HELP!! I had a stalker and because of HIPAA I lost my RN

  1. 0
    I have been a RN for 13 years. I went back to school to become a FNP. While doing my clinicals, a male patient noted my name and started calling me at my full time job. I have never been hit on by a male patient before so I was confused and quite offended that as a male, another male liked me.
    For 5 months or so this went on. I would tell him NO that I was not interested in him. He ended up getting my cell number and texting me dirty pictures. I did not know what to do. I could not really even admit he had been in my clinic months before as my patient. When he finally realized I was not going to have anything to do with him, he went to the AZ BON. They determined I had been involved in a dual relationship with this guy (I only ever encountered him one time and that was at the clinic). It was determined that me as the professional should have stopped the communication (yes I did text back telling him to stop it) and that I was guilty. I had a choice of them revoking my RN or voluntarily giving it up for 3 years. I opted for the 3 years NEVER understanding that it would have far reaching effects on me in EVERY STATE I applied to. Every state has a program for ETOH abuse, drug abuse, stealing drugs, etc but in my case, I never saw the man outside the clinic, I never "touched" him (other than listen to lungs, heartones, feel thyroid gland, etc) yet I am washed up in nursing. There is not even a NP school out there that will consider me! I have spent 5000 in attorney fees already. I have no RN, no job, no school.
    I do not remember anything like this EVER being taught in nursing school on how to handle these situations! I am a good nurse! I did not deserve this! I am totally lost as to what to do next.

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  2. 19 Comments...

  3. 6
    This is quite an eye-opening story. Quite frankly, if I were you, I would find another way to earn a living. Nursing should not have treated you this way. Take your talents in another direction.
  4. 6
    Were you represented by an attorney? Is there an appeals process?
  5. 2
    There are a lot of missing details here, but even if what you posted is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, time to look into getting a real estate license. Assuming you were competently represented by your attorney, you aren't going to bounce back from this one.
    rssawyer and barbyann like this.
  6. 1
    These are the facts. My attorney (who I believe is competent) tells me that this is not uncommon. We in the nursing field do not have a surefire way of preventing this type of behavior. Unfortunately, as I found out, the State BON is not out to support you but to make sure the "public" is being looked after. I was expected, since this was not a court of law, to PROVE that I did not do anything to cause this to happen. Even going to a court of law, judges generally side with the BON as they are looked at as the "experts". I have lost so much sleep (and money) over all of this. All I ever wanted to do was take care of the underpriveldged underserved community.
    tewdles likes this.
  7. 1
    That really was all the details. I was just put in a spot that I had to prove I did not start this whole mess. This guy was crafty and knew that if I did not succumb to his demands, he could go to the state and tell them whatever.
    brownbook likes this.
  8. 5
    Quote from rssawyer
    That really was all the details. I was just put in a spot that I had to prove I did not start this whole mess. This guy was crafty and knew that if I did not succumb to his demands, he could go to the state and tell them whatever.
    I am so sorry you are going through this.

    I have heard Arizona's BON can be a bunch of vigilantes. Me? I would have called the police immediately and made a report and pressed charges. I would have turned my phone off and got another number. I am, however, confused as to what HIPAA has to do with this. When the law is violated you are released from HIPAA for police investigations.

    I would find another lawyer and start an appeals process, file a civil lawsuit for slander and harassment. Another reason to carry malpractice insurance.

    I wish you the best.
  9. 7
    Obviously, this won't help you, rs, but for others:

    1) File a restraining order/VPO. This is controversial, in many aspects, some will take it as an escalation, some will back off. In the most primal sense, this is a legal defense in the event that one must shoot the stalker or run them over. In the legal arena, this demonstrates clear definition of unwanted contact.

    2) Nevernevernever give out private contact information. If your job in some way requires it, use a pre-paid ditch phone. In the event that the stalker is just going great guns, this is nice in that one can leave the phone with LE, and they can interact with the individual.

    3) I can appreciate compassion for the under-privileged and under-served. However. Despite the earnest desires and claims of sociological theory, developmental psychology is more accurate in noting a strong ego-centric, asocial, pathological drive in a large section of this community, i.e., "predatoristic". I would hope that few of us would go straight for cuddles with a feral cat- occasionally, one can get away with this; generally, however, it ends badly. Patients have their own agendas and not-always-well-adapted gratification models. Treat them like feral cats, and you will be compassionate, caring, thoughtful- and protected.

    I am, however, confused as to what HIPAA has to do with this. When the law is violated you are released from HIPAA for police investigations.
    My suspicion would be that the BON was viewing contact outside of the workplace as, "use of intimate/confidential knowledge in inappropriate fashion", which would technically be a HIPAA violation. I.e., one could not be charged for a violation of the Act itself, but the Act itself is used to define appropriate/inappropriate behavior.

    I'm not a lawyer, but I've been around the rodeo a few times, as it were. Legally, my take on this would have been the acknowledgement of the fact that women are more commonly victims of DV and stalking because of their reticence to have "hard" social boundaries, in conjunction with the established environment and social structure of care, resulting not only in the recognized potential for abuse of patients by care-givers, but of the care-givers.
    DawnJ, harrird, subee, and 4 others like this.
  10. 7
    I'd find a better lawyer and appeal. Actually, I would sue the guy.

    You also need to take some responsibility for not acting on his harrassment of you. I understand it was embarrassing ... but you tolerated a whole lot of unacceptable behavior without doing anything about it. That makes it look as if you were OK with it.
  11. 1
    This is why employers have policies like not telling callers whether so-and-so works there. We even instituted a policy of always asking staff members if they want to talk to their spouses when they call, after a domestic issue happened with one of the staff.
    So sorry this happened to you.
    There will always be players out there and it's too bad that they win sometimes.
    JZ_RN likes this.

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