Threat of Patient Abandonment?

  1. I am a LPN in Ohio. I am back in school and only 4 months from graduating for my RN. Anyway, I was very recently employed full time in a long-term care facility. I had requested to drop down to PRN and was denied by my manager. Since school has started and I'm already overwhelmed with my last semester, I decided to just quit. After turning this in to the manager, she states "you may want to look into it, but this could be considered abandonment and you could lose your license" Can I really be?? I didn't give the 2 weeks notice, but I wasn't on-duty (nor reporting for or leaving from a shift). The closest thing was that I was scheduled to work tonight - I turned in my resignation 7 hours before my shift... Unfortunately, I have looked online for a while now and can't find anything specific to the laws in Ohio about this... it seems like other states you needed to have accepted a patient load (either by written or verbal report) in order for a patient abandonment claim to be valid.

    What do you all think?
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    About bnik, BSN, RN

    Joined: Sep '10; Posts: 12; Likes: 1


  3. by   AgentBeast
    Yeah, they like to say that, but no you can't be charged with patient abandonment. You need to #1 accept assignment and #2 then leave without handing the patients off to another nurse to be charge with patient abandonment. Yeah resigning 7 hours before you are scheduled to work is somewhat bad, but it doesn't constitute abandonment and doesn't fall within the jurisdiction of the Ohio Board of Nursing.
  4. by   nurseprnRN
    you are correct. this "your license is at risk" thing is grossly overused, not just in this context but in many others.
    our state nurses association publishes the lists of license revocations and conditions periodically. they are for (generally) having committed fraud, narcotics diversion, theft or other felony, appearing at work under the influence, and the like. "******* off the staffing coordinator" and "quitting on short notice" are not on the list.
  5. by   Morainey
    Sounds like BS.
  6. by   Asystole RN
    As a professional registered nurse you really need to read you Nurse Practice Act (NPA), you state's board of nursing website, scope of practice, and your state's board of nursing advisory full. If you had, I am sure you would have known the answer to this already.

    For example, here is my state's advisory opinion on patient abandonment

    Arizona State Board of Nursing
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]4747 North 7[FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]th [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]Street, Suite 200 Phoenix,
    AZ 85014-3655
    Phone (602) 889-5150
    Fax - (602) 889-5155
    Home Page:
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]N:\ADVISORY
    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]




    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) are required to provide reasonable notice to the supervisor for the continuity of patients care, rather than terminate the relationship without notification, which is defined as abandonment. The following requirements constitute patient abandonment:


    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]A. The nurse must have first ACCEPTED the patient assignment, thus establishing a nurse-patient relationship. Accepting a patient assignment varies from setting to setting and requires a clear understanding of workload and agreement to provide care, AND then

    B. DISENGAGED the nurse-patient relationship without giving reasonable notice and report to the qualified person (supervisor, nurse, etc.) so that others can make arrangements for continuation of nursing care.

    C. Examples of patient abandonment include, but are not limited to:

    i. Leaving without giving the supervisor or qualified person adequate notice

    ii. Leaving without giving report to a qualified person

    iii. Accepting an assignment of patient care and then leaving the nursing unit or patient care setting without notifying the qualified person

    D. Situations NOT considered to be patient abandonment, but are examples of employer- employee or contract issues of which the Board has no jurisdiction (salary, work conditions, hiring and termination policies):

    1. No call/no show for work

    2. Refusal to accept an assignment or a nurse-patient relationship

    3. Refusal to work mandatory overtime

    4. Refusal to work additional hours or shifts

    5. Ending the employer-employee relationship without providing the employer with a period of time to obtain replacement staff for that specific position

    6. Refusal to work in an unfamiliar, specialized, or "high tech" area when there has been no orientation, no educational preparation or employment experience

    7. Resigning from a position and not fulfilling the remaining posted work schedule

    8. Refusal to "float" to an unfamiliar unit to accept a full patient assignment


    To provide the nursing community with guidelines to clarify those circumstances which may be characterized as patient-abandonment.


    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]California Board of Nursing, (2009). Scope of Practice. Retrieved from

    Kentucky Board of Nursing. (2009). Scope of Practice. Retrieved from

    Maryland Board of Nursing. (2009). Scope of Practice. Retrieved from

    Texas Board of Nursing. (2009). Scope of Practice. Retrieved from
  7. by   xoemmylouox
    Nursing admin use this all of the time to scare you. Any place that is pathetic enough to use that is not a place you want to be anyway.. Cut your losses and move on to bigger and better things!
  8. by   DanRN78
    Employers not individual nurses are responsible for continuity of nursing services. Abandonment occurs when a nurse prematurely severs the nurse patient relationship, like leaving the shift early. Don't worry.
  9. by   Whispera
    Don't worry about being charged with abandonment, but you'll never get a job in the facility's system again, and maybe not from any other system in which your manager or co-workers (who were left covering your hours) have friends... People do talk, especially when they feel someone dumped on them...