[FONT=Century Schoolbook]Not a Leg to Stand On "Bedbathgate"
"You haven't a leg to stand on, " I was told by my manager late in September 2005 when a patient's relative put in a complaint about me. "The patient was terminally ill. No-one will listen to your side of things. "
Fortunately I had only been accused of not giving a bed-bath ( among a few other petty matters) and not murdering anyone, otherwise I would probably be behind bars by now! As was Amanda Jenkinson, wrongly accused on flimsy evidence and tittle tattle, of interfering with a patient's oxygen supply and causing the patient's death !
This is indeed a frightening stance for the nursing profession to take and thankfully I am now retired, as I would no longer be happy to practise my profession as district nurse knowing that my employers would be happy to allow any member of the public accuse me of anything they so wished .
For the past eighteen months I have fought a lonely battle. Despite having the support of my union, the Royal College, my case has never been resolved and I am now left to get to the bottom of the matter myself.
The complaint was, even though admittedly written by a bereaved relative, vicious and untrue. It attacked me at a personal level for basically not waving a magic wand over the situation at the complainant's home when I, and a nursing auxiliary colleague answered the family's request for a visit. Here is not the place to plough through that debacle. I gave a detailed response to my managers and was immediately censured by them for "writing too much." As a result they decided that I needed to come off night duty and onto days for "support and mentorship." My Union Representative advised me to do so on the grounds that it was management's "Duty of Care ", therefore I agreed to to transfer but only on the grounds that I did not agree with the complaint and that I would not return to nights as I had been undermined. In the event I went off with "stress" as my health had been compromised by the upset by a recurrence of supra-ventricular tachycardia, which had been stabilised for the past fifteen years.
When I returned to work to do the three months mentorship I found I was left to my own devises visiting patients. As the letter had said that I was not fit to be let loose on the public and did not know how to perform any basic nursing tasks, and I was supposedly going to be shown what to do after forty years in the nursing profession, I asked matron what was going on. She said there was nothing wrong with my practise, which I already knew of course, so I went on to ask why I was on days being mentored. She replied that it was because of the complaint, where-upon I said , again, that I refused to be mentored on the basis of the complaint as it was a lot of nonsense, and the family had only decided to blame me for their mother going into hospital as none of them wished to be held responsible for this themselves (as they had promised the patient that she could die at home.) Matron said that the family could not be cross examined as all sympathy would be with them, and I had not got a leg to stand on !
Ultimately I left the profession, though thankfully I was already at retirement age so my career has not been destroyed as it otherwise probably would have been. Nevertheless I am still seeking answers from the Trust as to why I was treated in this way, as no other members of the out-of-hours nursing team has ever been sent onto days for mentorship following a complaint or clinical incident.
I can only conclude that I was not penitent enough, and that by standing up for my professional reputation with some vigour, I was deemed to have got above my station. There may have been other influences at work which I am not at liberty to disclose. Or it is possible that these managers know absolutely nothing about my job and have a stereotyped image of a district nurse's role, imagining that all we do is to give a patient a bed bath as soon as we walk through the door and that solves everything ! If they believed the lies which were told about me, then it was without taking into account my reputation,my record, my word and the written letter of support from my former line manager who worked with me on the service for six years.
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Apr 16, '07
WOW! All that for a really insignificant complaint? Sounds to me like there should be more to the story. Do you have a history with this manager? Were they trying to get you to retire, to hire a younger nurse for less money? I mean, really, a patient didn't get a bed bath? Yeesh, half the nurses at the hospitals would be in trouble. Hmmm, lets see, run that code, hang the blood, take the doctor's order, pass my meds or go give the bath.
Apr 16, '07
I'm sorry you are having to deal with all that. Grieving families shouldn't be placed above competent, experienced nurses. I would be sad to see some of our 20+ year nurses get the boot for minor infractions, we all make mistakes, get busy with a code, etc. Where was the family when this pt needed a bath? Also, where are the NM that will do their job and stand up for their nurses?
Last edit by crissrn27 on Oct 12, '07
Apr 16, '07
Many thanks for your comments. The whole matter is a charade, that is why I am going public as well as taking the Trust to Tribunal after 18 months of bEing shunted up blind alleys by my Union. The whole matter is because I stood up for myself, my record and references were ignored--this family I think were deemed "important"---none of it made sense, but to say no-one will listen to the nurses side when terminal care is involved is scary. If I had bed-bathed the patient, having awakened her when she was asleep, got her agitated, given her an injection and she had died, doubtless I would now be on a murder charge" Its scary. Thank goodness I am retired!The family sat in a circle in a hostile way, very difficult to talk to --like the film set from An American werewold in London--the slaughtered lamb scene!!!!!
The complaint was never resolved, I was sent onto days and left unsupervised! despite my ahem ! lack of nursing skills after 40 years, i was told thee was no problem with my practise. Which I knew of course!
The tribunal is about why I was treated differently to other staff on nights--this has never happened to anyone else despite some serious incidents!
Apr 16, '07
i am glad that you got retirement...stressful families can come up with some strange ideas but this should be taken under considertion when the ptb look over a complaint
clear your name if you can your knowledge of your nursing skills are the most important thing
Apr 16, '07
You were the sacrifice this company made to insure no bad publicity for them. Clear this situation up and then enjoy your retirement. I am sure there are many former patients out there who appreciate all of the time and skills you used to help them.
Oct 12, '07
Defamation of Character or Legimate complant.
Okay, Peoples complaints have to be lsitened to but as far as I am concerned--the accused--it was verbal abuse and deefamation of character.
When does a letter of complaint become defamation of character and personal abuse. ?
Abuse of staff --physical and verbal--is not supposed to be tolerated. My character was defamed in a letter of complaint about me and my colleague who visisted a family overnight as explained.
I later found out my colleague had retracted her original statement, apologised and said she had learnt (??) thus not geting penalised as I was ( by among other things a young manager saying I should be "nipped in the bud" among other things ( when I was on the point of r retirement!!!!!)
I consider this letter to be defamation of character but was told I "HAD NOT A LEG TO STAND ON" and that all these non nursing managers were "utterly shocked" because I had said the woman complaining was being malicious( for reasons I understood but malaicious and defamatory nontheless).
The complainant gushed over just about all other professionals saying they were all "overworked and wonderful" persumably implying we were not! ( we worked 10 hours shifts driving round the area, often 100 miles without a break)
She said we made a "desperate situation worse". Indeed we did no such thing, and her reasons afterwards were merely personal critisism because we did noit wave a magic wand. In fact my feeling is she wanted a doctor to shunt her mother off to hospital thus taking responsibility out of her hands--and her family-s--they did not want nursing solutions. There was actually nothing"desperate" happeneing!!!!!!!!And if there was, she did not say so despite repeated attemps at conversation by me and my colleague.
She critisized everything we said, her only real legitimate complaint was that my colleague did not sit down--no seat was available or offered--and we did not take our coats off.
The defmation, however, is in these words.
THESE TWO NURSES SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED INTO THE HOME OF A DYING PATIENT WITH THE ATTITUDE AND I STRONGLY SUGGEST THEY NEED SOME RELEVANT TRAINING IN BASIC NURSING CARE SKILLS NOT TO MENTION A CRASH COURSE IN COMMUNICATION AND COMPASSION FOR THE SUFFERING.........HOW DIFFERENT DROM THE OVERWORKED GP DR .................WHO CALLED MANY TIMES ON HIS WAY HOME JUST TO OFFER SUPPORT DURING THE LAST FEW MONTHS OF MOTHERS LIFE( I have my own ideas on this last sentence knowing this particular GP!) ALL THE OTHER PROFESSIONALS WERE SIMILARLY DESCRIBED AS ABSOLUTELY MARVELLOUS AND SO ON.--THOUGH THE GROUND WORK HADNT OBVIOULSY BEEN DONE OR WE SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD THE ENSUING DRAMATICS.
finally she ends by saying we were TIRED AND INCOMPETENT.
I was also told that she had said we both looked UNKEMPT AND UNTIDY.--all this critisism however, was withdrawn from my repentent colleague and I was left as the sole offender.!! ??
As I have said it was a ten hour shift and a windy morning, our iniforms are not very impressive and we no longer wear hats so our hair does get blown around.
I have many many letters of thanks and press cuttings from the care I have given in the past ,I was on the point of retirement,I taught on the palliative care course, and not one manager would listen to me about the strange behviour of this family and thier lack of reposnse--even though they and a trained nurse relative in the house.
Although I appreciate that complaints have to be investigated, management just wanted me to agree and repent to make life easy and to go on their silly support plan--though I agreed to the latter, as I no longer wanted to work on nights with a bullying, unsupportive manager, no plan was ever put in place and I continued on days ON MY OWN ( we only worked in pairs overnight for safely). I eventually left through "STRESS" after uncovering all the documentation myself, the RCN not really being any help.
I still maintain this was DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER and should have not have been taken at face value just because it involved a terminal care scenario.
I do not and never have given any less than my very best to all my patients and take this opportunity to refute the allegations about me, even though I never got any sense from management who just continued to hold menaingless meatings with me and refuse to examine the issues fairly or with an open mind--presumably from fear of the local rag getting wind of it (they already know anyway ).
I lknow I am not the only person who has been treated badly by management, as I am a member of Julie Fagan's CAUSE campaign and the disgraceful goings -on in the NHS towards innocent is horrendous. MY FEAR IS THAT IF I HAD BEEN ACCUSED OF HASTENING THE DEATH OF THIS LADY, BY, FOR INSTANCE, GIVING SOME MEDICATION ( thankfully she did not need anything or die on my presence) I WOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD BY MY MANAGERS " I HAD NOT A LEG TO STAND ON. "
Last edit by Silverdragon102 on Oct 12, '07
: Reason: TOS
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