Shocked At Nurses Actions Tonight

  1. I work part time at a local SNF / rehab faciliety. On PM and NOC shift it is staffed with 3 or 4 LPNs and one RN charge nurse (tonight it was me). One of our LPNs is a sweet young girl from a very small town near by. She is in a BSN program to become an RN as well. She was late to work and I assinged her to care for a new admit who is recovering from a serious MVA. She took report and went to meet her patient. She came back out of the room about 5 min later very upset. She demanded to know why I hadn't told her the patient was a muslim in report. I asked her why it mattered. She said that "those people are all trying to kill us!" and she couldn't understand why the patient was even admited or even given medical care in America! She flatly refused to provide care for this person. Nothing I said to her had any affect on her. She actually got angry at me for trying to explain why this person needs and deserves nurses care.
    I ended up sending her home without pay and doing to work myself. I am only part time at this place and while I supervise LPNs and CNAs I am not their boss with the power to hire and fire. I did write a letter to the DON explaining the stuation and recomending that the LPN be fired. I also intend to inform our state board of nursing of her actions. I had another LPN who heard the whole thing write down what she had heard and submit it to the DON as well.
    I consider her to have abandoned a patient that she had taken report and accepted responsibiliety for.
    I understand that she is from a small, all white town and know from previous conversations with her that she has never so much as had a conversation with an african america person or any other minority except the Amish (many in this area). She aslo claims to be a very devout christian and is very involved in her church but I think her attitude is not compatable with nursing.
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  2. 211 Comments

  3. by   augigi
    So if she gets fired... she'll go to the next place with the same attitude. Surely she and her patients would be better served if she were given mandated counselling regarding her religious bias?
  4. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I agree with you, and I think you did the right thing.
  5. by   jill48
    OMG what a terrible situation for everyone involved. I understand she is from a small town and may not have had much interaction with people of other races or religions, but that's no excuse because we learned in nursing school that we were going to be dealing with all kinds of people. Did the argument between the two of you get out of hand or something that would make you want her fired? I mean, could she get some kind of counseling at work? Or did the situation turn so bad that there is no hope? I wouldn't want to be in your shoes tonight. How sad.
  6. by   emsboss
    I do NOT agree she should be fired. Were there no alternatives, such as trading patients? Jehova's Witnesses will not(at least the ones I have worked with) hang blood or blood products. I have seen them trade patients. I have even seen nurses trade if the patient is a certain kind of convicted criminal!(child molester/sex offender) ALL of us have our limits...FIRE HER!!!!!!!!!!!:icon_roll Where is YOUR tolerance?!?!?!?!? Yes, we were taught in class we would encounter all types of people/classes/cultures, but, if we could not handle one for whatever reason, trade off and then seek the appropriate action so that next time it would not be such an issue...FIRE HER!?!?!?!?!? :angryfire I don't THINK so. Discipline her...OK...Maybe a short suspension...But FIRE HER...NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I do not think she should be fired for her opinions. I think she should be fired for abandoning her pt.
    She took report on the pt then refused to care for him.
  8. by   PMFB-RN
    Quote from jill48
    OMG what a terrible situation for everyone involved. I understand she is from a small town and may not have had much interaction with people of other races or religions, but that's no excuse because we learned in nursing school that we were going to be dealing with all kinds of people. Did the argument between the two of you get out of hand or something that would make you want her fired? I mean, could she get some kind of counseling at work? Or did the situation turn so bad that there is no hope? I wouldn't want to be in your shoes tonight. How sad.
    *** There was no argument between us. There was a discussion. I was perfectly calm. I was shocked and suprised, not angry. Even if I had been I do not raise my voice at work except in emergencys. I am not angry with her, just very disapointed and embarassed for nursing. She did get angry at me, another LPN who happend to be standing there and a CNA becuase in her words we "wanted to give aid and comfort to the enemy".
    Usually I would have had such a discussion in private and not involved the other two staff members except that she didn't ask to speak to me in private, just walked up to the nursing station demanding to know what I was thinking having a muslim in the faciliety.
  9. by   4nomark
    I believe you did what was not only professionally necessary but morally needed. I think that it was wrong for us as Americans to demonize and stereotype people from the middle east as bloodthirsty terrorist as a whole. I do believe we have radical elements in this country who seek to destroy the fabric of democracy and because of that we must be vigilante while at the same time fair. This young ladie's attitude reminded me of the way all japanese people were branded as untrustworthy and threats to the nation before thet were rounded up, stripped of their businesses and livelihood's and shipped off to America's concentration camps although we called it by another name. Later on some of these same japanese became the most decorated war veterans in this nation's armed services during WW 2. I could cite how Blacks were routinely denied access to any type of medical care no matter the severity of their conditions. The point I want to make is that we are obligated to treat everyone to the best of our ability and provide medical treatment to all unless that treatment is unethical in nature. This young
    lady decided to stereotype someone she knew nothing of and refuse him care because of her personal prejudice, yes I think she deserves to be fired because this person had serious injuries and she decided his life was not worth protecting. I'm also a christian and unfortunately some of us only practise part of GOD'S teachings and forget some other parts.
    Last edit by 4nomark on Nov 23, '06
  10. by   PMFB-RN
    I do NOT agree she should be fired. Were there no alternatives, such as trading patients?

    *** Yes, trading patients would have been an option, IF she had not been 1/2 hour late for work and if she had not insisted on making a scene at the nurses station. Had she been on time and asked me to a private discussion and expressed her desire not to care for this particular patient then yes, trading assingments would have been an option.

    Jehova's Witnesses will not(at least the ones I have worked with) hang blood or blood products. I have seen them trade patients. I have even seen nurses trade if the patient is a certain kind of convicted criminal!(child molester/sex offender)

    *** I suspect that those nurses do not feel the need to make a scene at the nurses station about their limits. They also likely do not accuse their supervisior, CNA and fellow LPN of wanting to "provide aid and comfort to the enemy". This accusation came about simply becuase we even considered providing care to this patient This LPN supervises two CNAs, one of them was the CNA that happend to be at the nurses station.

    ALL of us have our limits...FIRE HER!!!!!!!!!!!:icon_roll Where is YOUR tolerance?!?!?!?!? Yes, we were taught in class we would encounter all types of people/classes/cultures, but, if we could not handle one for whatever reason, trade off and then seek the appropriate action

    *** I think the key words in your above message are "appropriate action".

    so that next time it would not be such an issue...FIRE HER!?!?!?!?!? :angryfire I don't THINK so. Discipline her...OK...Maybe a short suspension...But FIRE HER...NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *** As I said it is not in my power to fire her. I can only make recomendations to the DON, but my recomendation was for her to be fired.
  11. by   PMFB-RN
    I do not think she should be fired for her opinions.

    *** Of course. SHe is free to hold any opinion she wishes. As far as I am concerned she is perfectly free to express those opinions to me, her supervisior when making her case for re-assingment, IF she had done so in a private. She did not indicate that she would like to speak to me alone.

    I think she should be fired for abandoning her pt.
    She took report on the pt then refused to care for him.

    *** I see two issues. The first is the point you make above. I agree 100%. The second is that this all took place at the nurses station in front of two other staff members and directly across the hall from patient rooms.
    My main regret was that I was unable to move the discussion to a private area. I did try but failed.
  12. by   RGN1
    I think this kind of blanket intolerance is wrong, period. When you become a nurse then you have a duty to care for your patients, end of story.

    In this case it seems ridiculous that a nurse branded someone so ill as unworthy of her care. She didn't know him from Adam but she tarred him with one brush based on the colour of his skin & his religion. That is just not acceptable in a civilised society & even less so among nurses.

    Whatever his race, colour or creed he needed her care & she abandoned him & I think the OP was, & is, correct in her actions & assessment of the situation. We have to leave our prejudices at the door of our workplace because that is what we chose to do when we became nurses.

    When it comes to Jehova's witnesses & also caring for patients undergoing terminations then that is a known religious objection & allocations can be organised in advance to accomodate this. However, what this nurse displayed was little more than plain ignorance. It was certainly far from Christian too, Jesus teaches acceptance & mercy not hatred & prejudice!
  13. by   csadam
    Quote from RGN1
    I think this kind of blanket intolerance is wrong, period. When you become a nurse then you have a duty to care for your patients, end of story.

    In this case it seems ridiculous that a nurse branded someone so ill as unworthy of her care. She didn't know him from Adam but she tarred him with one brush based on the colour of his skin & his religion. That is just not acceptable in a civilised society & even less so among nurses.

    Whatever his race, colour or creed he needed her care & she abandoned him & I think the OP was, & is, correct in her actions & assessment of the situation. We have to leave our prejudices at the door of our workplace because that is what we chose to do when we became nurses.

    When it comes to Jehova's witnesses & also caring for patients undergoing terminations then that is a known religious objection & allocations can be organised in advance to accomodate this. However, what this nurse displayed was little more than plain ignorance. It was certainly far from Christian too, Jesus teaches acceptance & mercy not hatred & prejudice!
    Absolutely right!!!
    BTW, I know a lot of middle eastern people, mostly from Iraq, but some other arabs as well, whom are CATHOLIC!!!
    I would never ever judge a person according to their natonality, skin color or relegion! That is just plain wrong!!!
    And would I ever adnadon a (ANY) patient, I would be fired that night!
    Unacceptable behavior and very sad for the pt...
  14. by   Antikigirl
    It hurts like heck...but you did EXACTLY the right thing! It is patient abandonment after acceptance of report! Heck...she obviously had no probelm accepting the pt before this news...so sorry...you have to adapt and continue on in nursing!

    Case in point! I was a new nurse in an ER...and a man came in with a throat laceration. I didn't know how he got it...until another nurse treating a 1 year old came in and told me what my patient had done to her! Apparently my patient raped her...and the father found out and cut his throat!

    Yeah...I honestly was so mortified...so ashamed I would help this person to live it wasn't funny...but did I help? YES. Was I morally against it...yeah, to a point (kinda hard to not help someone with a nasty throat laceration!..but yeah...I was very angry at him!). I held his friggen trache in place till he was sent to the OR! WHY? Because I can NOT judge..but do the best I can for everyone no matter my own feelings!

    DO I regret it ....not really...but part of me is still angry that I helped a horrid person live to do this again! (I have no trust in the justice system).

    Will I do it again..yep!

    I had to live with this...will have to forever! He lived...and if I hear that he ever did this to another...I feel my hands helped in whatever he does next though!

    And if I can do that....someone can sure as heck deal with other things like religious beliefs!

    What you did was right! Too bad she doesn't know it can be far WORSE!

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