Ok,upfront...I am not a nurse, but because of a major life change that occurred in our family back in Jan. of 2009, I'm seriously thinking of going back to schoolto get my degree in this! I was thrown in to the deepest end of the ocean -sink or swim time - and taught myself how to completely care for my suddenly ill mother, because I was the only one of 3 siblings at the time that was willing and able to do so. Anyway, I moved into my mom's rehab facility and lived there with her 24/7...taking notes, asking questions, watching carefully…so that when she was released, I would be able to attempt to take care of her atthe level she was receiving in the hospital. I did have a great group of AMAZING nurses who took me under their wing, and on their own time (within the law) taught me as much as they could and made themselves available to me around the clock those first few weeks, to answer my questions, etc.
I'm in my early50's and my sweet momma was then 80 yrs old...but I felt like I was bringing home a new born baby again (I've had 3), but this was so different, and to me,so much more difficult. I was so nervous and scared of making a mistake. I took what I had learned from past jobs as a paralegal and bank officer...and created our four page "Spreadsheet/Log and listing of meds, treatments, exercises,her vitals (all of them), and even her bathing, bowl and urine habits (in and outs). My mom has end stage COPD and CHF, as well as sudden onset of Lewy Body Dementia. My older sister stepped in to help after I blew out my back and required surgery to correct, and between the two of us, over the last 3 &1/2 years, we have it down to a fine science – but the sitters that come in to help find it way to over whelming and usually quit after one time.
I've said all of this, to say that first; Nurses, such as yourself, are SO very needed and appreciated beyond anything you could possibly imagine! Families,such as ours, would do anything to have that kind of help from a caring,careful, thoughtful, diligent, professional nurse such as yourself! I'm so sorry that this company has treated you as they have...but obviously they don't realize what they have in you, and it sounds like they have no real plan that makes sense to fall back on when things like this happen! And unfortunately, they do happen.
I agree with the poster who said you should seek legal counsel! (That is what I still do, when I can. The attorney I work for is great and gives me flexible hours so that I can take care of my mom) Most attorneys, in almost all states, give a free 30 min consultation, so I would at least check that out. Your job,license and reputation are very much worth fighting for!! Hang in there and do not give up!
You are a rare breed and the nursing field needs more conscientious people like you! It seems extremely obvious to me, based on what you have told us here, that the nurse who left in a hurry before your shift, helped herself to the missing doses. Unfortunately, the missing narcotics thing has happened in our home health care situation before too.
In our case, to relieve my sister and I occasionally, we would use a"sitting" agency (none were nurses) to watch mom for 4 hours or so,while we went to the store, took a nap, etc. Our situation happened in the beginning, before we became wise to the fact that all of those type of meds must be locked up with only my sister and I knowing the location and code to access them - but I'm sure it happens all the time, especially in home healthcare situations. The double counting system is great...I agree...but as you said, in a home health situation, there isn't always 'time' to give report and sign log sheets regarding meds, etc., when you have one person relieving another. Unless you take your phone and take pictures of the bottle, the number of pills, etc., with some type of time and date stamp, proving that when you left - all was as it should be, I don't know what else would help protect you and others like you in these types of situations.
Just don't give up or let this dim your spirit! I only pray that one day we will be able to get a nurse to care for mom, just like you! This journey, by far, is the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life…and social services doesn’t seem very helpful, as all they want to do is put my mom in a home. I wish you the very best and keep us posted on how things turn out for you!