Unsafe working conditions - (Graphic) - page 6
Hi all-- I was in the chat room last nite and talked to a few people and got some pretty good advice but was trying to still process what would be the best thing for me to do. I am a new grad since... Read More
Mar 11, '02An update.....
My manager FINALLY called me back. She said she had been working on payroll all day and that's why it took her so long. She asked me how I got to this point. I told her my side of the story and how it's been building up. She lended some support, but in the end made me feel like I was INCOMPETENT in some way. She reminded me that she warned me before promoting me to team leader that she didn't want me to "CRASH AND BURN". And that maybe if I stayed in an associate nurse position for a while longer (I was in it for six mos) that maybe it wouldn't have been as bad. But, I disagreed since in the associate role I was passing meds, and not doing any assessments, calling docs, following orders, etc. Then I told her about the lack of support, some of the comments made to me such as "I can't handle this".....and she told me I needed to speak up. It was like in essence she was saying that I need to be more aggressive. She shared with me some of her experiences, making it sound like it was no big deal what I went through...like it happens as a nurse. She asked me what I wanted her to do at this point. I told her I couldn't work on evenings anymore. Then---SHE OFFERED me a part time day position. Which she knows I can't do because I have two young children home all day. I told her I'd talk to my husband, but if I decide to resign, if my reference would be a problem. She said no. Should I believe her? She'd probably be GLAD to see me go so I could stop causing problems for her. I feel down now. Like, if I was more competent I could have handled it better. I'm supposed to let her know in a few days "what my decision is". I already know I won't be going back. I feel a little better that it's on better terms. But I can't even imagine going on interviews or orienting at a whole new place for six weeks, because that means finding child care, working around my husband's schedule....I am so worn out and drained from this whole experience I'm wondering why I went into nursing.
Thanks all for your wonderful support though.....
Mar 11, '02The fact that they don't care about what has happened, or about your health is THEIR problem- and on a whole lot of different levels. This is not a reflection on you, or your ability. Just ppput in the notice and call in sick with the note. And then forget about them and their feelings, and I guarantee that the changes they are making are the CYA type. Don't worry about it.
As far as putting them on your resume, you can, I would. They will either give you a decent recommendation, or you will get to discuss what you as a nurse need (rightfully) from your employer. Your actions so far underline your maturity and competence in a tough situation.
The biggest trouble I see now is your healing from the shift you worked, and from the way you were treated afterwards. Their not calling you back keeps you from having closure on the whole mess. And THEY have caused that problem, not you. So if you can manage to find a way to put it behind you... why not take yourself and your resignation letter, and sick note down to HR and turn in your badge as a turning point for YOU? Then walk out with your head high. You'll probably feel a ton lighter and happier.
If I had been the sup on that day I would have drawn and quartered that preceptor and reported the whole mess to her manager, apologized to you, and pointed out how well you had managed in an awful situation. I would have put you back on the horse, but with a much lighter (just that mum if possible) assignment, and gone through the post fetal demise process step by step so you could finish the shift having helped that mum in some way.
Just so you know that not all hospitals would accept that kind of behavior. And actually it sounds like you were doing an exceptional job (being asked to do charge?!) for them. They dropped the ball.
Mar 11, '02Excellent.......Excellents Posts!!!!
I totally agree 100% with everything that has been posted! Wow...you guys are awesome !!!
The only thing I would change is..."I" would get a written reference from my nurse manage first! If she stalls you on this....don't waste another min...trying to get it. Follow Caneohead's advice to the letter!
Mar 11, '02More hugs to you Amy! I'm sorry you did not get much resolution from your manager but you tried, and now you know where you stand and can move on with a clear conscience. She is not a manager I would want to work for either.
Brownie, Canoe, and Mary have given excellent advice! You need to begin the healing process now. Do you have to go back to work right away? Is a part time position somewhere an option? Maybe a part time office job or?? "Try to keep the pressure off for awhile" is all I could add!
If it would help, I'm sure we could give you stories from our careers that have left us feeling chewed up and spit out--I bet we've all been there. I was fortunate I had some experience under my belt when it first happened to me,(I know this is extremely difficult for you as a new grad.)
Here's one for you: I took a job as RN charge nights in a rehab facility. Just off day shift orientation I was warned by the day shift RN of the problems on nights and to 'watch my behind'. That was an understatement.
I worked with a crazy LPN that threw fits and tore up the place (the day RN said she was an agent orange nurse), and a group of aides with mouths and attitudes I couldn't believe. They restrained most of the patients, made rounds every 3-4 hours or so, neglected the patients, and spent the rest of the night eating, socializing amongst themselves, and watching movies. If I asked them a question or (heaven forbid) to do ANYTHING they made snide comments. I called my DON who said she couldn't fire them. The LPN was set in her ways and didn't interact except to blow up and scream at me occasionally if I bothered her.
I decided to take charge since I had no support. When I posted written expectations of care (per policy) particularly for restrained patients, they mocked me outright. I had a second conference with my DON to no avail. Next night a restrained patient was found at the bedside seated in full arrest. She had no living will. I started CPR and called for help. The LPN and aides refused to assist, argued with me and told me to "let her go". The LPN threw a rollodex at me and accused me of getting them all in trouble here! I called EMS to transport this poor lady to the hospital where they pronounced her. The ER doc advised me "I'd better get my butt out of that place fast, because they were under a full investigation." I didn't need any more convincing!! I finished my shift, left a resignation letter and got out pronto, no notice given. The DON called me crying, begged me to stay and help her make it better, but I told her I simply could not work under these conditions. Enuff said!! I didn't put it on my resume since I was there less than 2 weeks. No repercussions. Scarey but places like this (and like yours) do exist out there!!
Mar 12, '02i think by law the employer is only permitted to give your dates of employment. i dont think they can disclose anything else.
if you go to your doc in regards to stress and taking two weeks off for trauma, that will be on your medical record and can follow you where ever you go.
say you get hurt at work and collect workers comp...they will certainly try to use this information to make you look like a sissy...discredit you if they can.
if that were me, i would not consult my doc. i would not be sick for two weeks. if i felt i had to leave i would do so without notice. if you feel that you are being put in a position where you are expected to give unsafe care, thats a lot easier to explain to a future employer than the traumatic stress syndrome.
it shows good judgement and integrity. The traumatic stress syndrome, in my opinion, looks like you are too emotional.
Best of luck
Mar 12, '02Thanks thisnurse for the reply.
That's exactly what I was thinking. Then THAT (the doc's note) could probably be used against me, huh? That's what I was afraid of. I may just follow up with my own doc for my own good and leave without a notice. Send a resignation letter, that's to the point and maybe request an exit interview. Then, if other employers have a question with it, I can be honest with them? Do I just tell them it was very unsafe where I worked? I don't want it to look like I'm hospital bashing. Anyways, I'm seriously considering leaving the hospital arena and going for something a little less stressful......any ideas?
Mar 12, '02It is frightening isn't it? Sadly, orientation isn't always what it is cracked up to be however, as many have mentioned, orientation to situations in nursing such as the one you have described, are not only common, they are the norm....As one astute respondant already mentioned, the only predictable thing about nursing in any area, is the unpredictability...Try to keep in mind that however you handle things, put the feelings of the patient first. Sometimes the most difficult thing you have to do is separate yourself from the moment and just do it. So much learning and experience in nursing could never be taught in school.
Just as in life, things get thrown at us without warning, and we have to figure out ways to deal with it...That in no way diminishes your tragic experience, or that of your patient, but should anything even remotely similar happen to you, a friend, or family member, you will be that much more aware of what can happen and how to handle it. I think it takes a great while to figure out that most of our reactions as nurses are reactions to our own feelings. It doesn't happen overnight. You, of course, cannot completely divorce yourself from what is going on..Eventually you will learn that it is ok to grieve along with your patients. Sometimes it is the strongest and most brave thing you can do..
I am an OB nurse, and not long after I came up to the unit, we had a psych pt come in with a fetal demise. Her boyfriend had just hung himself and she was in the midst of a psychotic episode. She wouldn' t believe her baby was dead and I, being relatively new to the unit, had no idea what to do or say so I just decided to do the best I could, and imagine myself in her situation.
Finally, we had to bring her to the delivery room and a macerated fetus was delivered. The skull fell apart as the body came out....Several of the nurses were in tears. Strangely, I was not.....I thought about the situation but never cried.
A year or so later, I had the sad misfortune to be on during a month when at least 3 fetal demises both known and just happened (due to abruption), presented on my night shift. For the first two I remembered how sad my first pt had been, and how I imagined I might feel had the same thing happened to me. I was able to deal with it , hold the baby, and do all the things you have to do when that happens. By the third occasion, I thought I had it down, until one older, more experienced nurse came up to me and told me to give the baby to her. "I am ok" I insisted, and refused. She again told me to give her the baby. She said it in a tenderly and motherly way...I persisted. I was sure I could handle it....No big deal. I was used to it, right??? The older nurse put her hand gently on my shoulder and drew me close in a hug. I resisted but she held on. Finally, I dissolved in tears, not only for that baby and family, but for those before and that very first pt I spoke of. You are stronger than you think and, although you certainly have every right and expectation to a decent orientation, these types of unexpected,scary and unfair situations will present themselves often, unexpectedly, throughout your career. Be prepared for the unexpected. Be strong. You can do it....Understaffing is not going to change. It isn't right. It just is. In the meantime, in the deeper parts of nursing which are the patients, you will learn through time and experience how to advocate for your patients and yourself when you are not being treated professionally either by staff or doctors. Remember, they are human too, and everyone approaches a situation from the place inside......Be astute and try to be empathetic. Nursing may not be for you but, even not knowing you, I tend to doubt it, because you have demonstrated great strength and compassion that even you are not yet aware of.. Take a deep breath and get back in there. We all did, and it does get better....Honest....Thanks for sharing....
Mar 12, '02By the way, post traumatic stress is a viable thing. You have mental health rights and anyone who tries to use a leave or rest against you for those reasons is in violation. Check the EAP policy of your institution. If it is a policy, they have to honor it...
Mar 12, '02I always thought EAP conversations were confidential. Have I been misinformed? If Amy's manager 'uses' info from EAP or even has access to it I wonder if that is a violation of confidentiality issue.... anyone know for sure?
Mar 12, '02Amy, I actually did not read all of the posts after what thisnurse posted, but please realize what was said in that post is entirely incorrect. It is not any future employer's business whether you go to a doc for therapy, go to a therapist etc... the only way that it would come up is if you have a to do an employee health questionarie for preemployment. Then that information goes into your employee health file where it is not accessible to anyone but those who absolutely need to know. As the patient you are entitled to patient confidentiality just like any patient that you take care of. It is highly illegal and could get any number of people in trouble for anything that is related to your health to be discussed around the water cooler per se. Nor are you under any type of obligation to discuss treatment you may receive with any future employers. The only thing that you should disclose if you have a preemployment physical and screening that are required is any meds that you may be on.
I do three things where I work. I am the wound nurse, the infection control nurse and employee health nurse. As the employee health nurse I work closely with HR and occ. med. so trust me when I say you do not have to tell anyone a thing unless it is a direct question for preemployment purposes, it is not a reason you can be denied employment and whatever information you do give may not be shared with anyone else.
Last but not least, please do not leave out risk management when you notify others of this incident. I told you that before but feel I need to reinterate that. Understand that sometimes the only way that you can change a major problem is through risk management. If they realize they have a problem that can result in someone bringing a lawsuit or even increasing length of stay because of care issues, it has been my experience that issues are worked out a lot faster once they get involved.
If any posts in front of this already say what I have, I am sorry, I was felt I needed to let you know this right away because I saw that you are concerned that what thisnurse said is right, and I can assure you it is not. Most important thing at this very moment is for you to do what you need to do for yourself. Don't let anyone scare you off of that.
Mar 12, '02Went back and did some reading, sorry. EAP is fully confidental. If that information has been shared without your consent you have grounds for a lawsuit. You have full patient confidentialty like any other patient. If you prefer to f/u with your own doc that should be a choice you make not one you feel forced into. You do realize that in many ways you could hang these people by the balls if you want to don't you? It takes guts and courage to do it, but you have grounds. I would guess that there were several policies and/or procedures that were broke. They are likely doing a bit of CYA right now, and they are doing it not because they are concerned about what happened, but so no one ends up in a problem over it. Not concerned about you, but about themselves and if it hadn't been wrong, they wouldn't be having to do the CYA thing.
In the end though if all you do is take care of yourself, you will have done more than half the nurses out there manage to do in a poor situation as it is.
Mar 13, '02" I was felt I needed to let you know this right away because I saw that you are oncerned that what thisnurse said is right, and I can assure you it is not."
mcountry...do you truly believe that this whole incident cant POSSIBLY come back to haunt her?
if amy goes to her own doctor and gets an excuse and treated for post traumatic stress syndrome, that will be in her MEDICAL records. im not talking about the EAP.
and i never said that post truamatic stress syndrome is not viable. absolutely it is.
what i am saying is that she has a better chance of this incident following her around by going to her own medical doctor.
say she applies for a new job and signs consent for them to access her medical records? that is going to be in there.
say she gets hurt at work and is collecting workmans comp. she will have to have an independent evaluation and she will have to sign consent to access her medical records. this whole incident will be in there.
valid or not, fair or not, this is going to be something that CAN be used against her. and someone with the motive to discredit her certainly will try.
this has nothing to do with confidentiality because she would have to sign a release for her medical records. there is no breech of confidentiality.
you can say "although i tried to reach a comprimise with management, i was unable to do so as my phone calls were not returned. i felt that the safety of my patients was being comprimised and i was unable to continue working at that facility under those circumstances."
and there is nothing said there that isnt true.
to me thats much better than years down the road having to explain her treatment of post traumatic stress syndrome.
in a fair and good world, this is a valid diagnosis. but unfortunately we live in a world where mental illness is still looked at with a raised brow.
"You do realize that in many ways you could hang these people by the balls if you want to don't you?"
I'm not trying to debate this with you but I am trying to understand what you are saying.
That hospital had every right to put that patient on the med/surg floor. since her baby was dead she was more a medical patient than ob.
NO ITS NOT RIGHT...ITS A TERRIBLE THING TO DO TO A MED/SURG NURSE, LET ALONE A NEW GRAD, AND SHOWS A TERRIBLE LACK OF CONCERN IN REGARDS TO THE PROPER CARE OF THE MOTHER...BUT THE HOSPITAL WILL TAKE THE STAND THAT IT WAS NOT UNSAFE.
they will also say that amy should have been able to care for the mom and they will also say that if amy wasnt able to care for the mom she should not have accepted the assignment. they will turn this all back on her. its what the hospitals do. they hang us out to dry.
so while amy can file a lawsuit, what are the chances of her winning?
being able to file suit is little consolation when the crap hits the fan.
amy...if you feel like you need treatment for what happened to you by your own doc, then by all means seek it. if you are going to your own doc just to have documentation and a medical excuse, i still say its not worth it.
forget the notice.
Mar 14, '02Well,
Guess it's too late for that guys....I did see my MD yesterday. Had no choice, I felt like I was going to have a breakdown. I even smashed into my husband's car as I was pulling out of my driveway....nice, huh? She definitely was concerned. She gave me a note, but don't know if I will use it or not. I'm debating and trying to think straight at the same time. She gave me some meds to help with the stress and anxiety. I am not going to sit here and worry about if this is going to "FOLLOW" me or not anymore. I have to do what's best for me. If it does, it does I guess. I had no choice but to turn to someone for help. She even asked me if I wanted to be admitted. So that's the point I'm at right now.