Can a job refrain a graduate LPN from sitting for her boards due to what she claims abandonment? I already know the answer to this, but I would like to hear the thoughts and opinions of others.
I had a job that previously hired me as a "caretaker" as I had no CNA license, LPN license or any license for that matter; however, I was in nursing school
. I recently graduated LPN school, and am due to take my boards soon. My job was a small alf, where there are three houses with up to five residents, and one nurse, RN, who is also the owner.
As you all may have heard, Hurricane Irma came through. I live in Central Florida, where we were not affected too badly, if hardly, other than with heavy winds and rain.
A week prior to the storm craze, the owner and administrator asked me what I was doing for the hurricane. I had informed them that I didn't know as my family was planning to evacuate. I was told that I had a duty to perform as a new nurse and that it was against Florida Law for me to just leave. The administrator and owner both stated that they had already fired four people for evacuating/planning for the hurricane.
The following week's schedule had already been made, and I was scheduled to work at one house, a 12 hour shift on that Saturday. I was informed by the administrator that I was scheduled to work a house, so I had to be present anyway. I agreed to work my 12 hour shift. That Thursday, I went in for my regular shift and received a Hurricane Notice in a group text message stating I was scheduled to now work 7am- 5pm at house 1 that Saturday, September 9th, to report to a different house at 5pm on Saturday, September 9th and then on Sunday, September 10th, to report at 5pm as well. I spoke with both the administrator and owner to confirms that I would be working a total of 34 hours. They both stated, "yes." Upon disagreeing with the hours they wanted me to work, I was told, "It's a part of nursing", "we are all making sacrifices." I stated that I had my family to worry about as well, and that it didn't make sense to work over 34 hours straight instead of having rotating schedules. I was then told, "You get to sleep when the residents sleep." I informed both of them that it wasn't the case. Regardless of there being two caretakers. It quickly became a yelling match where my boss quickly retorted, "ok, well then don't show up at 7am, be there at 5pm." I confirmed with her, "5pm Saturday to 5pm Sunday which would make it a total of 24 hours instead of 34 hours?" I was told, "Yes." And she quickly hung up.
I reported to my shift that Saturday at 5pm, and confirmed again in a text message that I would be paid for every hour working my 24hr duty. I was told I would be. That Sunday at 3pm, I called to confirm the schedule for relief. The owner and administrator both stated that the other caregiver and I were not going anywhere until Monday as there had been a curfew put out. The administrator stated again, "You sleep when the residents sleep." Upon completing further research, both caregiver and I had found out there WASN'T a curfew put out for us. We were lied to. We had been waiting for a hurricane, and it had been pushed out until late Sunday, early Monday morning. The second shift began texting and calling asking if there were to come in at 5pm. I called my administrator, who btw is also a CNA, to clear up the confusion. I told her it was almost 5pm and the next shift was ready as per the notice that was put out. She stated, "Oh that was a typo, you guys are to be there for the duration of the storm until it clears." I told her that this wasn't stated previously and it wasn't what they had told me earlier. She stated again, "It was a typo."
At 5pm on Sunday, I informed the other caregiver, who is a CNA, that I was going home. I asked her if she needed any other assistance with the residents. I know what an "LPN" can and cannot delegate. None of the residents need specialized care. She agreed to continue care, which included, cooking, making sure residents were clean and dry, and basic ADLs. As I left, I called the owner, who didn't answer, so I called the administrator, and informed her that I was going home, which was my informal way of telling the company I quit." She quickly stated, "you can be reported to the nursing board for abandonment."
Later that day, the CNA I had left called me to see if I was coming back as the owner and administrator were making threats about me to the CNA, stating I wouldn't be able to get a job anywhere, I wouldn't be able to sit for my boards amongst many other things. I informed the CNA that was unprofessional of them to speak about me in such a way to her, and that I had worked my scheduled shift as stated by both owner and administrator that Thursday before the shift.
There was no curfew set, and the relief was ready to come in at 5pm. Critically thinking, both owner and administrator had lied in order to keep two people on the schedule in case no one else showed for a shift. The storm wasn't near us yet. If that was the case, they would have been standing shifts themselves, finding a shelter or calling agency as they had already fired four people and we were now "understaffed." Having a "typo" was a poor excuse. The Hurricane Plan was poorly executed as there was mass confusion. It's one thing to be in a storm and stuck, it's another thing to be actively standing a 24 hr watch, waiting for a storm to come, then when your "shift" is over, to be told, "No, you are to stay until the storm comes. We'll let you know when relief will come. The notice put out earlier was a typo."
Sep 14, '17
First, let me say that I applaud and admire that ONE individual that YOU left behind!! I'm sure he or she had family that she was concerned about as well; yet she stayed the course ALONE. He or she is a true hero.
You are a non-licensed, non-certified "caretaker" if I understand you correctly. The BON has no interest in you at this time. But check the website to make sure. However, it was an extremely poor decision to leave those residents in the manner that you did. I would definitely not use this job as a reference. There was a major red flag, which you ignored, when your employers tried to schedule you to work 34 hours straight, and the major "yelling match" that ensued. You should have known then, that if you showed up, they were going to 'stick it to you'.
You should check to see what "Florida law" your manager was referring to. But I will tell you that had something happened to just one of those residents after you left, you AND your managers would have been in up to your eyeballs in legalities, and that would/could/should prevent you from becoming licensed as a nurse. This being the case, I don't see them reporting this issue to anyone, as it will reflect poorly on them as administrative personnel who failed to show up when THEIR residents were left in such a situation.
From a regulatory standpoint in my state, this would be deemed an IMMEDIATE JEOPARDY (IJ) for EVERY SINGLE RESIDENT at this facility, and they would have been assessed so many fines that they'd probably have to close their doors for good, IF their permit was not revoked. This is a VERY SERIOUS MATTER and if I was a family member of a resident of this facility, I would report this to the state's regulatory authority because this shows a SERIOUS SYSTEMS FAILURE to provide sufficient staffing during emergency situations.
Once you engage yourself in patient care, ethically, you CANNOT walk away without someone available to resume the care that you were providing. It is far better not to report at all than to show up and leave unexpectedly. Your managers were simply ensuring that they did not have to come in, and probably could not find any available agency nurses to report. After all, EVERYBODY has family that takes precedence over work.
My mother is in such a facility with very nice, dedicated staff. I would prefer that the person caring for her would call me to come pick up her before simply leaving her amongst the numbers of those who were left under the watchful eye of ONLY ONE caregiver during a state of extreme emergency. I had to work when the hurricane hit this area, and would not have been able to leave to go get her without ensuring that there was sufficient staff to care for the patients that I was responsible for.
The bottom line is that you abandoned everyone: the residents, your only colleague, and your job. Your saving grace MIGHT very well be that you are not licensed or certified in anything, yet. If you manage to dodge a bullet here (which I believe you will), DO NOT ever do this again!! Just stay home if things are that uncertain.
Last edit by BSNbeDONE on Sep 14, '17
: Reason: bolded key terms