Ethical problem

  1. I am a Home services nurse, and I do Private Duty and hospice visits as well. My problem, without going into great detail, is that I have a private duty patient who's parents are going thru a custody battle. Neither are fit to take care of this kid and are using this child as a pawn in their little games. Currently a relative has custody of the patient and is pleased with our services, confides in us (the other nurses), and trusts us. The patient now has a lawyer (the ppatient is a minor) and the relative gave the lawyer the nurses names and office number. The lawyer called my office, spoke with my administrator (I wasn't aware of this) and now I'm being pulled out of the home with my supervisor citing that I'm getting too "involved" She didn't tell me that a lawyer had called and wanted to speak with me, I found that out later. I feel that my supervisor is being evasive (yet there is an on going "problem" she says that there isn't enough communication!) I maintain my professionalism, be an advocate fopr my patient, and was even complimented on my charting of what the child told me concerning a parent! Yet I haven't been officially told WHY I'm being pulled out, just that I am. My question is: Do I confront my supervisor with what I have learned? Do I give it week, wait and see if I'm told the truth? Or do I go up the ladder to her supervisor?
    Thanks for your advice in advance, and thanks for letting me vent
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   pedinurse05
    Quote from NancyB,LPN
    I am a Home services nurse, and I do Private Duty and hospice visits as well. My problem, without going into great detail, is that I have a private duty patient who's parents are going thru a custody battle. Neither are fit to take care of this kid and are using this child as a pawn in their little games. Currently a relative has custody of the patient and is pleased with our services, confides in us (the other nurses), and trusts us. The patient now has a lawyer (the ppatient is a minor) and the relative gave the lawyer the nurses names and office number. The lawyer called my office, spoke with my administrator (I wasn't aware of this) and now I'm being pulled out of the home with my supervisor citing that I'm getting too "involved" She didn't tell me that a lawyer had called and wanted to speak with me, I found that out later. I feel that my supervisor is being evasive (yet there is an on going "problem" she says that there isn't enough communication!) I maintain my professionalism, be an advocate fopr my patient, and was even complimented on my charting of what the child told me concerning a parent! Yet I haven't been officially told WHY I'm being pulled out, just that I am. My question is: Do I confront my supervisor with what I have learned? Do I give it week, wait and see if I'm told the truth? Or do I go up the ladder to her supervisor?
    Thanks for your advice in advance, and thanks for letting me vent
    Having been a pediatric homecare nurse for several years, I somewhat can understand your delima. First and foremost you must maintain a high level of nuetrality and professional integrity. If a family member confides in you about family issues you should immediately nip it there by stating that your sole duty is to care for the said child and you prefer not to become involved or discuss the issue of custody...that is not for you to decide. Explain that it is your policy to remain nuetral and professional If the child was victim of neglect or abuse (verbal or physical) and witnessed first hand by a care taker it should be reported to the supervisor and the child welfare department...only facts should be stated and your "opinion" kept to yourself. We should not pass judgement or opinions on our clients. While a divorce is sticky--that is not the nurse's business (unless abuse or neglect are occuring). What I found in homecare is to totally be professional... no exchanging numbers, going on outings together, getting involved in family dynamics, etc. If you remain professional it will pay off. If the case is just one that you can't stay nuetral, then it is not a case you should work. My two cents It sounds to me like you were getting too involved with all the dynamics. Let it go before it gets any deeper...it is time to move on...................
    Missy, RN
    Last edit by pedinurse05 on Nov 4, '05
  4. by   heidimause5
    I think Missy nailed it correctly. Keep it in check, even though it's hard sometimes. If there was abuse, you needed to tell your boss. We all care for our patients, and its a fine line sometimes. Good luck.
  5. by   honeyb111
    First, I would approach your supervisor in a calm and non-defensive manner and ask why you were pulled from this case. If she states that it is due to you being too involved, let her know that you did not contact this lawyer first and politely remind her that you are first and foremost the patient's advocate and that nurses are often called upon to testify in court. Since the child has confided in you about a parent (glad you documented the info) the courts - especially the patient's lawyer - can subpoena the patient's medical records and call upon you to testify - doesn't matter who's lawyer actually contacts you. If you do not receive a satisfactory answer then by all means take it up the chain.

    I really hope this makes sense - I'm kinda tired right now.
  6. by   NancyB,LPN
    Thank you for helping me out, I understand why I got pulled out, and I was too close to that fine line (that's my personality...help anybody I can)

    I will take some time, not speak of the matter for a few days, take the "wait and see" approach. and see what happens next.

    Have a great weekend!

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