My don accused me of patient abandonment during a snowstorm - page 6

Today, I was accused of patient abandonment for leaving work during a snowstorm. Please enlighten me! I was working 7-3 last Tuesday, there was a snowstorm coming. I had asked my DON if I can do... Read More

  1. by   johsonmichelle
    Patient abandonment is only valid when the nurse accepts the assignment and the assignment is not appropriately handed over to another nurse. Receiving and accepting report is the common way of assuming responsibility of the patients. Your case is simple because another nurse assumed care of the patients and should have documentation regarding the care. Like others said, no further communication should not be done unless you have a lawyer. Her threats may be empty but it's better to be safe then sorry. Threats to the BON against nurses by the DON seems to common in SNF'S. How long have you been working at this job? If it's not been long, just keep them off your resume and start looking for another job.
  2. by   Knotanoonurse
    If there was not adequate staff, why did she abandon ship and go home?
  3. by   FNP1981
    I've primarily been in ER, but I think there may be a part of this story you are leaving out. Why did you even ask to work a double and have the next day off to begin with? Just curious. My guess, and in my experience is that when a snowstorm is expected, or any disaster or staffing emergency, employees that are already working can be MANDATED to work 16 hours by agency regulations. Most facilities have this regulation in place for this exact reason. Otherwise, everyone will go home when snow is coming so they aren't stuck at work. Then no one shows the next day = no nurses. HUGE problem. So did they tell you that you were going to need to possibly stay a 16 hour shift and that you would definitely be needed the next day as well?

    It also makes no sense that according to you all the other staff had to stay over and work a double and you were allowed to go home. Did you refuse to stay over for the mandated OT unless you were given the next day off? Whether you gave report to an oncoming nurse or not is irrelevant. If you were mandated to stay and you left that is technically job abandonment. It does not matter if you were scheduled 7-3. The BON will not see it that way either. I'm just letting you know that if a code yellow (or whatever color or emergency protocol your facility has in place for snowstorms or disasters) was called, that means all staff HAS to stay. If you leave it IS abandonment. I would find out what policy is before spending a lot of money on an attorney.
  4. by   Thrpy
    Write down all details as you see it. That way if this comes up later you can remember. If the DON talked about you to others, see if you can get signed statements from others documenting this. I doubt you will be reported to the BON. Sounds like just a threat. We're you officially terminated or officially resigned? If terminated, you likely have to report this upon renewal of your license. In that case, just make sure you indicate to the BON you were fired (if you actually were fired and your a State requires you to report this). If you renew your license, and if they ask if you've been fired and you don't answer honestly that is fraud and will definitely get you in trouble. Nurses are fired all the time. Honesty is best policy. You will be fine. Btw your corporate likely has an HR department I would think.
  5. by   JKL33
    Quote from FNP1981
    I've primarily been in ER, but I think there may be a part of this story you are leaving out. Why did you even ask to work a double and have the next day off to begin with? Just curious. My guess, and in my experience is that when a snowstorm is expected, or any disaster or staffing emergency, employees that are already working can be MANDATED to work 16 hours by agency regulations. Most facilities have this regulation in place for this exact reason. Otherwise, everyone will go home when snow is coming so they aren't stuck at work. Then no one shows the next day = no nurses. HUGE problem. So did they tell you that you were going to need to possibly stay a 16 hour shift and that you would definitely be needed the next day as well?

    It also makes no sense that according to you all the other staff had to stay over and work a double and you were allowed to go home. Did you refuse to stay over for the mandated OT unless you were given the next day off? Whether you gave report to an oncoming nurse or not is irrelevant. If you were mandated to stay and you left that is technically job abandonment. It does not matter if you were scheduled 7-3. The BON will not see it that way either. I'm just letting you know that if a code yellow (or whatever color or emergency protocol your facility has in place for snowstorms or disasters) was called, that means all staff HAS to stay. If you leave it IS abandonment. I would find out what policy is before spending a lot of money on an attorney.
    That's a good point. Although if an emergency protocol is in effect, it can't be a secret. It's not that difficult to tell people that's what's going on when fielding phone calls about staffing needs. When someone calls to clarify what they are to do, it's not too hard to say, "No one can leave right now." It doesn't sound like that was said, and it does sound like there was misundertanding because of that.

    I had your same understanding of it a couple of pages back and wondered if the OP simply didn't stay because she couldn't have the next day off. Her understanding is that there was a clarifiying phone call made by her senior nurse and with the answer given they both were of the understanding the OP wasn't needed at that time. So she left. (Unless the senior nurse totally set her up to get fired and didn't tell her the actual context of the phone call/DON's answer).

    As far as patient abandonment and job abandonment, in this case it is either both or neither, depending on whether an emergency protocol had been announced/OP was informed of being mandated.
  6. by   RockiesRN3
    I would contact an attorney ASAP. This almost sounds like wrongful termination. I have a DON that wrote me up and threatened to terminate me because I was absent too much because she wouldn't accommodate my MDs requested days I needed to work. I complained to HR and she put me on the schedule on my days off to make it look as if I no called no showed. I had a copy of the schedule and showed her I was not on. I call and letter to the hospital from my attorney stopped that nonsense...at least for now. If you have a copy of your schedule that would help. The nursing home has to have some type of HR and I may not be st your facility but maybe at the corporate level. I'm not sure if you had your notice in they can fire you. At least in Texas they cannot. Trust me when I say get an attorney now. Good luck
    Last edit by RockiesRN3 on Mar 31 : Reason: Adding more information
  7. by   Have Nurse
    Quote from Wuzzie
    Get a lawyer. That will put a stop to this nonsense.
    I agree. It's also defamation of character here, implying that you are irresponsible when you are not. You have a license and a reputation to protect.
  8. by   Have Nurse
    Quote from NurseScorpio88
    At that time I was supposed to go to another floor because there was a call out. I approached her twice I said if I will do a double can I take the next day off. She said No twice and walk out. She kept insisting that I knew about it that I'm covering the other floor and that I left but then again I'm done with my shift I gave my status report, all my patients were stable. And everybody stayed expect me, I didn't stay because why would I if I'm not allowed to do a double and have a day off.

    I don't know about the unemployment. On my resignation I stated the reason why I'm leaving the Facility. Is that a bad thing? Or probably was that the reason why they fired me instead of waiting for my last 2 weeks to be done?

    And we dont have union.
    I don't know what you stated on your reason for resignation. You need to be truthful, but discreet. You can simply state it wasn't an appropriate fit for you.
  9. by   SobreRN
    I live in the mountains and we get plenty of snow. Frequently the roads have not been plowed when I head out, I did not spend a lot on my car; it is a 13 year-old AWD Subaru and I never miss work due to weather.
    No matter how you do it if you live where it snows you need to find a way to get to work.
  10. by   dimpledRN
    You reported off to another nurse. That's not abandonment. Now if there was no one to relieve you and you just left that would be a different story. Your DON sounds cray cray. I'm sorry this is happening. Reminds me of my SNF days. They couldn't keep anything straight and they were constantly flipping the script when they knew they'd screwed up. Sending you all the good vibes that this all pans out (which I have a feeling it will)
  11. by   NurseScorpio88
    Quote from SobreRN
    I live in the mountains and we get plenty of snow. Frequently the roads have not been plowed when I head out, I did not spend a lot on my car; it is a 13 year-old AWD Subaru and I never miss work due to weather.
    No matter how you do it if you live where it snows you need to find a way to get to work.
    I was able to come to work that day. Handed off a report to the reliever and left.
  12. by   NurseScorpio88
    Quote from dimpledRN
    You reported off to another nurse. That's not abandonment. Now if there was no one to relieve you and you just left that would be a different story. Your DON sounds cray cray. I'm sorry this is happening. Reminds me of my SNF days. They couldn't keep anything straight and they were constantly flipping the script when they knew they'd screwed up. Sending you all the good vibes that this all pans out (which I have a feeling it will)
    This is a New DON in charge. I remember from the previous DON who were there for 23 years but left, if there's a snow storm or any normal days she would asked us to do a double then give us a day off the next day or whenever we wanted it this is to compromise.

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