Patient Accusations...

  1. I am an ER nurse, and recently had a patient complain to my manager that I did not give her the medications that the ER Dr. ordered for her. Her complaint was "they didn't do anything for me, just gave me a prescription & sent me home." Now, I know for a fact that I gave her the meds, and I checked her nameband, so I know they were given to the right patient, but she insists she did not receive any medications while in the ER. The meds were pepcid, benadryl & prednisone, so it's not like any controlled substances are involved, so at least I can't be accused of diverting narcotics or anything, but it really bothers me that this patient would make this up! Has anyone ever had this happen to them before? Do I need to be worriend about losing my job (I've never had anyone complain about me before)? Any words of advice?
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   bill4745
    How long have you been employed there? The longer you have been there without any performance problems works in your favor. Do you get meds out of a Pyxis or some other typre of dispenser? There would be a record that you at least obtained the meds. Does the charting (doc and nurse)show a response to the meds (I assume she was treated for an allergic reaction)? That works in your favor if her symptoms improved.
  4. by   ERRNTraveler
    I'm a traveler, have only been at this facility for a few weeks. The meds did come out of pyxis, & I did chart when I gave them. They were all oral meds, given for a minor skin irritation, and were "discharge meds", which means the doctor ordered them to be given immediately prior to discharge, so no "follow-up assessment" was done...
  5. by   UM Review RN
    In my hospital, what with all the senile seniors running around, this happens to us so frequently it's annoying.

    We have the Pyxis sign-out and our signature as proof a med was dispensed and given.
  6. by   SassyRN2469
    Usually, when a patient complains "They didn't do anything for me"...it translates into, "I didn't get what I wanted", therefore the nurse/MD/Hospital ignored me and my needs....further translation usually means it was a drug seeker.....your documentation proves you provided care, don't sweat it!!! We get this type of situation a lot in the ER, seems to be universal.....and usually the patient is well known in the ER/Hospital as a frequent flyer. Sounds very negative on my part, but I have encountered this same situation many times.
  7. by   ERRNTraveler
    Thanks, Sassy- I normally wouldn't be so freaked out about this type of thing at my old ER job, because, like you said, drug seekers are a dime a dozen, but this is my first travel assignment, and I don't want to lose my job over it just because I'm new there.
  8. by   nancynurse2007
    I'd forget about it, you know you did the right thing ( the pyxis proves you got the meds). Chalk it up as experience and make sure you document what you give in the future. Travel nursing can be very challenging, you walk into a place "cold" to start with, staff can definately make you feel like their next meal ( mainly because they know you make more money). Good luck and keep up the good work. Dont sweat it.
  9. by   KellieNurse06
    I wouldn't worry......you didn't do anything wrong, right? Then don't worry!
    I agree, the patient probably didn't get what they wanted so you are the big bad nurse who didn't do anything...... alot of times it's just lack of education/intelligence on the patients part. If they do start investigating what happened (highly unlikely) then it's probably because they have to follow through with every complaint no matter how crazy it may be..... because it's bad pr if they don't....... good luck & stop worrying... you're going to be fine!
  10. by   ceecel.dee
    Quote from SassyRN2469
    Usually, when a patient complains "They didn't do anything for me"...it translates into, "I didn't get what I wanted"
    Oh, so true!
  11. by   mamason
    As previous posters said, I wouldn't worry about it. Sounds like the pt was being manipulative. Pixis will show you pulled the meds and you documented that they were given. I don't think anyone in their right mind would think you'd be keeping benedryl, pepcid, or prednisone for personal use.LOL!!! There are just those certain pts that you just can't please no matter how much you bend over backwards to do so. We all had an experience of some sort about a pt complaining about our care. And it really sucks when this happens. As long as you know you did the best you could by this pt, that's all that really matters in my opinion.
  12. by   Daytonite
    This is why we document. It's her verbal word against your documentation in a legal document. The Pyxis is also telling your side of the story as well. If the manager wants to side with the patient, then you are going to know why this particular hospital has a staffing problem and has to use traveling nurses. I think you are protected because you documented what you did. And although I know this is emotionally upsetting for you, try to forget about it.

    If you are really concerned about getting in trouble over this, contact your counselor with the travel company and report to them what has happened and ask for their advice. I can't imagine that they would even want a written incident report on this. I've been a manager. This is a customer complaint. Those are easily handled by someone just listening to the complaint with a sympathetic ear without taking sides. After doing an investigation and finding that the woman had indeed been given medication (as per the documentation in her chart), I wouldn't have done anything else with it. As a manager I certainly would have seen no reason to upset one of my staff by telling them about a silly complaint against them like this. Part of a manager's job is to deal with complaints and free up the nursing staff to do their work with patients. As I said above, the management in this facility may not be that good which is why they have staffing problems. You are probably going to see a lot of kinks in the system if you continue to work as a traveler. The more experience you have as a nurse, particularly if you've been in supervision and management, the more you see these things sticking out like sore thumbs.
    Last edit by Daytonite on May 9, '07
  13. by   chuck1234
    No...you are not going to lose your job simply you were getting a complaint from a patient... This happens not only to you, but to other nurses as well...
    Keep up your good work...
    And good luck...
    Last edit by chuck1234 on May 9, '07 : Reason: correction!
  14. by   carol72
    This is the first time a patient lied (knowingly or not) about the care you have given? Really? I want to work where you work! In my opinion and experience this is not a once in a lifetime occurrence.

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