.
    Quote from busyrnandmom
    Hey dmwRNpa -- I wanted to respond when I read your post. That is kind of what happened to me this past summer, and I am still fuming about it!! I did give them a drug screen, and it came back clean, and I knew it would. When they couldn't pop me for positive drug screen, the powers that be terminated me for one charting mistake I made on a very busy day. And it was not false documenting, not narcotic disc. It was an incorrect number given on a 0 to 10 pain scale!! If you ask me, it was total BS. I'll be thinking about you and your situation. Keep me posted, and pm me if you would like.


    Anne
  9. by   EmerNurse
    Sure sounds like the facility is going overboard here. Where I've worked, the pharmacy "keeps an eye" on trends for users. If discrepencies keep popping up on the same person, they investigate. But one pill? Come on!

    That said - you've learned a valuable lesson, regardless of whether you're terminated from this job or not. If you MUST carry around something you need to waste, or a narc you need to give that you can't give this minute, put it somewhere that you canNOT forget it. Some folks tape the little vial of 2mg ativan (where they only gave 1mg and need to remember to waste it) right on their shirt, with tape. Me, I do'nt like having that as a decoration and prefer to tape it to my car keys in my pocket, or my pack of smokes. Something I KNOW I'm gonna see before I go home. If it's taped to my car key, you can bet I will not be driving home with it.

    We nurses have to get creative simply because we work SO hard and are SO busy that we can't always ideally waste something right at that moment because we can't find another nurse right then to waste with us. It happens often!

    I'm sorry you're going through this. While your facility might use this, for whatever reason, to get rid of you, I think you'll be ok in the end. Brush up your resume, and if you think they have ANY chance of reporting you to the board (which I doubt would go anywhere if you have no prior problems, but would be a pain in the arse) then consult an attorney.

    Good luck!
  10. by   GregRN
    For those demanding a drug test, you're missing the point; it really won't do any good. If the hospital wants to paint a picture that she's diverting drugs, they can do so without saying that she's taking the drugs. Not all diverters will divert for their own taking. Right or wrong, the hospital in this case could easily say, "We have a protocol we follow when accessing and administering narcotics. When it's not followed then we are mandated to make inquiries. In doing so, we found a narcotic medication to be missing. It was only after confronted that this employee fessed up and found the medication on her person at home. This is in violation of hospital policy and having a narcotic at home that is not prescribed is against the law. For these reasons we have no other recourse but to suspend/terminate/review, etc., this employee..." It's a harsh reality, but may be what they try to do.

    Let's face it, we've all made mistakes. A lot of them. Some more serious than others. Anyone of us at any time could be the target of an inquiry for whatever reason. And, if an inquiry is done, it's likely they'll find some mistakes because we are all human. Just don't make any of your mistakes serious enough or close enough together time-wise that gives them a reason to look. Something tells me that they are trying to get rid of this employee and are using this as their excuse. It's unfair.

    To the O.P., you don't have to answer this publicly, but is there any reason they might want to try and get rid of you? Be honest with yourself and evaluate things from the hospital's perspective, only for the purpose of trying to stay ahead of them. If so, and you have union representation, get them involved ASAP as well as an attorney. This could get worse before it gets better.
  11. by   RN4emrgnc
    I am sure that most any nurse can relate to something similar happening to them because this exact scenario is all too common, or at least some variation of the same basic thing. I personally have never carted anything home, but I could have on many occassions if it weren't for mere coincidence that I raked my fingers across "it" at some point in my shift (as I raced up and down the patient hallways like a short-order waitress working at SONIC drive-in). I think that it is important for you to see this for what it really is, and that is that this is not atypical disciplinary action and it appears quite obvious, in the little bit that you outlined, that this place was just looking for you to slip up so they could give you your walking papers. My suspicion is that they were probably disgrunted over your leave that you took and although they may not have said anything to indicate they were upset with you, I believe they were just waiting for you to screw up so they could hang their hat on something to get rid of you. This is an all too common strategy that employers use to dismiss employees. They could not dismiss you while you were on leave and they were bound by Fair Labor Laws to honor your Dr.'s excuse without making you feel retaliated against in any way. Also, I don't know what state you are from, but many states, including Missouri where I live is an "at-will" state, which means that an employer or employee can sever ties with the other, without any prior notice, and without reason. It is a common misbelief that employers are required to follow a termination protocol of some sort, with the employee being given x amount of verbal and written warnings before they can be terminated, but that is completely false.........at least my Missouri law. It could be the case in other places, as I am not familiar with other state's laws. I would start searching for another job and chalk it up as a lesson learned.

    ~Lindsey


    [QUOTE]"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret"/QUOTE]
  12. by   Sheri257
    Quote from GregRN
    Let's face it, we've all made mistakes. A lot of them. Some more serious than others. Anyone of us at any time could be the target of an inquiry for whatever reason. And, if an inquiry is done, it's likely they'll find some mistakes because we are all human. Just don't make any of your mistakes serious enough or close enough together time-wise that gives them a reason to look. Something tells me that they are trying to get rid of this employee and are using this as their excuse. It's unfair.
    While I agree with a lot that's been said here, I think taking a "nerve pill" during the inquiry probably made the situation a lot worse. It sounds like she took this pill right in front of the manager.

    Maybe it's just me but, if you're under investigation for missing narcotics, the last thing I'd want to do is take medication while I was under observation by management. It could easily feed the misperception that you're some kind of pill popper.

    If they didn't have an excuse to get rid of you beforehand, seems like you might be giving them an excuse right there.

    :typing
  13. by   mandykal
    Most of us can empathize how the O.P. is feeling. The worst part is having to justify yourself knowning that you're innocent. I have 2 nursing jobs. 1 is part time, and the other is per diem. So, if anything should ever happen to 1, I don't have to worry about resume and all that paperwork. All I have to do is turn my per diem job into full time. Nursing practice on a daily base consist of covering your anatomy.....sad thought but true. What a job!

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