Wrongful Suspension

  1. Recently I transferred states and my nursing aide license. I have been working at a new facilty for 3 weeks. I showed up for work and was informed I had been suspended. I checked my voicemail and had two new voicemails. One stated, "I had complaints you were being not so nice to a resident". I was also informed not to come into work for the weekend because I had been suspended. Immediately after another voicemail stated to call back this evening, to come in on Monday, or they would see me at work on Tuesday. I recieved calls again later on saturday, and was asked if I wanted to come in on sunday. I accepted and got more details on my suspension sunday evening. I had been informed the incident in question occured in a bathroom with a resident, and another aide. The conversation was about the resident in the room. The other aide asked how they were doing. I stated "She gave me hell last night" I also stated immediately after "I still love you though,_insert name_". This was reported to the head CNA on the hall. Who felt it necessary to report to the head boss and not the charge nurses The decision was made to suspend me without even confronting me. The charge nurses had heard nothing of the incident until saturday when I arrived. My name was crossed off the schedule, so I checked my voicemail and find out about the suspension. I informed the charge nurses. This proved to be my saving grace. They called the head boss and defended me. Thus, I was called back later that night. I was also informed once suspended during the probationary period you don't come back.

    The issue with this whole scenario is I am currently pursuing my registered nursing career. I have a son on the way and am the only income for my family. I plan on continuing a long career with this hospital in the future. I feel this suspension wasn't valid. This wasn't slander or liable. This wasn't neglect considering I took the resident to the bathroom promptly when asked. This wasn't verbal abuse as I wasn't putting the resident down or calling them names. Finally this wasn't emotional abuse as I wasn't trying to convince the resident to change their opinion or beliefs. The resident wasn't even phased by the comment.

    Is it just me or was I really out of line? If you considered me out of line was this harsh punishment (pretty much fired) appropriate? Should I consider legal action? For reputation damage, and slander?? I am not sure what exactly was said to the head boss, but I feel it must have been exaggerated to come to such a harsh punishment. Not to mention the fact that the person reporting wasn't there when the incident occured. Also this person works on a different shift (we all know about shift rivalry).
  2. 45 Comments

  3. by   gonzo1
    I would consider your conversation unprofessional and out of line, and demeaning to the resident. Remember, you are a guest in their home. Yes, you are being paid to take care of them, but it is supposed to be with respect and dignity.
    You will soon find out that while you may feel very comfortable saying certain things, you must be very careful
    There are always ears every where waiting to hear and report. I have learned the hard way that the only way to survival is too be very professional while at work and stay above reproach.
  4. by   praying_mantis
    It sounds to me like this was a case of a casual conversation being taken the wrong way. Who was it that complained to the head boss? the other CNA or the resident?
  5. by   ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    From a Pt. POV, I wouldn't have been ok with the comment. I think it was out of line and unprofessional and if you felt the need to say it, it should have been to your Co Worker in private. Not in front of the Pt. I don't know the details as to what the Pt. did to "give you hell" but as someone that has been a Pt. before, we already feel like a burden, we are for whatever reason, not capable of taking care of ourselves in most cases or not allowed to, already feel humilated to have to have someone help us to do things such as to go to the bathroom. So to be made to feel like we are a burden (which that comment seems like) can be very hurtful.

    As far as what action should have been taken and if it was to harsh, I have no idea as I don't work on the administration side to know the norm.

    But just from a Pt. POV I would agree that it was unprofessional and inappropiate.
  6. by   Virgo_RN
    I think whether or not the comment crossed the line depends upon the relationship you have developed with the resident. For example, if this is a resident that typically interacts with caregivers in a more formal manner, then yes it would be inappropriate to say such a thing. Such a comment might be embarrassing to the person and might compromise their sense of dignity. However, if this is a resident that typically engages in back and forth banter with caregivers and has a more casual way of interacting with said caregivers, then no, it would not necessarily be an inappropriate comment. Perhaps the resident is well aware that they can be a handful and has a sense of humor about it, or prefers to be treated in a less formal/clinical manner and takes no offense toward such observations.

    Regardless, I still would never make such a comment unless the resident opens the door to that type of thing first, and only after having worked with them long enough to ascertain whether such a remark is compatible with their preferred communication style.
  7. by   FireStarterRN
    If you take legal action, as you mention in your post, you will surely lose. No judge or jury will have sympathy for a healthcare worker who speaks like that to a resident or patient. Also, your employer is totally within their rights to suspend or dismiss you from your employment there, especially during your probationary period.

    From the tone of your post I feel that you aren't owning up to your mistake. You made a very intemperate remark in front of both the resident and a coworker, basically shooting your own foot with your carelessness.

    Good luck in the future.
  8. by   oramar
    Personally I think you must be a pretty honest person because I can tell you did not attempt to spin the information on the incident. Personally again, I think the incident would have merited a warning in person from your charge nurse. I think the people that contacted you about the suspension without first contacting charge nurse made an error. I don't think a suspension is necessary for first offense and either did she. I think you are more mad about the way the situation was handled than about the fact that someone called attention to what you said in that bathroom. I agree with you there. All kinds of voice messages do not substitute for one call into the office for a private conversation. Most of us have made mistake and most of us have had the little private talk with the boss. The person who left those voice mails does not know what they are doing.
  9. by   bill4745
    That was quite unprofessional and I think you are lucky to have only been supended and not fired.
  10. by   libnat
    I've heard a lot worse, nice coworkers.
  11. by   FireStarterRN
    Quote from libnat
    I've heard a lot worse, nice coworkers.
    The OP was extremely unwise in letting her hair down like that around a coworker with whom she was newly acquainted. She was only three weeks into the job and still being sized up by her employers and coworkers.

    It's always smart to be on ones very best behavior in a new job. You have to gradually develop relationships. You can't cut loose until you understand the culture of the place, and what can or cannot fly...
  12. by   NursingStudent5548
    After reading several postings I think more information on the scenario is needed. No neither the Patient nor the other CNA made the report. It was the head CNA on another shift.

    This is a resident whom suffers from dementia. She hollars inappropriate things. She disturbed my other residents on the night in question. I was very professional in dealing with her through the episode.

    She is also a very open person. She is not afraid to tell you what she thinks of you. On the other end, she will inquiry about what you think about her. She expects on honest opinion and will call you a liar if you lie.
    She is aware she is a handful. She loves to joke and has a dry sense of humor. She loves when I am working with her. I feel she is comfortable with me. It is obvious that she has a very open and comfortable relationship with me and most everyone in the building.

    I am not saying that I was not wrong. What I was saying is the story told to the head boss had to have been extremely glorified. I am upset that neither CNA approached me about how upset they were by the comment. Neither did they take it to the charge nurses to confront me about if they felt uncomfortable. No, they took it directly to the administrator where they knew would be a harsh punishment.

    From there I was upset the the head adminstator also did not confront me and get my side of the story. She knows this resident is a handful. In fact I am not the only one to have issues with her. Also honestly, the charge nurses plead my case and defended me. I must have given a very positve and professional impression on them.
    In fact apparently the "Head CNA" doesn't have much clout with them considering she by passed them in the chain of command.
  13. by   FireStarterRN
    Obviously the 'Head CNA' heard about this from someone. That was either the resident or the CNA who was there.

    You are seriously miscalculating the existing grapevine at your facility, and as a new kid on the block you should have been more careful.
  14. by   NursingStudent5548
    I am not "miscalculating the grapevine" already in exsistance.

    The "head CNA" doesn't have clout with the charge nurses. I was informed of this by the Charge nurses. They were repulsed by the situation.

    The "head CNA" assumed she had a great relationship with the administrator. The administrator wasn't given the whole story. If she would have asked the resident,me, or the other CNA. She might have realized this.

    The "head CNA" was obviously not aware of the relationship the charge nurses have with the administrator. She immediately rectified the situation when they became involved.

    If anyone is "miscalculating the grapevine" it would be the "head CNA". She has only been there for just over a year. Her only other experience is from the 3 week CNA school she attended.

    I was interacting with the resident in a way she prefers. She lives there, and will for the rest of her life. She doesn't like people using medical terminology around her. She prefers simple terms. She desires honest conversation. How would you feel if you have no clue what everyone around you is talking about.

    Remember you have dementia, and have never been to any type of medical school. How would you feel if you had very few visitors, and the only people you interact with are the workers of the facility. Would you want them to treat you like a "number" or just a person on a piece of paper. I personally would prefer not to be treated that way.

    My great-grandmother is in a nursing home. With my experience, I know the CNA's spend the most time with her. I insist they give me updates on her behind closed doors (because I know they aren't supposed to). I feel they know her best, and I get the most useful information from them. I feel the report we get from the charge nurse's has been dried up due to rules and regulations (no offense to them).